Monday, September 15, 2014

On Emotional Honesty, Priorities, and Being True to One's Self

It always seems that the more I have on the agenda for work on a given day, the more I actually feel like writing something of my own instead. A blog entry, usually, or a bunch of shorter social media updates... but occasionally a snippet of a longer story, a piece of flash fiction, or a poem. Usually, I react to those thoughts the way I was taught to -- by telling myself I need to get "the important stuff" out of the way first and then if I have time later on, I can spend what's left of my energy doing things I actually want to do.

The trouble with that approach to writing is that nothing expressive or passionate ever actually gets written. There's always something else to do that "needs" to get done or that society would label as more important. By the time I get to the point in my day when I'm out of things to do, it's the wee hours of the morning and I'm exhausted, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. The last thing I want to do at that point is write some more.

In fact, I'm constantly wondering if maybe that "work first, play later" is actually the wrong approach. For me, anyway. It certainly feels like the wrong one. One of these days, maybe I'll learn that it's OK to be someone that makes decisions based on how they feel and not how good they look on paper or how many of the right people sign off on them. When I just allow myself to give the first hour or two of my writing day to something that I'd actually like to write, I don't resent having to work as much as I normally do. I resent the need to earn money less, since it no longer encroaches upon my self expression.

That is something else I'm learning to accept about myself as time continues to roll on. I'm not a rational, nose-to-the-grindstone sort and I'm probably never going to be. Yes, I do consider myself to be a relatively gifted thinker and I certainly have that elusive gift of common sense that seems to escape so many. However, being a watery Pisces female, I'm perpetually steeped in emotion. I don't even know what it's like to not feel completely passionately about something. If I love you, I adore you... but if I hate you, I most likely also can't even stand the sight of you. I don't just get mad; I get furious. I'm never simply happy; I'm elated. And then there's the way sadness can easily turn into a deep depression if I dwell on it too much.

I've always been a bit ashamed of this, as well as the way my emotions seem to get in the way of me toeing the line in the way my parents, my clients, and the rest of society would probably prefer. However, when I decided to stop apologizing for it ten years ago or so, it seemed to start a chain reaction that eventually led to self-acceptance. I may even be beginning to feel the first stirrings of pride in who I am.

........

I had a really nice conversation with an old friend from high school a couple of weeks ago. It was just us two girls shooting the shit. Talking about exes, talking about divorce, talking about high school. Also talking about how much people we know have (or have not) changed over the years, including ourselves. She actually said that it seemed like I'd come a long way -- that I seem really relaxed and a bit more at peace with myself and the world around me. I agree with that... to a point.

It's less that I'm more relaxed and more that I'm less apologetic. I am who I am and it hurts no one. In fact, it may do quite the opposite. The intensity of my feelings also means I'm a very loyal friend. I'm moral and God-fearing. I'm not only creative, but I have an uncanny ability to read other people and anticipate their needs. That's actually part of what makes me such a talented copywriter with such a solid client base despite never having advertised my services anywhere. That conversation with my friend simply made me realize that I'm more than OK with that at this point.

That said, I try to look for ways that I can be truer to myself. Every time I consider making a major decision, I ask myself if I'm doing it because I want to and it feels right... or if I'm just doing it to please somebody else that most likely doesn't even deserve the time of day from me. One day, I hope to have cleared away all the detritus from "before', including anything that still exists inside my head because other people put it there.