I’m a lesbian. I’m also a witch. I’ve got lots of tattoos and piercings – and I’m fat. I unschool my teenaged son. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a writer. And I’m a vegetarian (I know, this is the one that’s really hard to understand).
I’m pretty freaky.
I’m also incredibly open about my freakitudinosity. I write about the freak-tastic topics near and dear to my heart all the time. I write them publicly, I share them with the world.
My parents read my writing – as does my brother (hi, family!). Some of my cousins read my writing. My friends read. People who I don’t want reading are still here, reading.
Occasionally, when I’m proof-reading a post pre-posting, I flinch. Gosh, I think, this sure is personal. I’m talking about my vagina or altering my own memories or my coming out stories or struggling with body issues.
I’m all up in your face with my authentic self.
I’m constantly waving my freak flag high.
It’s hard. It’s scary. It causes conflict in my life. I’ve had terse conversations with my parents about my writing. I’ve had a fight with my ex over things I’ve written. I’ve had friends get upset for being vaguely mentioned. I’ve lost friends over vaguely mentioning them.
There have been times when I’ve sat and stared at a post, filled with the knowledge that it will bring conflict. I’ve read and re-read, edited and re-edited. I’ve taken a deep breath and thought about censoring. I’ve thought about telling half-truths to avoid the ugliness of the whole truth. I’ve trembled with fear when I’ve hit the publish button, knowing I would offend someone.
And in the end, I always hit the publish button.
This is my voice.
This is me.
I’m loud. I’m occasionally obnoxious. I’m fierce. I’m proud of who I am, of who I’ve become, of how I write. I stand in my truth and tell my stories as I see them.
And when that conflict inevitably happens, I fall back on what I know about communication. I take the responsibility. I own my words: I never put the blame or responsibility at anyone else’s feet. It’s mine. The words are mine, the experiences are mine.
The truth is mine.
When a loved one gets upset at something I’ve written, I talk it out with them. I make sure they understand me. I hold out my heart and I explain my intent. I apologize for their pain – but at the same time, I hold boundaries. I don’t abase myself. I don’t apologize for my experiences. I don’t apologize for my truth.
I don’t apologize for being who I am.
Here’s the thing: just the act of being true to yourself is freaky. Standing strong in your own power and telling your own stories brands you a freak. And when you stand strong in yourself and write from your heart, you will step on toes.
The trick is, take responsibility for your steps. When you tread on someone’s toes – and you will, if you are a writer (especially a world-changing writer), know that your story triggers something deep inside their heart. It’s not about you. It’s not really about what you said. It’s about their hearts being afraid of something, and you brought that up in them.
Be compassionate. Hold them in your heart instead of getting angry at them.
And then, do the same for yourself. Writing from your heart is a powerful, terrifying act. Taking the deepest, clearest you that you are and putting it out there for others to see – and to misunderstand – is among the hardest things to do.
It is also the most important.
Be yourself. Stand in your own power. Write from your heart.
The path is hard. But, in the end, it is the only path that matters.