Why I’m Finally Starting

The sole purpose of this sentence is so the first sentence of my work will not start off with someone else’s collection of words.

As I pondered and pushed back the date to begin this piece, I remembered Manson’s Law of Avoidance that states, “The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it.” This “law” I pulled from one of Mark Manson’s articles, which he derived from the social psychology theory of self-verification, explains my delay in writing about my summer trip to Japan (…and a lot of other noteworthy memories in life).

I learned in Manson’s article that my procrastination didn’t just stem from laziness; my identity was being called into question. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to correctly and coherently capture my meaningful experiences. I was afraid of publishing mediocre work that will then destroy the perception of myself as an insightful writer. The more I thought about how amazing I would make this piece, the longer I held off writing it, afraid that my writing would not live up to what I think I am capable of. I wanted my perceived identity of being a good writer to stay intact.

Funny enough, identity was one of the topics I was teaching my high school students in Japan (This seems to be tangent but it actually isn’t). I wasn’t aware of this then and there, but when I was teaching in Japan, I developed an identity as a Group Leader that I grew very fond of. My heart so seamlessly carved out a special place for my students. It made me want to live up to the positive and enthusiastic human they saw me as.

I had been leading an Empowerment Program in Japan where I told my kids, “Mistakes are OK” and urged them not to be afraid. Therefore, I was having a hard time reconciling being irrationally afraid of publishing my imperfect writing.

So, I finally got myself to writing something. This isn’t the amazing account of my Japan experience I had in mind, but it’s an introduction for my upcoming stories.

Publicly posting my recollections will force me to consolidate my free-roaming thoughts and feelings into something virtually tangible. I don’t know if my words will do my experiences justice. I do know, however, that I am doing justice to my kids by practicing what I preach. Thank you, my Japanese students (from Niigata, Chiba, and Fukui prefectures), for inspiring me to do something I always wanted to do.

Fujishima High School (Aug. 2017)