I posted a piece a few weeks ago, a letter to my 25-year-old self. I got some very positive feedback from people. The only person I didn’t receive positive feedback from was me.
It took me several weeks before I could bring myself to hit the “post” button.
“Who cares about your 25-year-old self?” A voice said.
“No one will be interested,” another voice said.
“There are so many more important things going on in the world right now,” chimed in a third voice.
All of these voices live in my head, of course.
I thought about posting the piece several times, but I didn’t. Then I thought about posting it but not sharing it on social media; that way no one would see it, and therefore wouldn’t notice that it sucked.
But then I heard a story on NPR about a poet. He read his poem out loud, a deceptively simple poem, and then told the interviewer that the poem reflected his thought process and explained it with simplicity. I was enchanted and inspired.
“That’s just what I’m trying to do with my writing,” I thought.
So I decided to go ahead and post the blog. The Voices of Doubt tried to chime in, but I silenced them.
“Who are you!?” I shouted at them, “And why do you think my work is not worthy of sharing?”
The voices skittered away into the shadows. I pulled up my story, read through it, made a few edits and posted it. Soon after, I gathered up courage and posted it on my Facebook page.
The Voices of Doubt crept back into my brain.
“You could have talked more about this and it would have been a better piece,” one whispered.
“Why did you mention that particular event and not another one? This is crap,” another asked.
“It could have been so much better,” the third voice admonished.
I’m working hard not to listen to them.
I don’t know how these voices became lodged in my psyche. I have no recollection of welcoming them in, or of a particular time or incident where someone said any of these things to me. Although at times in my life I have felt silenced, and my nightmares often revolve around having no voice, the origins of these feelings remain obscure. I’m working on fighting them, but they remain strong.
Frankly, the voices doubt that you will ever read this, which speaks to the vulnerability I feel every time I put myself out there. But. I will not cave in to their demands. They will not silence me.
Which is exactly why I will brush the Voices of Doubt from my hair and post this: My words, my voice.