Before I actually called myself a writer, after the shut down of my shop, I was interviewing a woman writer about her decision to write and tenacity to seek work. She dumbfounded me when she told me she had friends who’d written a book in 9 days. Like some story of book creationism, the book had taken form and was born in a little over a week. Who knows if it was good but it was done. I couldn’t imagine that.
I was in a therapy session referring to the gumption and authoritative airs of a twenty something I had found almost ridiculous in their boasting of their accomplishment when my therapist noted, youth means you aren’t afraid yet. You haven’t fallen on your face yet. Your naiveté is your shield and I realized how true this was. This was the superpower that wrote that book.
The older you get, the more you know. And then you know too much. There was a study I heard of where the monkeys being studied were thwarted from climbing up a rope or poll by being squirted with a hose. And after a while, the monkeys stopped trying to climb it. And the next generation of monkeys didn’t even attempt to climb up the rope. The elders had made sure they understood that trying would be futile and would be punished. Even though the youngsters hadn’t experienced the negative outcome, they had been trained not to risk. Obviously not millennial monkeys.
So the combination of a lifetime of negative experiences garnered by risking and failing added into the collective understanding from our parents that risking is bad, has raised us to be fearful beyond what is reasonable. As if our attempts to express ourselves or rise above our self-appointed stations will end tragically. We will be shunned for being different and that is death.
I want that sense of invincibility from my youth back. That knowledge that everything will be OK whether or not what I want to have happen actually happens. Being impassioned enough about what I am doing and saying to let go of the outcome and be completely immersed in the process. I want to be fearsome with my belief that what I have to say will make a difference in the world my children will grow up in. Getting there.
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