“Are you paralyzed by fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is an indicator. It tells us what we have to do. The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
Last night, I discovered that April is national poetry month and two of my favorite authors have issued a 30/30 challenge encouraging their followers to post one poem for every day of the month. When I read about this, two emotions warred within me. Excitement and sheer terror. Excitement because I love poetry and terror because I have never shared any of my poetry publicly. For one thing, I am not a poet and I recognize my own shortcomings in this area. I don’t really even know how to define a work AS poetry if it doesn’t rhyme, and none of my work rhymes. But I love spoken word poetry and often IT doesn’t rhyme, so I feel relatively safe in describing some of my writing as “poetry,” even if all I’m really doing is taking an essay and breaking it into multiple lines rather than paragraphs (you’ll see me do some of this over the next month as I turn excerpts of old blog posts into “poems.”)
More importantly, though, there is a huge part of my life I have kept mostly hidden from the world for the past two years. If you keep up with my blog at all, you’ve seen that I’ve begun tentatively reaching my fingertips into this world and sharing just a little bit about my relationship with Jon and my relationships with women. Mainly, I don’t talk much about it because I worry it will hurt people I don’t want to hurt and worry people I don’t want to worry and scare people I don’t want to scare.
But for the past two years, I’ve felt my soul caving in on myself through what Brad Blanton calls “the lie of omission.” It’s difficult to explain what my writing is to me, what it does for me, or how it helps me to navigate this world in a more honest and clear way, but in hiding those parts of me I’ve felt as if I’m wearing an emotional burkah, stifling under the heat of it, barely able to breathe. And so, today, I take my first step to remove it, through poetry.
This is not a method I would have ordinarily chosen. Poems are so intensely, achingly personal and I would have preferred to continue dipping my fingertips into this water a bit at a time. But something is shouting at me to take this step, and I’m learning not to ignore that voice. To those in my life who might be upset by what I will be sharing over the next thirty (or so) days, I invite you to avoid reading anything that might spark pain or anger or fear inside your heart if you’re not ready or able to handle those emotions at this time.
I love you all.