You know how I know when someone's lying to themselves? *chomps peanut*
The way they write.
I can tell a lot about about a person by the way they write—myself included. I know there are people who are all, “But wait, WHAT ABOUT GENUINELY BAD WRITERS?” to which I say, yes, I know, they are absolute monsters, but also that—this has nothing to do with being a good writer or a bad writer, and everything to do with the person you choose to be on the page.
Unlike the way we show up in the real world, which comes with a shit ton of awkward accidents—the way you walk, the color of that one glory-filled chin hair that just keeps on comin' back for more—the way we show up on the page is much more deliberate. Every word is a conscious choice. So, who are you choosing to be? And more importantly, why?
+ Are you reserved with your own opinions, unconvinced that you are good enough to have them?
+ Is there a flatness in your voice—an even-keeled, cadaver-like quality—fearful of being TOO MUCH?
+ Do you hide behind platitudes, soothed by the safety of certainty and nodding heads?
+ Do you resist drawing attention to yourself, hoping not to be challenged or have to engage?
+ Can you still delight in the pleasure of having ideas without the constant burden of judging yourself for them?
+ And are you constantly shrinking, shrinking, shrinking some more, trying to conceal your YOUNESS? Your flaws? The part of you that is not one bit put-together at. fucking. all. (Haiiiii, 95% of what makes up a human life.)
There is just so much restraint.
We're bound by the throat.
There's such a fear of TOO MUCHNESS everywhere.
You know how I know when someone's lying to themselves? When their words feel like a straight jacket on the page.
Most people assume that when you show up authentically in your real life, it translates onto the page, but I've found the opposite to be true. The more you choose to be yourself on the page, the more you will find yourself being able to in real life. It's a practice. A mirror. A way of thinking your way through who you really are and what you really believe and then letting that self-understanding inform the person you become.
Because we're always becoming, you know.
And maybe this is how we write ourselves home.