Why I must be shocking, scandalous, and always choosing desire.

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.

Earlier this morning I was reading FindingYour Own North Star by Martha Beck. (An amazing read and well worth the time and effort.) I got to page 179 and stopped at these words:

…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?

‘Awww!’

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    { 19 comments… read them below or add one }

    Claire January 10, 2010 at

    Okay, now you’ve done it! ;-)

    Quoting Jack Kerouac, daring me to be fabulous. I’m in. Thanks for the push.

    This does speak to what I am trying to do this year with my “Choice” word of the year. I want to be the kind of person that does what I say is important. First. Before the dishes, the consumables, the mundane. So, I have to stay up later and burn those candles down a bit more. That’s what I’m here for. I’ve always been pretty good at scandalous and even shocking, but I’ve traded some of that in for “good mother” and it’s just not working anymore to the degree I would like.

    I’ll also check out the book you recommend.

    Looking forward to seeing what’s next for you.
    .-= Claire´s last blog ..CED week one =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Who can resist that quote by Jack Kerouac?!? Impossible. Beautiful. Fabulous. And us? The same!! :)

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Who can resist this quote by Jack Kerouac?!? Fabulous. Beautiful. Amazing. Just like us!! :) Thanks, Claire.

    Reply

    Kristen January 10, 2010 at

    I love this meditation on desire and living out loud, Ronna. I would love to join you, and I hope I can. Too often I tend toward the quiet and the unruffled, and I think, in doing so, I miss out on a lot of the possibility that comes along with daring to shock. Maybe all of our greatest adventures come when we live outside of our usual parameters, when we move “confidently in the direction of our dreams” without worrying about how our confidence will make us appear to others.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Silly Sunday (Non)Sense: Whom Do You Look Like? =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Thanks for commenting, Kristen, and articulating the tension that ALL of us know as we step toward our desires. At least for me, I’ve lived too many years somehow convincing myself that if I did/said what felt most true for me that it would be shocking…and upsetting to those around me. Sometimes it was, but less so than I feared. More and more, the categories for me now are “desire or fear?” and “will you pursue life or stay in death?” Big realms, I know…but they definitely help me cut to the chase and move to places of more truth, more strength, more integrity, and yes, more desire and life!! I’m with you!

    Reply

    Claire January 10, 2010 at

    Also wanted to point in the direction of the Marianne Williamson poem “Our Deepest Fear”. She speaks of the fear of shining but reminds us that when we do shine, we are also giving others permission to do the same.
    Thanks for shining, ladies.
    .-= Claire´s last blog ..CED week one =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Absolutely!!! Thanks, Claire.

    Reply

    Nicki January 10, 2010 at

    Being shocking and scandalous, moving towards my desires, being as much my authentic self as I can, these are all things that I want with every fiber of my being. You can count on me being in with you!

    Fear holds us all back at times. Unfortunately, fear of success is the fear that stares at us most often.
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..Photo Club =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Thanks, Nicki. And yes…that damn fear of success! What’s that about? Let’s break through it and send it packing!!!

    Reply

    Alexis Martin Neely January 10, 2010 at

    Yes, you’ve summed up one of my deepest desires. Thank you. It makes it so much more understandable to me. I’ve frequently wondered what this thing is inside of me and you’ve captured it – I want to put my desires before my fears! And often times that means shock and scandal (at least that’s what my mind tells me.)

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    With love, dark and light,
    Alexis
    .-= Alexis Martin Neely´s last blog ..Moving, Change, Transition … and Love =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    I know it’s not unique to me – this tension between desire and fear. Always glad to have that confirmed though. Thanks, Alexis! And perhaps your ending line says it all: “with love, dark and light.” Love that! And so, so true. All are necessary to live a life that’s true, authentic, and full of life! Scandalous! :)

    Reply

    Deb Owen January 10, 2010 at

    Well now. These are some of my favorite things about you. (And you just scored with all those Martha Beck coaches out there! ha) So often we run from fear, when the fear is only telling us that what we are doing matters to us in a tremendous way. Doing things that matter is a good thing!

    As for repelling, there are 6 billion people on the planet. I find that when I live my truth, some are repelled but some are attracted. Those who are attracted are ‘my people’ and ‘my tribe’. They become the true friends that last a lifetime.

    All the best!
    deb

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Hey stranger! Good to “hear” from you – another scandalous, shocking, and full-of-desire woman! Yes: we are in the same tribe – definitely. Thanks, Deb.

    Reply

    Bonnie Jacobs January 10, 2010 at

    I’m already doing shocking and scandalous things. Ronna, you said, “And if that disturbs and repels? Well, so be it.” Deb Owen said, “I find that when I live my truth, some are repelled but some are attracted.” That’s true, and thus I hesitate to say this — which will be a downer to many. Sometimes those repelled are the very ones most important to us, and that hurts. Because they matter, it becomes much harder to keep shocking and scandalizing the world. It can be downright stressful. Ronna, let me encourage you to keep on keeping on, even when those who matter turn against you. In the long run, it’s worth it.
    .-= Bonnie Jacobs´s last blog ..Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt ~ by Patricia C. McKissack, 2008 =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    Absolutely, Bonnie. And thank you! No…the shocking and scandalous choices, when aligned with one’s deepest passions and truest heart cannot not be pursued. Definitely worth it. Rarely easy. And beautiful.

    Reply

    Coral January 10, 2010 at

    So often I’ve been told that I “say the things others think about saying.” I look at them dumbfoundedly (is that a word? *laughs*) and wonder what stops them from saying or living as they desire. Yet, when I read your words, I’m filled with a sense that you’ve exposed me.

    Through your words, I’m naked and vulnerable…to you…to the world…and to myself. Fearful of being successful in my own right. Once again, I’m made to challenge the lies I’ve been taught to believe years ago…that I’ve chosen to continue to revisit time and again.

    I’d break the damned mirror, but don’t care to tempt superstition! ;-)
    .-= Coral´s last blog ..Life’s Mirror Keeps Me Honest =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 10, 2010 at

    It’s a constant battle, isn’t it? Trusting our own voice, choosing desire over fear, learning that those “voices” inside are liars and need to be quiet…As always, I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one. Thanks, Coral.

    Reply

    Sharon Eden January 11, 2010 at

    I’m with you AND, for me, it’s a continuing journey in which I get more and more ‘me’ whatever that means at the time and more and more vocal. Going to challenge myself by taking Jack Kerouac’s quotation as the header for my next Ezine. That should shake them up a bit… and perhaps even more importantly shake me up a bit too!

    Thank you, Ronna.
    .-= Sharon Eden´s last blog ..Do Less And Be More =-.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick January 11, 2010 at

    Absolutely – more and more of ‘me’!!! Or, in this case, ‘you!’ LOVE that you’re using the Kerouc quote in your Ezine. It’s fabulous, isn’t it? Thanks, Sharon.

    Reply

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