Coming Up For Air

I found myself wandering through the depths of my mind, only to find that what I was looking for was already inside. 

We spend so much of our time unconsciously trying to fit ourselves into these tiny little boxes society lays out for us. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we are doing it. Even when we think that we aren’t, we are. It’s an illness, really. We obsess over how the rest of the world sees us. We spend so much time, so much precious time, feeling anxious over the opinions of others.

As an aspiring professional writer, it’s hard not to fall into that space of trying to compete with “what the people want.” It’s hard to put out content that is thoughtful and meaningful and something the masses want to read without losing a little bit of yourself. I spent a lot of time trying to be someone, trying to write my way into the hearts and minds of people and change them. I wanted so badly to change them. I wanted to change their minds. I wanted to tell everyone how I felt and I wanted them to feel the same thing. I wanted to control them. I wanted everyone to read what I was saying and to resonate so deeply with it that it changed their lives.

Within that desire, I lost myself. My ego had taken over my passion. I was writing for recognition and status, wanting to get my name out there. I didn’t know it then, but I believe the reason I stopped writing was because I wasn’t being authentic. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t produce any decent writing anymore. Everything I wrote was forced. I was so lost in a sea of my own desire to be recognized that I eventually drowned.

Luckily, metaphorically drowning gives one the opportunity to come up to the surface for air after being under for a while. I began writing fiction and sharing it with a few close friends. I began writing just to write. Writing just to let my imagination run wild. Not writing to inform. Not writing to persuade. Not writing to scream my opinion. Not writing for recognition. Just writing.

It was liberating and inspiring to write without the expectation of a response. It was freeing to let my mind flow unfiltered, without worrying what my readers would think. In letting go of the desire to impress, the desire to change and control, I ended up opening up the doors of possibility. I wasn’t trying too hard, I wasn’t forcing it, I was allowing myself the acceptance and space to create something worth while. And each time I sit down to write, I find myself becoming closer and closer to the person I want to be.

The person I want to be is able to put her soul onto a piece of paper and present it to the world without expectation. I want to be the kind of person that becomes vulnerable with her readers, who shares her depth, who allows herself to be exactly who she is. The person I want to be is the writer that shares her heart and finds growth and lessons in the process of it all.

That person is inside of me, she always has been. I just needed to come up for air.


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