A Middle Finger to the False Self

 

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It’s weird. Probably not uncommon, but still weird.
This being compelled towards a certain way of expression and feeling so utterly self conscious about said expression. Part of me thinks that real artists don’t question their artistry, at least in as far as the doing. Most of us measure the product and its worth, of course. Wonder about, assess, measure. Maybe it’s naive to think that no one else thinks this much about the process. The just “doin’ the thing” part. But I just can’t help but think that if I could just settle into the thing that my battles with self expression (with self?) would be largely (or just more) over. The weirdness that I not only wrangle with, but frankly am totally sick of, is weird. I feel compelled to write a certain way while being totally and completely uncertain about it.
When (and how? How, I ask you?) does a person Just Do It. (If only there was a t-shirt to remind me.) By what miracle of changed thinking and upside down modus operandi (how? How, I ask you?) does someone suddenly just stop all the years of shame and doubt and ridiculous indoctrination and start living fully into his/her self? And THEN create something authentic and real and of value?
New Year review and reflection stipulated honesty as my “word of the year.” Sounds good. Good like all those other words that find their way colorfully and persistently into the margins of journals and legal pads in various pen colors in order to (hopefully) then find their way into my psyche and then (hopefully) eke into my living. And I’ll stay open to that notion. Honesty sounds right, if even ever so slightly loaded and terribly tenuous (for me anyway. See elephants in the room, “social graces,” and skeletons in the closet [wow. Even the references don’t tell you anything.] and you have a terrible battle with what being true to yourself means. True to myself? Heck. I’d just love to wake up with any sense of self. A true sense unfettered and/or unmarred by loads of proverbial baggage.).
Which brings me to my point. (Maybe.)
After being figuratively smacked into an uncomfortable oblivion yesterday, I had to take another uncomfortable but much needed look at my difficulty with transparency and vulnerability. I’m tempted to delve in here about the bummer-of-a-disagreement my husband and I had because of my seeming inability to be emotionally intimate due to years and years of self destructive behavior but I worry that I’ll lose you. I’m assuming you’ll understand without being privy to details. Wait for the book. Because, you know, a book about addiction, promiscuity, victimization and the like would be so read-worthy. It would, you say? Only if it didn’t stop there but continued on to the happy ending of redemption and healing and rescue, which is where my story ends, er, will end once I get to the bottom of this vulnerability thing.

Vulnerability thing? Oh, right. That’s where I was going with this. I was going to talk about how to get to a place where I stop second guessing every. Single. Thing. I. Do. Say. Write. Think. The place where all this being gets to just be without all the maddening ing-ing. Thinking wondering, second-guessing. That little suffix has added too much extraneous ing-ing on my ability to just be.
Just be, Amy. Just be, you who’s reading. You who’s out there wondering about your inherent value and all its attachments and/or inevitabilities. Not in a mystical touchy feely way, but in a true way. That we might get down to the business of living: comfortable enough in our own skins and comfortable enough with whatever our contribution to the world is ours to give and stop all this ridiculous posturing in order to add what’s ours to add.
Maybe I’m just getting old and tired. Maybe that’s really what wisdom is: getting worn out enough that you stop expending energy (because you no longer have any extra to expend) on posturing and instead concentrate on just be-ing. That ing-ing being the only sort you can muster up enough energy for. No frills, no pretense. Just you and just me with all our wondrous and remarkable magic. ‘Cause it’s in there. And it’s fabulous.
It’s terrifying, but I’m pretty excited to toast to transparency (or maybe I’m just excited to toast. Here’s at least to an enthusiastic and celebratory beginning.). Pretty excited to find out what all this before-now-elusive “be true to yourself” business is all about. Excited to move forward with my eyes wide open instead of frantically darting around trying to read cues about what skin I ought put on to satisfy any onlookers. How are chameleons not completely exhausted? I’ve not learned to adapt so well to this way of being. Or at least not thrive. I’ve maybe learned too well how to adapt. Regardless, I find it leaves me significantly less colorful than more…
So here’s to richer color sourced from an inward treasure instead of environmentally imposed ones. To more transparency and honesty. And though I don’t wish the fiery abyss part on anyone, I do like the spirit of; “ta Hell with all ya’s. I got my own beat and I’m dancin’ to it.” (I don’t usually talk like that, but this finding my voice thing may take some practice…)

……………………
How about you? Do you struggle with “being yourself”? Desire truth in your inmost parts? Or if this isn’t a struggle for you, what has helped you to be a person of integrity/honesty/transparency?

 

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A Poet Gathering

I had a dream about a gathering of poets. 
All anxious to see others’ work

One stretched his neck to read my scrawl but

All I had on my page was what I’d studied about

The hard work not yet done

The hoped-for work

Put off for 

The hunch that this self needed to grow up (more) in order to produce.

I awoke with my self still attached.

Come to find that its place and presence doesn’t so much need reckoned with

Other than to be taken captive and hushed

Yes, it’s already in the art by virtue of its inextricably bound contact

But this is no mystery needing solved.

That examination can (blessedly) be over.

The self need not be a major player:

Noticed, stroked, hailed for its presence among us.

It needs only to record its findings 

Is needed only to examine spaces, places, abiding mercies

And share what it’s found.

The artist’s generosity is in communicating

The gifts.

Souls have value:

Let’s not dispute that.

Questioning the validity of their voices

Wasn’t the dream

The discovery and unpacking of those voices 

As they reflect all the goodness of their Creator’s the dream.

Little mirrors co-creating in honor of the One artist.

The unexamined life may not be worth living

But that may also be true of the morbidly examined one

So intent upon its own navel that life

Is lost on it.

And this isn’t to devalue our personhood:

Rather it is the reinforcement of it.

See! and then Share! 

Have a peek at my scribbles

I’ll peek at yours

And may there be something to see:

Some connective tissue from a

Personhood all intact.

Adding to the beauty

Reflecting things true and needful

And so see the world through another lens

– His –

Ah, the dream of poets.

This Cup

  

I play at beauty.
Enjoy it. 
But relegate my scraps as little more than

Measly contributions.

I won’t prob’ly win no prizes…

All’s simple and meager and small here

From these parts.

But I am learning.

Learning to drink deep draughts

Of pure water

That flows ever purer

The longer and fuller I drink.

No need to add anything

To this cup I’m holding.

It’s full.

It’s good.

And I’ll drink it.

…To overflow.

Let Me Be Amazing

  

Let me be amazing

– not for my own sake –

For goodness’ sake

That power’s potential’s

Realized

That the dust doesn’t have to be shaken off

In finding another receiver

Open wide 

Those narrow eyes

And see

Don’t let doubt’s benefit

Err on the side 

Of ignorance’s faulty view

Insist on the good

Pure, lovely

Let me be amazing

And I’ll let you be too

Just think of all the amazing

We’d be freed up to do!