I came across this quote yesterday by Simone de Beauvoir:
The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repels.
Given such, I can’t not be shocking and scandalous. I want to write and live in original, novel ways. I’m not throwing everything out the window in regards to social convention, acceptable ethical standards, or even ways of being. Hardly. Instead, what I’m saying is that I want my day-to-day, normal life to be un-dead. I want to live! I want to live what I desire. And if that disturbs and repels? Well, so be it.
But I don’t think it does, or will. I don’t think I do, or will. Rather, I think and believe just the opposite. Living in ways that are true to my desires – my most original, novel self – is the best, most beautiful, most amazing thing I could possibly do.
…there will be many instances when fear and desire point in opposite directions. You want something, but you’re afraid to go for it. In fact, if you really set out to pursue your heart’s desires, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel a lot of fear: fear of failure, fear of commitment, fear of competition, even fear of success…Put your desires above your fears. Stop running and face it, whatever it is.
So. Shocking? Scandalouos? Disturbing? Repelling? Absolutely – if it means that I consistently put my desires above my fears. And for me, that doesn’t necessarily mean some huge, larger-than-life kind of movement. Maybe it means I take the credit cards out of my wallet and figure out how to live exclusively on cash. Maybe it means I tell my daughters that there is a limit this month to how much I’ll spend on hot lunches at school vs. PB&Js. Maybe it means I actually take some bold steps to market my business and my writing vs. just fretting about (lack of) income projections. Maybe it means I actually make my writing available (yes, for money!) and stop with the million excuses as to why it’s not ready, not good enough, to enough-period. Maybe I say “no” to some projects and opportunities that seem good, but keep me from doing what I most love, what I most want, what I most desire. I know, right? Shocking and Scandalous.
I’m OK with that. I’m more than OK with that. I want to write, speak, live, and love in novel, shocking, and scandalous ways. I want to put my desires above my fears. I do. And I’m still afraid. But not so much that I can’t or won’t move forward. On a sliding scale, my desires far outweigh my fears. They win every time.
Shocking and scandalous. I know! It’s all good.
…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, ‘Awww!’
(Jack Kerouac, On The Road)
Who can resist? Not me. That’s why I must be shocking, scandalous, and always choosing desire. Join me?
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