When you get “Writer’s block” the first reaction is simply that you don’t know what to write. I would counter that the reason can be you simply don’t know if you’re ready to let everyone know what’s going on in your brain pan. Which means it has less to do with not knowing what to put on the page, and more to do with the reception of your audience.
That all boils down to a major problem I face in my day to day life and may ring true for you, as well. We go through our lives taking our cues from “societal norms” (or societal Cliffs, if you watch Cheers.) Unfortunately it tends to leave me with a glass half empty feeling, and that is just not my style.
SIDE NOTE: you will notice I bounce between “we” and “I.” This is intentional. It is an internal battle of shying away from the real intent by making it about the royal we rather than my thoughts and feelings. Lumping us all in together rather than giving folk the chance to relate to the subject matter for themselves.
Over the past few months I’ve started to realize that I own a lot of things I’m no longer interested in. Whether they be items, hobbies, or opinions. They no longer fit into my life’s puzzle the way they once did. Initially I was freaked out. Because I’ve come to think of them as a part of me. Various components that make me who I am, when in actual fact they are a part of what made me who I am today but don’t necessarily need to stay.
I once held the door for an instructor, and now friend. He stopped in the doorway, looked me straight in the eyes and said “when will you realize that you can cut your hair, and you’ll still be you? It’s your safety net.” I never thought of it that way, and can’t guarantee that I would have had he not brought it to my attention. Needless to say I kept growing my hair out of spite for the remainder of my time at school, but I eventually walked into a hairdresser’s and got it all chopped. It was a huge physical weight that was lifted, it was also an emotional weight. I was simultaneously the person I had always been, and had the opportunity to rewrite my character.
I now have that trigger of when I start to grow my hair out, I take a hard look inside and usually find it is because I am unsure of my footing and am shrinking back to what was once safe. I could be the guy who didn’t cares again, who rebelled. The issue being that I was rebelling against my own personal change as much as anything else.
This mentality is now part of a process I use when trying to face new challenges head on. Am I resistant because it is different, or because it isn’t me? Trick question. I won’t know if it is me or not until I give it an honest try. Every single thing I have done in my life has been a discovery. It has either illuminated something I am truly interested in and meant to pursue, or something that I have discovered is not a part of my life going forward. This could be as simple as a recipe for casserole, or as complicated as a friendship both parties have outgrown. In both situations I learned what appealed to me and what was fulfilling. It is a lot easier to walk away from a recipe than it is to step back from a friendship that was years in the making. As the adage goes, don’t keep something around just because you spent a long time making it. Definitely one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn but I have been better for the lesson.
I now choose to surround myself with people, things, and ideals that help me lift myself higher. Not to put myself on a pedestal, but so I can see over the mound of my own bullshit about “how I should be.” Truth is I don’t know how I should be, how I should act, WHO I should be. I don’t know these things because I haven’t discovered them yet. That’s part of the fun and the frustration of the whole business. Understanding that you aren’t supposed to have it all figured out until the moment you do because that process is part of your personal progress.
At one point, I think we knew it all. Before popular culture and everything else stepped in. Maybe when we were young and we were fighting dragons and building castles in the backyard, or front yard, I won’t judge. At that time I think we had a clear idea of who we wanted to be because it didn’t matter. We only had to answer to ourselves. Most reasoning from someone under five is “because I want to,” or simply “because.” The reason isn’t important, the action is. Somewhere along the way we lose sight of who we are and we all rediscover at various points. Those who get it sorted early help to blaze the trail for the rest of us on this rock as it hurdles through space.
Taking all of this into consideration I’m going to make a bold move and revamp some Robert Frost. It seems the road less traveled is more so the familiar road once forgotten, and at the end of the day, it still makes all the difference.