In Story Sessions this week, we were asked what this quote evokes in us. I’ve been mulling it over and finding that, well, it makes me squirm a little. Because I want it to be an elegant process – finding my voice and revealing my soul and reveling in my blessed weirdness.
Does anyone remember the 90s remake of Sabrina – the one with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond? Do you remember how Sabrina goes off to Paris, all frumpy and awkward and unsure of herself? And her mentor there tells her how she was the same when she arrived in Paris. But then the mentor says: “I went for long walks, I drank coffee, I wrote in a journal and I met myself in Paris.”
That’s how I picture the process of finding my voice. I just want to meet myself in Paris. (Insert dramatic sigh.)
If only. But back to reality.
It is ruthless – the process of writing and re-writing your words, peeling back the layers of trying to impress someone or sound like someone or not offend someone until nothing is left but your heart, laid bare.
It is relentless – the swirling of thoughts and ideas and stories in your bones, begging to be let out, while other voices are busy telling your mind no one is actually interested in what you have to say anyway.
It is inevitable – the fire shut up in your bones that has to come out one way or another, so you might as well write and write and write.
But where I am floored is in considering the process of finding my voice necessary for personal and collective survival. I get it personally. I mean, it’s fire shut up in my bones, so it’s a matter of letting it out or burning up slowly from the inside.
But to be necessary for collective survival?
Accepting that someone, maybe several someones out there need, actually need my voice? And perhaps a step further? They need to see me engage the messy process of unleashing my blessed weirdness?
Yes. It’s true. It’s true for me and it’s true for you. Your voice could sound like a million things besides writing, but whatever the sound, the world needs it. Maybe not literally the entire world (maybe so). But someone, most likely several someones out there, need what only we can uniquely say. And when we engage the process, it infuses others with courage to shake off the dazed slumber and find what their hearts are saying too.
We are all that critical. Embrace it.