Supporting an authentic voice

by tamarjacobson

This year I regret not having written a "count down to Thanksgiving" as I have done in past years. In fact, I realize that the last time I wrote anything on this blog is well over a month ago. How strange that the writer's workshop I attended last month has rendered me speechless. I guess so much poured out of me during the week at Villa Lina, that I have dried up. Or, on the other hand, am I in shock? After all, I learned so much about writing and me while I was there, perhaps I am simply processing the experience. 

Self expression is tricky indeed. I find my voice, or discover self expression through writing, while, at the same time monitoring myself. It seems there is always some kind of gate keeper sitting on my shoulder watching over what I say, even when I journal in private. I am never sure what it is I really feel until I plough through different versions of me. For my self was formed so many years ago, and depended on beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of significant adults in my life from way back then.

Prompts that Natalie Goldberg gave us for writing exercises helped me find my voice, at times startling me at how authentic I was. I realize as I write this now, that it was surely because of the support I received from the instructor, as well as the small group I worked with each day. Indeed, support is essential for me. Me, who always prided herself in going it alone – who avenged herself by never needing anyone. Am I surprised? Actually, I am relieved to discover that I am "stuck here being human," as my therapist suggested to me recently. In a way I have had a kind of revelation about writer's block. For, I cannot write if I am not being authentic or true to my feelings and the core of my self. I am most prolific when I shed my ancient gatekeepers, who peek over my shoulder censoring what I write.

Going forward, I think I will prop myself up with support – reach out for those, who support and encourage, and keep away from those, who pull me down. Even as I know they don't mean to drag me with them into their insecurities or competitions they are waging with themselves, I find myself drowning as if to bolster them through my pain or feelings of insignificance.

Indeed, I have found much encouragement along the way already – all throughout my life. So, as much as I prided myself for being able to "go it alone," I must have been reaching out all the while without acknowledging the need. And in these days following Thanksgiving, I am really grateful to the people, who blew wind into my wings, and so many times gave me the support I yearned for. 

Lately, though, I sense an unusual stirring within, because I find myself thankful for my own persistence and courage in confronting my discomfort over and over again, as I struggled with lack of confidence, and, often, terror and guilt at acknowledging my accomplishments.

And, yes. I am going to keep on keeping on …

A year ago at Mining NuggetsSense of self -part II

Seven years ago at TamarikaGiving thanks (update)