I have writing notebooks hidden under my bed. The writing in them spans years of my life; there are many words on the pages.
The thing is…I haven’t looked at them in years. Literally. I am afraid to look at them. I am afraid to remember things I wrote about, things I have long since forgotten. I am afraid of the memories. Most of all, I am afraid of my voice.
I have to wonder, Is writing always like this? If it is, fine. But I am beginning to recognize that I have been afraid of my own voice for years.
When I was younger—a teenager, still—my boss told me I had an advantage over other people because I could actually write. Lately, his words have haunted me more and more, despite the fact that he when he said that, he was referencing my ability to write/catch errors in internet software technical manuals. I think, because that was the context, I’ve been able to ignore what he said for a long time. I don’t know if I can ignore it anymore.
Yesterday in yoga, the instructor used a quote to start class (as is a yoga teacher’s usual wont). She paraphrased the quote, “Never mind what-is. Imagine it the way you want it to be so that your vibration is a match to your desire. When your vibration is a match to your desire, all things in your experience will gravitate to meet that match every time (Abraham Hicks).” The first thing that came to mind, no lie, was “I need to write.” I have all of those journals in a pile beneath my bed. The words are there. The seed is there. The desire and need are there. The ability, apparently, is there.
So now what do I do with it? As I lay in savasana, I tried to quiet my mind, I really did. Instead, I kept thinking about what would happen if I finally gave in to my voice. The image I thought of was this moment at the end of The Fifth Element:
That uncontrollable force is what I am afraid of. I’m afraid that if I allow a small crack in the dam I’ve placed between myself and that creative place in my brain, if I allow myself to look back at those journals, or to start writing in general—I won’t be able to stop the words. I also won’t be able to ignore the memories any longer.
Does that mean I think everything I wrote—or will write—is awesome? Absolutely not. I’m fairly certain that if I look back at those journals, I will pronounce ninety-nine percent of it utter crap.
I think of the confessional poets I love—Sexton, Plath, Olds—and I think of how raw and honest they were. I want to be that honest, to be able to reveal all of the brilliant coruscations and deep gouges of my life—at least I think I do. Then again, I’m afraid of discovering or remembering things I’ve buried in those pages beneath my bed.
And so…I am afraid to write. Now that I’ve come to this realization, I wonder what I will do with it.