"Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at."
I'm part of a league of writers. (I was going to try and be funny here but I read the quote I listed above and had to sadly admit that I ought to follow the advice.) Last night we met for a yearly contest where we read one of our works aloud, as detailed by submission guidelines. Since it's coming on Valentine's Day, the subject was Love. Love for an object and not a person. Well, I'll be honest, I don't write well about love of objects. I don't write well about love of much. Not because I don't love; I believe that I love well and fully. (I could be wrong but I believe it and "I think therefore I'm right." Ha ha!)
So I came unprepared for the meeting. Believing that I had little to offer on the subject, I didn't bother to write anything. I thought: "I'll just listen and keep my lil' trap shut." As I listened to the many witty and humorous offerings being read, I reflected on my talents. Why couldn't I produce things like this? It doesn't seem like it would have been so hard to do. It seems natural to everyone else. But it wasn't natural for me.
As the time passed, I realised that everyone's submissions were lighthearted, silly, and fun. (All good things, by the way. Many a talented human read their pieces, especially one Carolyn V.Bug her and maybe she'll post it on her blog. Aha! Scarlet, now you'll HAVE to!) Only one person read something that was serious in nature. We all know I'm a bit of a "wet blanket" and more serious than a person has any right to be but it got me thinking.
I decided I'd read something of my own, even though I knew it wouldn't "mesh" with the rest of the pieces. I read one of my dark posts from this very blog and I told them that it wasn't love of an object so much as it was love of an emotion. It was The Rise and Fall of an Angry Me post. Sure, it's a little bit morbid that I was "in love" with being angry that day but that's how I felt. And the serious stuff is the stuff I don't seem to be so "dumb" at.
I can't tell you how it turned out or what people thought (because I can't read minds--despite the attempts!) but it was somewhat liberating for me to read it aloud. Sure, I was terrified. I'm not much for face-to-face interactions. I write coherently but I speak in tongues. No one's figuring out what the H I'm saying. But watching everyone else put themselves out there made me want to do the same. I was surrounded by people of my same ilk--the safest place for a writer to be. And I found a way to be honest with myself.
I've been checkin' out other people's blogs and reading other people's writing styles. Many of them I really like reading and chuckle over (or outright guffaw.) I struggled with it because I said to myself, "Why can't I write like that? How come I can't be funny and witty like that?" And that's where last night's answer comes in.
Because it isn't me.
I'm happy. I laugh and like to laugh. I'm not the funniest person in the world but I'll laugh at my own jokes once in a while. (See my nutty buddy award to fully understand.) However, my strength doesn't lie in that direction. My strength lies in the things I can put words to in a way that resonates easiest with me. That just so happens to be the things that are intense and somewhat dark.
That doesn't mean I can't write other things it just means that I write best when I'm truly honest with myself. (Which kind of ties into my soda-post about myself, ironically. Funny how I didn't see that before now.) Sometimes I can write happy things because I'm being "honest" about how I'm feeling that day. It's when I try to force words with something I don't feel that my writing goes straight down the crappier. (Imagine a frenchy sound with that.)
I'm sure many of us compare ourselves to others--it seems to be instinctual--but hopefully we're able to pull back from that and appreciate our own talents and strengths. Sometimes that's a painful road--to know that you aren't what you wish you could be. While I believe that a person can be whatever they wish to be, that great heights are attainable because of the heart of the dream, I also believe that there is healing and joy to be found in accepting my own inner self. Just as I can't write when forcing emotions I don't feel, neither can I exist peacefully when fighting against what I am.
I'm not hilarious and funny and superbly witty but hopefully, if you're reading this, then you're ok with that. Just like I'm learning to be ok with it. That's the best one can hope for, right?
Thanks for coming along on the journey with me, friends and readers. You're a welcome companion, always.
With love and hope,