This Little Light of Mine

"Yes, but I think she's really a writer." —my mom

Dear Internet,

Someone recently asked me why I stopped writing here (*cough, Uncle Mark, cough, cough*), which led me to wonder why I started writing in the first place.

I've always been, shall we say-a sensitive child-a quality often not appreciated by some of my more rational kinfolk. So, at an early age, I began scribbling things down in notebooks or on the backs of discarded pages, least those things-those feelings-escape from my mouth or worse yet my eyes.

Some of you talk over wine, or spend hours on your bike. Some of you take baths or read. Some of you make art, or cook, or doctor on people. Or whatever it is you do to make sense of the world.

I? I write (and walk, and drive, and talk, and a myriad of other things).

But the writing-it just happens. The words come to me and it's all I can do to keep them from spilling out and ruining everything. So instead of blurting them out (vomiting them up?), I pen them down. I write them so I can see if they are true. If they make sense.

I write them so I can understand. 


Because when I don't-when I keep them rattling around inside my head-they turn rancid and bitter. They bite and sting and make me cranky.

And maybe I should just keep them to myself-continuing to fill journals and bits of paper. But I don't believe that's what we're meant to do-to hide ourselves. No, we-we are meant to let our lights shine. And writing? Writing helps me reveal my light-especially when I forgot it's there.

So why then, as this person asked, did I stop writing here?


There are several answers I could give: I was busy and flooded with words, and sights, and sounds-too many to tag, catalog, and trap here; I said a lot of my words over there and didn't have many left for here; I didn't think it was wise for the words I did have to be kept here as they needed some sorting.

Which would all be true. But, there's a better answer I can give-a truer answer. And that's-I haven't felt safe here. Someone I adore, whose opinion matters dearly to me, said some very unkind things about my writing. Trash was the chosen adjective.

Which is right in some ways. What I write is trash-mental, emotional garbage that needs taking out. Cleaning up. Dealt with.

Trash that often makes me cringe when I look at it now. Because I'm not that girl. Hardly ever am once I let the words out on the page. 

It took me a long time to shake that criticism out. To brush it off. To dust off my keys and open myself up again because what I write is so uniquely, heart wrenchingly me. And trash it may be, but it's my trash. It's me.

And the jab seemed to extend far beyond just the words on this page, because as I mentioned before I'm a sensitive child. And opinions matter to me. Those opinions especially matter to me.

So instead of leaving my trash here, I went into hiding. Retreated to my journals, my fiance (yes I have one of those now), and my bed. I let my mental garbage build up and weigh me down. I piled it up and barricaded myself in.

And while sitting amidst the rotting stench of unwritten words, I wished I didn't have this curse. This desire. This impulse to air my garbage out. I wished I could make myself into something more acceptable. Could just sweep my words under the rug and be done with them.

But I can't. I am me. And me writes and has opinions, and makes unusual choices, and marches to the beat of a different drummer, and yes takes her trash out and puts it on the Internet. And that's ok.


In fact, it's more than ok. It's fantastic. Because that's what we're meant to do. We're meant to stand in our lights. To be our true selves. To use our gifts.


Because when we do-when we have the courage to write, or draw, or talk-to live from our hearts-it gives other people permission, encouragement, the desire to do the same. And our world needs more of that-so much more of that.

But now my naivety has been scrapped off and I now know that not everyone can, or will see my trash (or yours) as treasure. No matter how much we wish they could. No matter how much we want them to. No matter how much we love them. Mean things will be said, eyes will be rolled, support will be withheld. And at times we'll feel all alone and it will stink.

But the cracks are where the light gets in. And when we bravely do what it is we're meant to do, other support floods in. Connections form. Hearts open.

And that covers. That mends. Any criticism.

I'm sorry I chickened out. Stuck my head in the sand. Tucked my tail between my legs. That's not the kind of living I believe in.

And I pinkie promise from now on I'll tell my stories, I'll write my words no matter what anyone says about them.


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