Intentional Writing Space
“The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.” Albert Einstein
Hello, new Medium internet friends!
This is a formal invitation for you to share in my regular brain space. As you’ll come to learn if you continue to read my writing, formality is comfortable for me. According to my DiSC assessment (which I have not yet taken with my coworkers, but have already decided the outcome for myself of course), I’m the type of person who communicates contentiously. I place emphasis on “quality and accuracy, expertise, competency.” I am obsessed with setting intentions, focusing my energy on the most efficient way to reach a pre-determined goal, and drawing out consensus from those around me in order to overcome future roadblocks. I don’t like surprises, and as I get older, I dislike distractions even more.
So with that in mind, I invite you to do something quite counter-intuitive to my preferred way of communicating with you. I’d like to invite you to take an intentional glimpse into the haphazardous way I see the world; the imperfect arguments that roam through my mind, the inaccurate accusations that cloud my judgement, and the downright incompetent opinions that grow unchecked in the depths of my psyche. In other words, I’d like to share my unfinished work on the internet with you. Sounds like some appealing reading, doesn’t it? I promise, there will also be lots of sex to keep you interested.
Part of my reason for creating this intentional writing space in the public sphere is to force myself to write. I am looking to you, my currently faceless readership, to hold me accountable for producing work that you can enjoy and that will bind us together in a community of thought. I don’t mean this to be an exercise solely for my own internal motivation; I do hope it is worthwhile for you, my audience, in providing entertainment, awakening an idea or critique within your own brain, or simply giving you a chance to listen in on the introspections of a stranger. And in that way, perhaps you will be more forgiving of me for putting forth a bevy of unrefined, shifting outlooks, momentary glances, and contradictory thoughts.
The real reason why I am creating this work for the public, is to practice the difficulty of admitting that my views aren’t always right, or logical, or even especially enlightened. That in sharing the messiness of my existence, I am making a radical attempt at being free. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense right off the bat, so let’s back up. I shall now tell you a story about my past week working in the wacky world of non-profits.
Thanks to a recent conversation with a brilliant and immensely generous co-worker of mine, I was able to finally understand what has been blocking my creative flow for the past few years. She helped me see that I’ve been compromising my own truth in exchange for getting what I wanted out of the next phase of my life. In exchange for my dream job, my very own wife, and our very own house, I ceased creating artistic work, moved away from my community, hid many of my feelings and activities from my co-workers and family, primarily because I did not think they would still trust and support me if I showed them the extent to which my life choices differed from theirs (luckily, through this all I never had to hide anything from my wife— yay, another win for gay marriage!).
In many cases, my fears of showing my true self were not unfounded. But what my generous co-worker helped me to understand, is that by keeping silent, carefully crafting my image, and consolidating my own power under the banner of professionalism and adulting, I’d failed to recognize all the ways I’d conveniently disowned the very principles of my own beliefs. By failing to be authentic, I only added to the oppression that she so keenly felt upon her arrival to our workplace as a woman of color in an primarily white community. I succumbed to the pressure to be a part of the white normative culture in a way that would never be accessible to her. I used my privilege to front an image that was not my truth, and in the process hurt my creative output, my confidence in myself, and stifled the work I could have been doing to bring change for the communities in our city that need it most.
By sharing my writing with the public, and by silencing my own fear of what you, my audience, might think of me from here on out, I take one small step toward my own liberation. I recognize the opportunity to hide behind my privilege and instead I take a stand in solidarity with all those who have no choice but to defend the expression of their truest selves ever day of their lives. May my words give you strength, and may my future deeds be for the liberation of us all.
Always Love, Jen