Unexpected Ways That Your Art, Your Craft, and Your Ideas Only Just Planted, Are Changing the World for the Better

Real Talk 12/1/18

The things that I think I should write about have stopped me from writing at all. I mean, not entirely, but in that way that gives me motive and drive and a sense of understanding. One that helps to clear things up and let things go. 

Often what can stop us from doing something are at first, the expectations we put around the outcome. Second, what we believe others will think of us doing them. Third, the approval and desire to feel qualified before stepping into that role (whatever it requires of us). Fourth, having it fit into current affairs, ideas, and movements—if it’s outside of that box, it can almost feel irrelevant. 

At one point or another, I’ve found myself blocked by all of these things.

I’ve told myself that if I just said I was in remission. If I just said that this was my cure-all. If I just shared what diet and restrictions were, and what I’ve done for treatment. If I just shared more of those controversial pieces, the ones that are going to evoke a, “wow, how are they putting themselves on the line day after day?!” 

After all, I look up to the countless movements, artists, makers, and narrative-changers that are leading and shaping and creating space for others to step into that role—without them, we wouldn’t be breaking through barriers (and I don’t want to completely talk myself down, but for the sake of the storyline, I won’t comment on that yet).

In short, I have been questioning what I’m doing—does writing poems about our natural world and the often-overlooked moments have the impact I wish them to? Should I stay up later, work harder, create more, and push myself in a direction that feels forced, because from time to time, I can’t seem to let go of the idea that I am not enough? That I keep falling short.

That I if only I was qualified enough would the poem I write have any chance of carving out change.

It’s been said before, and there are countless moments when I feel truly proud of myself, but the comparison—my gosh, it can lead me to believe that I’m not working hard enough. That whatever I’m putting out into the world is so small and so insignificant that it’s invisible upon sharing. 

It’s the way we talk to one another. 

It’s the way we invite each other in, even when our stories are so wildly different. 

It’s the way we forgive and let go instead of suffocate and keep grudges. 

It’s the way we actively choose to love instead of hate.

It’s the way we set aside our egos so that we can act and react from the perspective of the person sitting across from us.

It’s the way we feel about something rather than think about it.

It’s the way we celebrate.

It’s the way we call out our own contradictions when they do pop up—like right now. 

There’s a guilt around not always sharing the full story:

My treatment.

What I’ve done.

How I do what I do. 

The exact details so that you can do it too. 

But you see, that’s not me (this is more so a reminder for myself). If that felt natural and fluid I would surely already be doing it. But it doesn’t, and any time I go to write from that perspective, I get a knot in my stomach. I feel small and so far from who I know myself to be. 

So then I step away. I let that fade, curling up in a worn-down chair with my cup of tea and busy mind; writing about everything and nothing at all, soon realizing that this right here, this is what I have to offer. That this feeling? This is good. This is right. This is where I need to be. This is what I need to be doing.

There is no wrong way.

You don’t have to write if you don’t want to write.

You don’t have to go to school if that won’t serve you in the way it would others.

You don’t have to travel if you’d rather be home with your hands in the dirt, planting bulbs in the earth.

You don’t have to give a step by step of how you’ve healed in order to help others do the same, but what you do have to do is make room for those things that do fill you up. 

That makes you, you. 

That’s how you’re going to change the world. 

That’s where others are going to feel your heart and see that change that you, simply by showing up in a way that reflects who you are and what you love, are already making. 

Me, from between the pages of my journal, using short lines and quick remembering’s to make sense of the world around me. 

You, from behind that laptop, writing article after article on affordable and attainable healthcare.

You, from the seat of advocation as the movement you’re apart of is making change so big you can already feel their vibrations. The positive change it’s having.

You, molding that clay, allowing it to give voice to the story that you’ve always wanted to share.

You, holding the hand of your grandfather, knowing that this story, and the way yours intertwines with his, will live on through your art and your voice.

You, with that seed of an idea that you’re about to plant and watch grow.

You, with the paintbrush and blank canvas.

You, with the plane ticket and backpack full of endless choice and opportunity, maybe for the first time ever.

Sometimes the most impactful things are in places that you least expect it.

Sometimes it takes writing the darn thing.

I didn’t want to write this for the silliest of reasons, and now I see that. I didn’t want to write this because I didn’t think it was powerful enough. And maybe to some this message will feel like a drop in the bucket, while others it will be exactly what they need to hear, either way, it’s always worth it to challenge and question the resistance.

To step aside so that you can see all that you have done, so that you can believe in yourself as much as your mom or your sister would. As much as your best friend or dog does. As much as your grandpa did, when he said, “I hope you always keep writing poetry,” as we all sat by his beside and watched cancer devour everything but his brain—that was never going to go. He was going to hold onto that until the very end.

“What have I got to lose,” I say to myself, as my notebook is pressed between my palms.

“What have I got to lose.”

So by all means, learn in the way you wish to learn. Create in the way you wish to create. Move your body in the way you wish to move. Support in the way you wish to support. Share in the way you wish to share. Listen in the way you wish to listen.

And always, always put up a fight when the fear slips in and your doubt is determined to have the last say. Reminding yourself of the why. 

Why do you want to show up in this way?

And why do you keep sharing those little poems that, from time to time, you’ve often convinced yourself no one cares about? 

Because there’s always going to be a place for you, you, and you.

For that idea you thought was silly and story you weren’t going to share.

I love you infinitely,