In a conversation with a friend, she asks if I like myself more in writing or in person. It was a strange question, the kind that makes one think a little more deeply. Needless to say, it was my kind of friend. Perplexed, I told her they were one in the same. Why shouldn’t we get to claim our thoughts as our identity? A fan of social learning theory, we learn our behavior from our environment, but we get to mediate between stimuli and response. The environment triggers our thought process but then we get choose the actions that happen next. Right?
The difference between who we are when we write and who we are in life is that prolonged mediating period. Writing is when the pace slows down and we get to sit with a warm mug of tea and a magnifying lens to dissect what has come in and what is going out. The reflection, analysis, and learning gets a chance if we don’t hide from ourselves.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Gusta
We don’t always have time to do that in life, sometimes it is moving too quickly, stimuli is rushing in and we need to grab on to the moment like a child grabbing a balloon floating off into the sky. They have one chance to decide if they want to take the risk of reaching the clouds without weighing the risks of the fall. Writing happens on the ground or in the clouds because it’s important to know why you chose to grab onto the balloon in the first place. The best writing cannot completely explain the view of the sky when floating in it or the pain from crashing to the ground when all else fails. Our words can only do their best to project what happened in the moments we didn’t have enough time to think through.
My sister came into town this weekend and reminds me of the happiness I’ve found in my new phase of life. She notices the new sense of self that comes from a schedule that is too full, new friendships, a lack of sleep, and a change of pace. Sisters can notice the extra wrinkles that come from smiling just a little bit more. I told her I gain a lot from letting go and floating off, but I lose something too. She knows this. I find it when I write if I don’t make room for it anywhere else. It’s the person you want to be and the decisions you want to make even when you don’t have the clarity to do so in the moment. It makes the bad decisions and character flaws seem more manageable because in some capacity we are acknowledging them. We don’t get to be our writing in the same way we aren’t our aspirations, but it means something for having them. Writing allows us to create the people we want to be, but to like an idea of ourselves more than who we are is to forget the feeling inside when we are staring at a river during a sunset or dancing in the rain with your sister at a country concert.
The decsion to make the present moment into your friend is the end of ego ~Eckhart Tolle
You cannot recreate the feeling in a moment with words so you have to be it all. You have to be the way you feel, the mistakes, the wins, the joy, the pain, the reflection, and the aspirations. You get to be yourself and your thoughts but they’re not the same.