Just Over Here, Wording My Emotions

A lot of people ask me what I write about. Friends, work colleagues, friends of friends that I get introduced to, people I meet on my travels…the question of, “What do you do?” inevitably comes up and since I’ve been trying this new thing where I’m honest with myself, I tell the truth. I write. That is what I tell people. Writing is what I do on a daily basis. It’s what I love. It makes my heart beat fast and on a good day, makes the butterflies in my stomach wake up. Writing is what is necessary for me. So I try to say it as often as possible and as loudly as I can, although that part is still scary sometimes. After I get the hard part out of the way, then comes the even harder part.

“What do you write?”

My immediate answer is always a very dramatic, “ummmm…” followed by some kind of painful, weird sighing, the kind I normally reserve for my boyfriend when he’s ‘just checking something real quick’ on his phone ‘just for one second’ and then it’s an hour later and I am sitting there sans attention. I tend to throw out a vague, “Life? I guess? Yeah. I write about life.” And sometimes, if I’m close to the person, you know, if I really feel like they’re part of my inner circle, I’ll throw them a bit of a bone, and say, “MY life?”.

The truth is, I have no idea how to classify what it is I write about. It’s the stuff that’s in my heart. It’s the stuff that gives me anxiety. I write about the thoughts that keep me awake until 4am, the ones that have me making lists in my head until my head is so full it’s got me turning on lights to write the lists down on actual paper. I turn my emotions into words and then put them on paper so that then they become things, because it is much, MUCH easier to deal with THINGS instead of feelings. So, it’s how I cope. It’s also what is fun for me. (Yes kids, coping = fun. Welcome to 31.) Writing is what gets me through. It’s what lets me take up space in this world. Can I just preach to myself for a second here? Writing is what lets me take up space in this world! It’s what makes me feel accomplished. It’s what I do to create, to leave my mark. It helps me keep in touch. It’s a memo to myself. Writing helps me tick off all those boxes on that imaginary list called Who I Want To Be.

Often, when someone asks me what I write about, and then I look at them with panic weirdness and confusion in my eyes, these dear folks tend to come back with, “Oh. So, like, you write about finding yourself. That’s cool.” Tires screech in the background. Glass smashes to the ground all around me. What? No! Wait. Do I? Do I write about finding myself? No. I can’t. It sounds so obnoxious.

I just don’t love the term “finding yourself”. I understand what people mean when they say it, but I dislike what it implies, what it seems to stand for. I’m found already! Was never lost! I’ve always been over here in the corner just doing my thing.

“Finding yourself” is just so vague. It’s so unspecific. It seems inaccessible. It sounds like it’s made for other people. People who have time and money and freedom. Not people who have responsibilities and priorities and health issues and full time jobs. It sounds like a giant puzzle, the size of the universe, and you now have this job of searching high and low to find that one tiny little piece that will magically unlock WHO YOU ARE. It makes it sound like everything is out of your control. Like only people with money can go off and find themselves. Only people who travel can truly find themselves. Surely, only people who can afford to go back to school and get a do-over, can find themselves. If school’s not your path, then surely, it’s only once you meet someone who sweeps you off your feet and you fall madly in love, then you will find your true self. Well, I can’t give anyone any specific answers about what it means to “find yourself” but I can tell you, I’ve done all of the above, and the only person I found along the way was me. The same me that I’ve always been, it was just me in a fun, new situation (that, okay, usually included eating in nice restaurants and kissing cute boys, but that was my path. #RealTalk)

The thing about finding yourself, is that it’s also just called life. It’s just the journey of doing things and meeting people and being open and learning stuff. You don’t need money to find yourself. You don’t need to fall in love or even end that shitty relationship that you are hanging onto. You don’t need to go back to school to get more ed-u-macated. You don’t have to travel to find yourself. And for the people who just skimmed over that line in disbelief, can I just say again, you don’t have to travel to find yourself. I’ve found that you find out who you are best, when you are just doing the things you really, REALLY want to do. I don’t mean the easy stuff, the things you are good at, the things that come naturally to you. I mean, like, the way deep down stuff. The dream that your entire heart is wrapped around. The scary thing. The thing that’s at the base of you. The thing that you know is so, so true, but is also the thing that you would never share when someone asks you who you are. The thing that you know would be super worth it if it just wasn’t so effing terrifying. THAT. THAT is that tiny, little puzzle piece that unlocks magic and packs away the bullshit. Just do stuff, yeah? Say yes to things that are new and scary. Say no to things that maybe don’t serve you anymore. Just do whatever you are able to do to bring that secret, juicy realer version of you out into the world for the rest of us to meet. “Finding yourself” is a lot like when Beyonce became Sasha Fierce. She didn’t find someone new. She was Sasha all along.

On a mountain top in Morocco, finding myself, naturally

So, while it is a goal of mine to eventually be able to clearly state what it is that I write about when people ask – what my blog is about, what my magazine articles are about – in the mean time, if anyone asks, I’m just going to be over here in my little corner, taking up space, writing my thoughts out so my heart doesn’t explode.

Paris, where people go to find themselves. I just ate lots of cheese.

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