Stay True to Your Own Voice. Don’t worry about needing to be liked, or what anybody else thinks. Keep your eyes on your own paper…”
I stumbled upon this quote the other day and had to get a few thoughts down on my own paper regarding this simple idea. So often, we say that we don’t care what people think, we don’t care if we are liked and we aren’t doing anything for validation. This may be true for many and I am one who testifies to such proclamations. What I am interested in exploring deeper though is; Are we allowing the thoughts and opinions of others to justify our voice and expression in this life? Are we being stopped by what others are doing, saying, or not saying?
I just re-entered the world of social media a few weeks ago. It is a tricky, yet stimulating venture and process. I removed myself from it many years ago for many reasons. Some of those reasons still apply today and new ones are appearing as I make attempts to express my art, my voice, and the way I see the world. I hear the negativity already and the opposing voices trying to stop me. The challenging part is remembering, at all times, to keep my eyes on my own paper. This is such an important reminder. Before I removed myself from the realm of what could have been inspiring and filled with possibilities, I was experiencing social media as bribed, contrived, and falsely perfect. I wanted to see what people were sharing, I wanted to hear their voices, and I wanted to connect. I wanted to see the good, the bad, and the truth.
Sadly, I saw athletes working so hard and doing their best every day, posting about their journey on social media, and I was so disappointed by the negative comments and hate they received. This didn’t just apply to athletes; it was universal. Lives were being portrayed in such a way that made me no longer want to witness or even participate. I felt insincerity. I felt that every angle was manufactured or manipulated. I would see people in real life and they would be fighting, being mean and disrespectful to one another but then they would post photos of that evening, claiming it was a perfect one with their perfect partner. I would see people yelling at their kids, bribing and threatening them to take the perfect picture with the perfect smile, and then when I saw that photo online, it felt so wrong. I didn’t see the truth or the beauty. I only saw the threat, the lie, the need to fabricate an image for others to scroll through as they experienced their own truths, good or bad. For many, especially young people, I witnessed more insecurity and comparisons to others’ “perfect” lives than ever.
I know this is life and I know it isn’t shocking. It is just my observation and something I ponder and defend often. The negative forces used to make me pull away, retreat to privacy, and write under another name so that I didn’t have to deal with the onslaught of personal attacks and judgment. It was easier to keep my eyes on the paper when I wasn’t writing as myself and didn’t have to debate the people who thought they knew better about what I should or shouldn’t express. For the past several years, these forces and time itself, have only given me thicker skin and more clarity.
There are people sharing truth and love and kindness. There are people sharing their work, their wisdom, and what inspires them in a day. There are people showing what they’ve overcome and how they get up each day, despite the hardships. I am interested in hearing your voices and I’m looking forward to finding the ones I’m meant to find along the way. I will listen and I will see you. Navigating through this life, with or without social platforms, takes a lot of work and willingness to learn and grow.
We each have a story to tell. We each have a lens through which we witness this life. We are each entitled to find our way and our purpose, and express it. Even those who choose to portray an image that isn’t quite true, it is their right to express themselves in any way they wish. Hopefully through the honest, authentic, mindful sharing out there, many will find the truth in their own voices. May we each find our way through all that attempts to discourage and stop us. What I have finally come to realize and embrace, is that I will not let the doubt or negative voices keep me from expressing my own.
My intention is to continue being completely present in my life, to my family and my purpose, whilst also sharing a bit of it with you. I do not wish to waste a moment of my day, in this precious time we are given, ever, so this is a conscious choice I will make. I am here to connect with deep and meaningful intention and purpose. I am not here to sell you anything. I am not here to portray an image of a perfect life. I have faced many challenges and obstacles along the way, as many of us have. I am here to show how I overcome and thrive, because of these challenges. I am here to share my voice, my art, and my vision in hopes to inspire you to believe you are capable of anything. I am here to show what unwavering, abundant love looks like. What being a mother looks like. What presence in the lives of my children looks like. I am here to show you the gratitude I feel in every flower, cloud, bird, or moment that passes as I capture it. I am here to be a testimony to what is possible, in the face of illness, grief, death, tragedy, trauma, and anything else that ever attempted to take me down. I am here to shine a light on my steadfast, inspiring, and extraordinary boys. I am not here to brag or show off. I am not here to ask for your approval or your acceptance. If you can take even a piece of what I am offering, and allow it to assist in your own growth or let it inspire you to take a step you didn’t believe you could take, then I am happy. It will be worth it to step out from the private life I have always chosen. An audience of one is enough.
I built this website for my children. Initially, it wasn’t meant to be seen by anyone else. I realize that many don’t take the time to stop and read anymore because the options for what one can scroll through in a moment are plentiful and replenished by the second. That is okay. What I share here is what burns brightly within and one day, when that flame dissipates, I don’t want this art of my soul to remain unseen, here on my computer or under the pen name that I’ve been writing under for so many years. This is my paper, my canvas, my expression, my HEART and it is my way of showing my boys their lives and mine, through my eyes.
May you continue to show up for your own purpose and keep your eyes and focus on your paper, your game, your race, and the path you are paving which was created especially and uniquely for YOU.
Give, Give, Give – What is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if we don’t give it away? Or having stories if we don’t tell them to others?