I lead the Tuesday night workshop at The Resiliency Center in Flourtown, PA. Every month, one member of the Center coordinates and chooses a theme for the publication of the monthly newsletter. This is a re-publishing of my essay, which I drafted during the Tuesday Night Writers’ Workshop. Thank you to everyone who offered their feedback and helped me write this.
Acceptance and The Writing Process
When I chose July’s newsletter theme, I thought I knew what I wanted to say. Now that I’m actually trying to write it, I feel lost.
There’s a voice inside me saying, “You should brainstorm, just write a list of all of the reasons you wanted to write about acceptance; you should mind map or make a vision board; you should at least write an outline.” But how can I write an outline when there’s so much I could say? And who is this bossy person calling me “You”?
The Inner Critic Has Risen!
Acceptance. Okay, I’m going to practice it right now. I’m the Director of the Philadelphia Writers’ Workshop and I’m struggling to write a few paragraphs about acceptance. I’ll just sit with this struggle and be compassionate with myself. This is part of the writing process, part of any process. But there’s that girl nagging, “But you’re the Director of the Philadelphia Writers’ Workshop. You of all people should be able to write a cogent article.”
Thanks, But I’ll Take It From Here
That voice isn’t nearly as loud or shrill as she used to be. After years of helpful therapy, I worked with a life coach who helped me have a direct conversation with that mean, bossy girl barraging me with an endless list of shoulds I would never be able to accomplish. I thanked her for her concern, for her attempts to save me from exposing my shortcoming and faults. I told her I wouldn’t be hiding until I was perfect anymore: it was time for me to move on, to open up to the world around me and embrace myself as I am.
Like I said, that voice is still there. She’s worried I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t write an article “worthy” of me. “What will people think?” she’s saying. So I tell her this is what acceptance looks like: letting go of what other people think, daring to make myself vulnerable and embracing my imperfections. Acceptance isn’t organized—no amount of outlining or mind mapping will remove the bumps and potholes from the path to reaching it, but it is scenic. As I take in the variety of vistas, my love for myself and others grows.
Oh, dang, there she goes again! “You should be writing the perfect article!” Chill girl, I’m sure whatever I write will be good enough.