I've been thinking a lot lately about what I should be writing. I've been looking for more than just an interesting story to tell, a vessel for my words. I want to write something true to my heart and resonant with my sincerest imagination. They say, what makes us afraid, we should write that. I've never believed it. I think we should write what we love.
But isn't it true that all too often what we love opens us to fear? Fear of not being accepted, not being good enough. And so we fall into imposter syndrome, and ultimately silence. Or we let our creations and dreams be stolen. I've done all that. And I've relinquished what I love so I don't have to feel fear, and chosen another love instead where I can succeed in a small quiet way that almost, sometimes, feels halfway good enough. There is comfort in choosing second best. It doesn't matter then what anyone else thinks about you or the things you do, and it doesn't matter if you fail - or succeed in a small quiet way - because you're not truly invested in any of it.
It's a gentle, cosy tragedy, isn't it? To live your life as a surrender. A shrug of the shoulder, a stepping back. Because the thing is, you still end up getting hurt. Perhaps infact you hurt even worse, because you've given up fear for grief instead. And while fear is a leap of the heart, a wild pain in the throat, it usually passes. You take a deep breath, you follow your heart into the unknown, and usually you land just fine. But grief soaks into your bones until you can barely move from it. Especially when your loss is compounded by the fact you did not actually lose what you love, you gave it away. You abandoned yourself.
Maybe when loving something opens you to fear, it's worth sitting a while to see what the real issue is. Usually, it's a lack of love. The lack may be within yourself - as in, your faltering self-love, or your failure to love others - or it may be with the community, where all kinds of things can get in the way of mutual respect.
Perhaps fear offers us an opportunity to do the work of love.
When it comes to writing, I must remember that not only can fear be a silencer, but it can also deafen us to the music that I believe is the very thread of existence: the song of Love. If I really want to write to my own satisfaction, I must focus only on listening to what Love wants to tell through me, and to do that work.
So they're right in the end after all. I should indeed write what makes me afraid - or more accurately go through the opening fear offers me, rather than just sitting with the fear itself - because through there, on the side of dreams, is true love.