When I look back over 17 years of blogging, here’s what stands out to me:
My voice has fluctuated, depending on the level of fear I’ve felt at any given time.
I’ll admit: “fear” sounds too strong, somehow, but when I boil it down, that IS what’s left.
What I wrote about when I was still married and still part of the church, is far different than what I said once outside both those structures (and strictures). I can see and remember how afraid I was to express my doubts, my questions, my grief, and the many places in which I was feeling more anger than hope. I was afraid I’d be misunderstood, that I’d go too far, that I’d be too much.
What I wrote about in my 40’s and 50’s was different than what I write today — now in my 60’s. And though I could go into all of the details and themes inherent here, suffice it to say, I was afraid I’d be misunderstood, that I’d go too far, that I’d be too much.
This looking back has “forced” me to track the circumstances and seasons in which I held back, hid even, because of fear — all of which was expressed (or not) in my writing. And as I’m inventorying every bit of this, I’m not only getting clearer about fear’s presence, but angrier. Not at myself, but at fear itself.
As women on this planet, we have been conditioned to be afraid, to be far more concerned with how others perceive and experience us, than to hold fast to (even fight on behalf of) who we know-that-we-know-that-we-know ourselves to be.
That needs to change.
In If Women Rose Rooted, Sharon Blackie says:
To become [one] who can express her wrath rather than her rage, and warn of the dire consequences of ignoring it, is to have stepped fully into your own power as a woman.
And in Untamed, Glennon Doyle says that women need to be “full of themselves.”
What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world’s expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves. What we need are women who are full of themselves.
A few chapters later she says this:
What the world needs is masses of women who are entirely out of control.
We must, you and me both, consider who we’d be and how we’d be, if fear weren’t present. Yes, in writing. In relationships. In our choices. In our work.
We must, you and me both, be crystal clear on (and done with) everything that has perpetuated its presence.
We must, you and me both, begin and continue to name our wrath over our rage.
We must, you and me both, step fully into our power as women. No more holding back. No more hiding. No more fear. Done.
Here are three provocative questions to consider that serve as a helpful start and then some in this fear-defying, world-changing work:
- Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you expressed your rage (at fear and all that perpetuates) it instead of ignoring it?
- Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you didn’t pay any attention at all to anyone’s expectations of you?
- Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you were entirely out of control (at least as far as the world is concerned)?
I won’t speak for you (though I’m guessing you feel the same): The answers to these three questions define how and what I want to write; more, how I want to live and who I want to be: unbound by fear, unmoved by others’ expectations, and completely unrestrained (even out of control).
May it be so.