I stared at the blank page in front of me. The words swirled in my head, yet could not translate to my fingers impatiently tapping at the keys. The page seemed to stare back like a fogged mirror. I knew what I wanted to write, yet I could not see the words clear enough to bring it to life. I swirled around in my chair for awhile and finally stood up to head outside. I bundled in my layers, laced up my boots, and walked out the door to the bright world outside.
The clear crisp air cut to my lungs and lunged at my thoughts. I tramped out to the snowfield and stared out at the mountains. The dark blue of the ridges whispered as the sun gave its last breath of the day, dusting the edge of the sky in a soft pink. Tracks of boots and skis made swirl marks in the snow. My boots pressed into the prints of others, and it occurred to me why I was afraid to write.
So many authors have made their mark on this world. Bleeding their life on the page from experience, or swirling the mystical with the real world. Every time I visited the book store I would feel overwhelmed. Why would my words make a mark of difference amongst all these authors from around the world? Would my words reach who they are meant to? Would my stories make any difference?
Every webinar, teacher, established writer will tell you their tips and tricks for being a great writer. The world speaks loud on how I should write, what I should write, and who I should be aware of that is listening. It is the reason I am afraid to write. I used to float through the crowd to blend in, to survive. Yet, pieces of me would bleed through the cracks.
By the time I was a senior in University, I was frustrated with how I was supposed to act. The first time I spoke plainly and clearly of my frustration, I shocked my peers. One girl said she would not dare say that to a professor, for fear it would effect her grade. Are we afraid to speak because of the mark it will make on our performance? A younger me would of stayed quiet, harboring the same fear, but as I grow older, the more I find it important to speak up.
After all, nothing in history has changed without a little controversy.
After we left the meeting with the professor, the girl looked at me with wide eyes and exclaimed I was brave to speak up. I let a smirk pull the corners of my lips, and told her if you don’t speak up, nothing will ever change. Yet, as I sat at my computer nearly a year later, the page stayed blank. Pondering the fear that keeps me from being myself and the writer I hope to be.
As I walked to the edge of the empty snowfield, I called to the mountains. I realized this new home in the mountains harbored safety for me to finally be myself. I lived in a shell for the past five years of my life. After being burned and hurt by the world, I blew out the lights that lit up the most precious parts of my soul. I covered them up in dark corridors of my heart and let them collect dust.
When depression swept through the halls of darkness, it nearly destroyed each part of me that made me who I was. I laughed and communicated joy on the surface, never really letting people see the deteriorating pieces of my heart. No one ever saw the tears of long drives through the hills, or the never ending nights of insomnia. I was alone in my own suffering, and at times was tempted to take a bus somewhere with no destination in mind. Just to breathe for a little while.
When Fern and I moved to Montana, I felt I could breathe for the first time. I could dance in the snow in my bundle of layers, and not really care who noticed. I could choose how I moved about my day, and no one assumed they already knew what I was like because of what University I went to or what my background was. Cause they didn’t know. I could be anyone in this harsh winter land, yet I felt my true self not just bleeding through the cracks, but breathing through the cracks and lighting up the dark corridors of my heart.
The fear of writing comes from my past, but it is also what makes me who I am today. I fear being rejected by my community because I am maybe not who they want me to be. Yet, that is everyone’s fear. It is why people hide their sexual identity or political affiliation. We are afraid of rejection. I blended in for years, yet it seemed the underground people found my anyways. One girl told me I seemed straight laced, but there was something secret about me. She took to walking with me after class and soon learned my disposition was far from rigid rule following. I was just sneaky about my rebellion towards an environment that wanted me to be something that I was not. Truth is, I tried to be that person that the community expected me to be. I got involved in groups, went to after class functions, yet it was just the same recycled conversations and useless talk. Everyone spoke of making change, yet no one did anything. They just discussed change, without ever being directly involved in the fire that pushes communities to change.
When I write, I fear being that person who speaks but never does. At this point in life, I had hoped to be in graduate school, but surgeries pushed that dream aside. When I took up writing as a profession, I wanted to write with purpose, with dedication, with change.
As I write, the back of my mind swirls in memories. Thailand never leaves me.
It beckons my soul to be a part of something greater than myself. It whispers to me, just as the mountains do here in Montana, reminding me the challenges of the past and daring the ones that lie ahead. My writing is a part of my journey. A teacher once told me I failed at writing, and now it is my profession. If I let every negative experience control my mind, then I will never reach my potential. If I let it, I will never be able to move beyond fear.
The fear that keeps the page blank is the same fear that hardened my shell during University. In a world that speaks of what I should be, it can be hard to be who I am. I live in a privileged world where I get to choose what I do with my life, and how it will either confine me to walls or propel me forward. I work hard at what I do, to create the life I want. I’m no 8-5 girl with zipper heels and a boss to report to. I’m the girl who is chasing snowflakes in the wind and racing around the world to gather every story she can in this preciously short life. Who sits in visitor centers holding her laptop towards the router in hopes I can steal wifi from Facebook sifters. I’m the girl who fell in love with a man across the sea, who will fight every day to keep that love safe and alive. I’m the girl who writes several thousand words a day for a living, yet never took a serious writing class in University. As I light up the dark corridors, I become who I am, and who I truly was all along.
On the mountains covered with snow, I am who I am.
As I walked back home on the familiar streets of Montana, I let the cold capture my attention as my heart beat gently with my steps. I knew this season was important. For healing, for growth. The next season seems far, yet I know it will come in a fast wave. At times it will overwhelm me, but it does light up a promising future. A future overcoming fear and working hard to make my dreams become more than just written word, but a living depiction of a life well lived.
Love and Light,
P.S. To help in the next season of my life, check out my page: