“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
We are all little sponges.
We pick up little dew drops of environment, attitude, and mannerisms all the time. We may not notice these little additions but these things affect us.
How do we know which droplets come from within and those that come from without?
It is not always a bad thing to pick up other things. We become more tolerant, more rounded, when we learn to see things through other people’s eyes. We are more patient and kind. We forgive others. We learn to accept people as they are instead of being disappointed that they aren’t who we want them to be.
But at what point must we stop absorbing and become our own kind of solid? It is well and good to understand and love another person but are we being understanding and loving towards ourselves?
Since I’m a writer, I relate many things to writing. As a writer, I’ve had to allow my work to be viewed and critiqued by others. This is a good thing. You can’t see your own imperfections as easily as someone else can. You need a bit of a barrier to see your work clearly. Once you get your feedback, you revise and edit, reshaping your manuscript into something better than it was.
But what if it isn’t?
What if in an effort to improve, you’ve lost sight of what makes it yours? When do we learn to draw the line between improvement and imposter?
For me, finding this place means going back to the spark of my story; the conception. What attraction did it hold in the first place? What was that cataclysmic joining of images that bloomed inside my heart and caused it to race? If I can remember that, I can find my way back to me.
Why does this work for me? Because it was me and me alone that witnessed the potential life of my story. It was a hidden seed in my heart that I knew could sprout life. Everyone can take an idea and make a story from it (many of which can be spectacular stories) but each person has their vision—their dream—and it is unique.
Let’s put it this way: If I died today, who would finish my story? It can be done, certainly, but not the same way I would have done it. You can have every single detail plotted out, every scene prepared—and yet, it will not be my voice that sings the song. Does that mean it won’t be good? NO! I know there are talented writers who could do just as good, if not better, than I could. But it will still be different.
I haven’t been around much because I am getting back to me. I am finding myself and the nexus of my story. I’m witnessing that burst of creation in all it’s preternatural glory and marveling over the explosion of life. I am seeing my characters as I first saw them and reveling in the dying light cast over her features, the suppressed starvation in his stony soul—in essence, I am exposing myself to the distilled lifeblood that first endeared this story to me.
Let me entreat you to do the same. Whether you write or not, remember that your gifts are yours alone. No one will ever do what you can do in the manner you will do it. Be it a thoughtful word to a loved one, a batch of cookies made to uplift, an anonymous smile to a stranger during rush-hour traffic—YOU ARE UNIQUE.
The world would have us believe that we are disposable or replaceable. You are not. Yours is a signature scrawled in timeless ink. I’d like to share a bit of a story with you from a picture book by Sally Kahler Phillips. It’s called Nonsense!
And what would you say if ever you’re told
That you’re not good enough or you’re dim or too bold
or you’re not very special, you’re strange or too shy?
What will you say in reply?
Will you sniffle and sigh and assume that they’re right?
Will you kick, will you cry, and perhaps pick a fight?
Of course not! Instead, you’ll know just what to do
When you hear something truly untrue
“Nonsense!” you’ll say. Shout it loud, shout it far!
Only YOU can decide who you are!”
One of my favorite lines from a book is:
"When it comes to individual destiny, there is no power greater in the universe than the conviction of the human soul to make a choice." –The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters
If we are what we choose to be, then choose to be you. Be the you that exists in the very center of your cells, the miniscule universes that are the magic of your DNA—in other words, be the you that only you are. And if you’ve lost your you? Seek “you” out. Remember and recreate. Get back to you…
…because no one can do it like you can.
With love and belief,