When I was in college, I had dreams of writing. Of interviewing. Of telling true stories. Of giving voice to issues and people who hadn’t yet found theirs. Of being a platform for the good, the fascinating, the transformative. Aside from dancing, I loved few things more than the art of putting together a story after recording conversations and poring through dozens of note cards. So, when I saw a class in Creative Nonfiction, I was delighted to register. But, it didn’t actually turn out as planned.
I started that Creative Nonfiction class with a TON of enthusiasm. The teacher was a well-known nonfiction "Writer" with a capital “W," and I thought, This is it. I’m going to learn so much. I’m going to soak up everything. This is my path. Our first writing assignment went well I received really great feedback on a story about a local business. For the second, more intensive writing assignment, we were to write about a fear we had, and how we’d worked or were working through it. This assignment would be reviewed and discussed by the class.
So, with some confidence and a lot of trepidation I started writing about my intense fear of public speaking (it’s true, you guys...I used to be terrified). I juxtaposed this fear to my comfort with being on a stage and expressing myself through dance. I was so comfortable there, but when it came time to use my actual voice...I panicked. I’ll save you all the details, but this piece of writing was really raw, really emotional for my 20 year old self. I felt brave for even completing it and was nervous to share, but how bad could it be?
Enter crushing disappointment and shame. After passing out my piece, I waited and waited while 15 sets of eyes read and took notes. Then, it was time for the feedback and the edits. You guys...they tore my hard work apart. Like to shreds. And, it hurt. So so much. Like if it could...that paper would’ve shed tears. I’m sure there was a positive statement during the review somewhere, but the exercise ended with the teacher saying, “You may never be a writer.” In front of the whole class. Ouch. For years, I stopped writing because I thought he was right. But, you know what. That man was wrong.
Why am I telling you this? Because if there is something YOU love, then who the hell cares what another person thinks? If you want to write, then write. If you want to paint, then paint. If you want to start a business, then start a business. If you’ve been told you can’t do something, then do it anyway. I’m not saying you have to make money doing what you do, but share your innermost talents with us. Pretty please.
As Danielle Laporte has shared, “True intimacy trumps technique.” And, I believe that everyday. Because as someone who was told I’d never write, there are over 800 readers following along with these letters every week and even more than that, writing these letters brings me an immense amount of joy. Since I let go of that story of "never," I’ve been on a few Editorial Boards. Heck, I’ve even won an award for my writing. So, do what you love. Let it come from your heart. Forget the haters. Put your soul out there because others are craving to experience it, too. And, then tell me...has something like this ever happened to you?
P.S. If you love following these letters as much as I love sharing them with you, would you forward to a friend who might enjoy them, too? I love connecting with readers near and far, bonding over how yoga is changing and touching lives all over, and teaching that we are enough just as we are, right in this moment. <3 If you haven’t yet, please sign up to receive these letters here.