Sometimes I feel nervous that people are annoyed or tired of me speaking about writing or sharing my writing.
I feel insecure about my long captions and rambling passionate thoughts that may be perceived as “too” much, “too” deep, or “too ” dramatic.
I get worried people will only associate intensity with me or that they will feel that I am “too” deep and a bit exhausting.
I sometimes choose to withhold my thoughts because I can be aware that I have been sharing “too” much. I want to keep a balance to try to control those insecurities.
And sometimes, with all of that, I want to prove to people that I can be fun or light-hearted or funny or simple.
But, the truth is…
I am me. A deep feeler. A processor. A range of emotions. A passionate speaker. A story-teller. A person who is long-winded with words. An insecure being still continuously learning what it actually means to be me.
And so I write. And I encourage others to write.
Because it is here, on this white space where I can release a bit of what is within.
It is here, in the sharing of my words, where I can be honest with the thoughts I fight to withhold.
It is here where those insecurities do not have as much power over me once I speak them.
When I write them, I am reminded how crazy it is that I, in my own mind, create how other people perceive me.
When I write them, I am reminded that we all have our lists of where we feel “too” much of something or “not” enough.
When I write them (and share them), I am reminded that I am not alone in what I feel.
When I write them, I am reminded that my feelings are valid. But that also, my feelings are not truth. And that is liberating.
And when others fill the white space with their words as well, I am reminded of how intrintically unique we all are.
When others write their thoughts, I am reminded how much we have to learn from one another. I am reminded of the power of listening. I am reminded of how ALL of our thoughts matter. The different stories we’ve lived and seen should be shared. They connect us. They empower us. They remind us that we are not alone. And they also remind us that the world isn’t just about us.
Recently, I have felt a little more emotional and passionate than usual. And I think a part of that is because each week I have been hearing and watching others take so much courage in the words they share. And I have been trying to really pay attention in those moments.
I’ve watched students share what they wish adults would understand more of. As they shared that they wish adults understood that just because they are a kid doesn’t mean their feelings are not valid. Or that they wish adults understand the mental illnesses students were battling. The pressures they were underneath. The bullying that actually happens and that no one stops. The difficulty of friendship. The fact that they are speaking and that they have so much to share, but that adults have to listen first. That kids ARE good and that no kid wants to be bad. That they can and should be trusted.
I’ve listened to speeches given by 5th graders and 7th graders and 8th graders speaking to what a world without boundaries would be like. They spoke up about the boundaries of fear, social expectations, racism, political division, conflict, physical walls, mental walls, and emotional walls. They spoke about how boundaries can be really good and can keep us safe and can provide security. But how other boundaries only separate and increase hate.
I’ve listened to students read their poems, rap their raps, and begin to write their memoirs. All raw, honest, and full of heart. Already reaching and impacting anyone who hears. Their minds are brilliant, beautiful, and their words are an extension of their resiliency.
I’ve listened to a group of students come together to discuss ways they can better speak to and fight against the injustices they see. I’ve listened to them upset that we only ever talk about issues like sexual harassment and racism in schools and that we never really do anything about it. I’ve listened to them name how they themselves see the school-to-prison-pipeline happening around them and how they are not okay with it. How we, the adults, need to rise up and need to make some serious changes. Howe we, the adults, need to really SEE them and support them and be reminded of our responsibilities.
I’ve listened to students bravely share in front of their classmates their insecurities or their challenges.
I’ve sat across different friends at tables as they’ve shared about loss, heart break, and difficult decisions they are having to make.
I’ve been on the other end of phone calls hearing different stories of strength and people I love fighting up against various adversities.
I’ve read emails and letters of all the more courage and bravery.
We are each journeying through something. We each feel and experience our fair share of insecurities and battles. We each have stories to tell.
And the telling of our stories and the sharing of our challenges and thoughts is never about some sort of competition.
Instead, it is about being together. It is about the freedom that can come from releasing what lies within. It is about finding empowerment out of the place where you have once been disempowered. It is about breaking beyond the insecurity. It is about allowing our words to speak to one another.
And so, I am going to continue to write and to encourage others to do the same. I’ll probably always, to some degree, still wrestle with the insecurities of being a bit annoying or “too” much in it all.
But, at the end of the day, it is always worth moving beyond those thoughts and worries. Even if our words do not feel enough, let them just be words on a page or a screen then. They matter enough to share, because you matter. And if anyone has told you differently, I am sorry. We can all fight against what ever it is that has tried silencing us.
Write what you need. Be “too” much. Be loud in a world that tries to keep you quiet. Be the you that you say you are. Not the you that you think others say you are. Be brave. Be free.
And be with others in it all.
We are always better together.