Writing for me when I was younger was hard. I had a difficult time with essays in school. Research papers in college were painful. I felt as if my own words were just not enough. I used a lot of quotes, thinking that other people’s words were better. I searched for words that fit me, but were written by others. I’ve been exploring this for a while now.
The turning point came for me some years ago. My husband is a brilliant writer. When he was working on his PhD, he had to do a lot of writing. I remember a specific assignment that he told me about one week-end and it was due the following Friday. When I left the apartment Monday morning, he was sitting in his favorite chair. When I came home in the afternoon, he was still sitting there. Nothing on paper. Tuesday came and went and I still saw no progress. Wednesday I asked him how it was going, because I knew that I would have to have it soon in order to get it typed for him to turn it in. Thursday afternoon, he sat down and wrote the entire paper. He had written it in his head and edited it all without once putting it on paper. I was in awe.
I live with a brilliant man. Fast forward twenty years. He was on the Board at our church. It was his turn to write the monthly Board report for the church newsletter. He sat and had no idea what to write. Days passed. One evening I sat down at the computer (note the transition in our life – typewriter to computer). I wrote a column and handed it to him and said maybe this will prompt you. He read it and said, “This is great! You are a really good writer!” It blew me away. But I believed him. I realized that it had been easy because it was something that I knew about. It really was a turning point for me and built my confidence up tremendously.
In addition to my husband’s encouraging words, as I turned 50 years old, I remember thinking as a teenager that when I was old, I would be able to speak my mind. When I was young, I was in awe of my maternal grandmother because she was outspoken. I was intimidated, sure. I remember thinking that when I was as old as she was, I could be more outspoken. So now, I’m older than she was then. I realize that what I observed in her was self-confidence. She was not afraid of what people would think.
The confidence I’ve achieved is not so much overcoming whether or not I worry about what people will think, but that I don’t fear the consequences of honestly expressing myself. As a child, I worried about pleasing my parents. My mother was extremely critical. She could do anything better than I could, whether it was making my bed, drawing a picture, sewing clothes, she could always do it better. As an adult, I worried about failing someone else’s expectations of me. It has taken a lot of encouragement, reflection, studying to grow into the person I am who can (mostly) say, “I just don’t care if you agree with me. This is my opinion.”
Starting a blog was a declaration for me. It’s personal. It’s mine. Maybe you the reader will connect with something I’ve said. I know that I love reading other’s blogs and being inspired to look at something differently. Today I was commenting on my friend Dawn’s post (https://thehuntingtonschronicles.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/huntingtons-disease-i-flinch/?c=75#comment-75) and as I was writing, I realized I was thinking of something that was more appropriate to put in my blog than in a long comment on her blog. Thanks Dawn!