“You’re a writer, not a saint”

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So yeah, I (we) published this the other day.

Some negative feedback (mostly towards an earlier version of the article) upset me and caused me to reflect deeply on exactly why I was so upset (nothing at all to do with the lovely Jamie)!

My friends didn’t like it much, and that’s okay. I can hear that and not feel badly. I think that they will still respect me in the morning because they know that I’m about more than this.

Sex and the City poked fun at dating in this way, so I thought I could do it too.

People who haven’t spent a lot of time in the dating world may be less likely to understand the tongue-in-cheek element, the strangeness that comes with these attempts at meeting people and hoping to resonate and then just having it go wayward either due to things that make you feel superficial or due to things that are genuine turn-offs, or else the other person does that towards you.

It is really. Freaking. Strange.

One woman wrote as a comment: “I hope you meet Mr. Right.” This was so sweet, but I don’t really believe in ‘a’ Mr. Right. I think if it as a spectrum: relationships themselves occur on a spectrum (no two are the same), and the *rightness* of any given person for you at a given time is also relative.

I’m fairly content, now, with the ways my relationships are going; much of that dating *stuff* is behind me: the weirdness, the cynicism, the insecurity, the bitching, the ‘lists.’ Which is why I am able to make fun of myself about it.

That voice is a part of me, for sure. But the thing is that I kind of have an audience now. People beyond my peer group are listening to me and resonating with my words.

So I’m realizing that maybe this voice is not the one that I want the world to hear. That’s not how I want people to think of me as a person when they don’t already know me.

That voice is not so authentic anymore. It’s a part of my past self that I’ve been letting go of for a while now and letting go of this has been vastly improving my life.

I’ve been letting go of it because it’s not really serving me, and if it doesn’t serve me that means it doesn’t serve others, either.

From now on I’m going to save it for giggly gossip times over tea with a girlfriend.

After receiving the negative comments, I was so worried that I didn’t do my job as a writer by putting out something cynical or sarcastic, even offbeat, rather than sending an authentic/loving kind of message as I try to do.

Then a good friend had a point. He said:

“If you were mindful all the time, you’d be less real. Allow yourself to be low-brow or superficial from time to time. Sometimes we (the readers) need it. Sometimes, people also need something superficial to rail against in order to feel their own depth. You’ve done your job. You’re a writer, not a saint.”

Quite possibly one of the most brilliant and comforting things I’ve ever heard said to me.

I don’t need to take things so seriously; all I was doing was experimenting and having fun and laughing and just exploring different genres. That’s what we do. I know that not everyone will like everything I write and in fact I want my words to inspire conversation.

I want my words to make people think. I want to create something rich enough that it inspires a second, third, or fourth read, be it for ‘good’ reasons or bad.

Still, the lesson that came out of this is that I can not ignore the deep need that I have to honour my own authentic voice through words and actions as consistently as possible.

Maybe more importantly to understand that doing this is also honouring my audience.

The bigger our voice is, the greater responsibility we have to use it well.

No regrets (unicorns don’t know regret, after all).

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Rediscovering Oatmeal & Sarah McLachlan

Porridge with berries (1)

It’s been a strange and emotional week for me.

Monday, 3am: I woke feverish and freezing, tossing and turning and suddenly hungry at because I stupidly hadn’t eaten dinner. I was kicking myself for not having any food in the house-I was even out of almond milk. I just felt like shit: alone, sick, cold. Extra neurotic in my feverish state.

I forced  myself to stop, to actually think rationally about what I do have,and I remembered that my pantry was pretty full. Then the thing that made me feel almost 100% better immediately was this realization: I have oatmeal, coconut milk, frozen blueberries.

I had given up on oatmeal for a while, thinking that because was gluten I shouldn’t have it. But the food brought me comfort, it’s warmth and heaviness. Satisfying.

The idea that I had just created something nutritious for myself when I thought I had nothing was the most comforting part.

The rest of the week at work I felt sick and tired a lot. I created a Facebook fan page (yes I just plugged it) and people responded well, in part because this article had been floating around in the popular section again.

Another event was the ladies night mini craft sale, about 15 of the most amazing women crammed into my friend’s little apartment, selling their wares: canned goods, adorable fabric crafts, aromatherapy bath salts, clothes from India, lovely teas. I didn’t even bring my own thing (cards) nor did she sell her jewellery; there was already so much!

Then there are all of the (ele-) friend conversations and writing pieces, the Facebook activity that keeps me sane, conversations morphing into writing ideas and writing ideas morphing into conversations.

It’s ongoing and it makes my brain and heart full with joy.

But there is this strange heaviness that comes with the fullness. I realized recently as I was listening to Sarah M. for the first time in forever (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy) that I realized where all this emotion was coming from: a sense of devotion.

This debut album that made her famous was simple but heartfelt. Nothing particularly innovative, but still just deep enough to be accessible. A real voice. Emotion. Love. Loss. Hurt. A bit of darkness.

I want to find that feminine, that voice that reaches, the key that invites people to join in and sing with ease.

The one that I have right now feels disjointed and scattered. I’m having trouble choosing one topic and sticking with it. I’m not quite sure what I need to get there, either, but somehow the oatmeal and the Sarah M. are symbolic of what is the right direction.

Anyhow, back to the idea of devotion (see? I’m all over the place). Friday night was particularly intense for me. There were these moments of bittersweet release where I just lay back and let myself be loved so tenderly and it was so so much what I needed.

And then he gave me the space to just be, and be emotionally weird and I got through that and it was okay and it made me feel better.

But the thing that hit me hard, just this morning, is this idea that devotion can come with a weight, a price.

Devotion-loving something (or wanting to love something) fiercely-can also feel heavy. So when it feels heavy, does that mean that we are we doing it for the right reasons? Is it supposed to feel heavy?

Is it scary because it’s just about love, or is it only scary if it’s really about something else?

I’m trying to love hard and love well, including showing love to this craft.

And Goddammit, it can be scary and tiresome. I suppose that not doing it, though, while less scary, is also less rewarding in the end. Let’s hope.