Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
— Henry David Thoreau
I was recently faced with a situation where I felt I had to speak up about something I was experiencing, and instead of keeping quiet in order to avoid any unwanted drama, I chose to be upfront with my truth at that moment, as uncomfortable as it felt.
My openness in this particular case caused the other person to completely shut down, which left me feeling sorry for the inconvenient way I can be, and second-guessing my decision to express my truth.
This little incident however, reminded me of something bigger, and far more damaging than one misunderstanding, a sort of boycott of the soul that many of us, creative misfits, face nearly every day. Something that I’ve experienced my entire life.
Throughout my creative journey, I’ve been repeatedly hurt by the sense of misunderstanding or rejection that the Grownup World of Serious Adults throws at the artists, the creatives, the rebels of the status quo, the highly sensitive, the soulful troublemakers, the inconvenient crazies and closeted geniuses among us…
… the looks of disapproval that the so-called safe and stable ones bestow upon the dreamers who choose to live beyond the norm by boldly and courageously honoring our truth, whatever this may look or feel or sound like, in each case — for trusting our WHY, and taking creative action on our WHAT, above all shoulds, woulds and coulds, this world imposes upon us, every single day.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
The slight embarrassment they — Matrix zombies — feel for your realness — as if your openness to life was a deadly virus they are too scared to catch, as if being covered in flesh and having fire in your heart, and burning burning burning, was such a terrible idea and we should all be cold reptilians deep down…
… the fear in their eyes as if your truth could bite. It makes me bark and bite, indeed.
Speaking your truth is terrifying, yes. Not speaking it, however, is a slow annihilation.
In the end, if you truly value yourself, you’ll choose the kind of discomfort that leads to more life.
Growing up, I’ve often felt like the inconvenient child, the one who just can’t shut up and go play, the one with troublesome imagination who asks too many questions her parents have to apologize to strangers for: “But doesn’t God love all his sinner children too? Why is he sending them to hell? I wouldn’t do that my dolls. They’re beautiful.”
Although I’m now a grownup woman, trying to embody my truth every day, and living a life my previous naysayers would envy, some of these scars remain.
These wounds were made too soon, too deeply and too often. And they reopen with each blow I get for trying to speak my truth, or when I’m censored and rejected for my inconvenient too-muchness, or when I’m ridiculed for trying to be whole in a world that only seems to want my broken pieces.
Furthermore, I see these latent wounds in others, and I just want to kindly punch whoever deepens them, not knowing any better, moved by fear, or by the pain of their own wounds.
And there, in the burning heart of paradox, it’s hard to tell if you are being loved or kicked by life.
It’s hard to separate yourself from your emotion and realize that the way a person, an institution or a whole society reacts to you is NOT because of YOU, but because of THEM.
We each are a sum of our OWN actions, we are what WE choose to do, think or tell, or live up to — not what others choose to do unto us.
I am NOT defined by your reaction, I am defined by MY action.
But by our hurt we hurt. And through our truth we heal.
You know what I tell children now?
That they have superpowers, that they are beautiful BECAUSE they’re special, that they are geniuses in training, that they are artists on a mission, that their dreams are real.
And every time I see how big their eyes can get just at the thought of being superheroes, I feel the child in me starting to heal.
So here’s a sort of no-apologies manifesto I started scribbling a while back about the conflict that living your truth without apologies causes in those who don’t believe in their own power.
Whatever this truth may feel, look or sound like for you, at any given moment, in this intense, beautiful Book of Life we’re co-creating, let it be. Living your real story is worth your every breath.
If you have also, at some point, felt the need to apologize for your weirdness or creativity, your craziness or sensitivity, for your unique ideas and beliefs, unrealistic goals and dreams, heart choices and desires — to a world that doesn’t get how you can be so profoundly affected by life in every dimension, please read/listen on…
Because when all is said and done, Art is our only chance to show what can’t be told and ink what we’re afraid to think, to face our demons and our angels, without letting either destroy us.
Click on the video to listen — and/or read it all in full below.
Don’t you find it odd or rather upside down when you are tempted to apologize for having a dream to the non-dreamers, a heart to the heartless, a vision to the blind, for trusting yourself to the doubters, for having faith to the soulless, for practicing compassion to the cruel, for your straightforwardness and honesty to the cowards and liars, for your childish nature to the deadly serious adults, for bleeding passion to the dead?
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Shouldn’t THEY apologize for giving up on their dreams, for silencing their soul, for agreeing with their fear, for settling for a life and a love that doesn’t bear their signature, for staying when they mean to leave, for leaving when they want to stay, for being too scared to trust, to dare, to invest enough heart, to create every day like they are fully alive and every fucking bit mattered?
Don’t apologize for being too much or for feeling things deeply, for wanting to change yourself, and then lives, and then maybe the world, through your gifts, dreams, ideas, as crazy, as mad, as impossible as they seem to those who cannot understand.
Apologize ONLY for the times you agree with your fear and want to give up.
The world needs more creative middle fingers and less polite I’m-sorry’s, more art and less apologies, more wild and less tame, more jumping from the highest cliff and less fear of falling or flying, more trusting your own gut and less bullshit excuses for living.
No! I am not sorry for dreaming, for believing again and again, like I’ve never been broken, for trying, for failing, for trying and winning, and failing and trying, again. For getting up eight times out of seven, not despite all my losses, but BECAUSE they each teach me to love myself harder.
I’m not sorry for wishing, for hoping, for knowing that the world can be touched, and then saved, through each person, each hour, each dream, and each word that comes out of our mouths.
I’m not sorry for my high sensitivity to the hurts, and the joy and the madness of life, for my idealistic realism, for the courage to stand up for myself and for others, with my heart in my mouth, with my gut in my head, with my knees, always shaking, a little.
I’m not sorry for the way I take wild leaps of faith, afraid of falling, oh yes, but even more afraid of not flying, because see, I’ve already lost everything I could lose, and found Me – the one I can’t lose.
I’m not sorry for being too much of myself and my power, for you.
Because less than too much of myself, is just not enough, it’s not worth it, for me.
I’m sorry for you, for your quiet, advanced desperation, that you’re blocking your own rush of blood to the heart, that you mistake your fear for common sense, your comfort for safety, your shallow existence for normal…
… that you will get to the end of your days without meaning a word, or walking your talk or facing your pain, without loving your life — HERE & NOW vs. settling for what doesn’t love you — THEN & LATER, without authoring your story, or learning to dance with your shadows, without being saved by your joy…
I’m sorry for letting YOU make me feel sorry.
And still, I am sorry I’ll pass way too soon, just like you, and this short human experience is too small to contain me, too brief to allow me to do all the good that I want, that I can, that I must.
But I will never, believe me, I’ll never be sorry for living.
O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life,
but exhaust the limits of the possible. — Pindar
Please, tell me in the comments, Time Traveler, what are you NOT sorry for?
Let us undo these lame apologies, keeping us hostages in someone else’s story, and then too tired and distracted, to author our own lives.
PPS: Upcoming Events. Come make creative trouble with Me?
Next LIVE Adventure: Join me in Bali this March 27-April 3, along with other soulful troublemakers from around the world for 7 Days of Art & Adventure, Writing & Yoga, Creative Troublemaking & Empowering Life Design! Only a few spots left. Read all about it on CreativeRehab.co/Bali and save your spot ASAP!
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