I don’t think there is an instance when I feel more brave than when I’m writing. It’s quite a juxtaposition as it’s also the place I am most exposed. I wonder if there is some sort of divine intention to that? Perhaps. Yet, I have found that whenever I choose to use my voice, it requires insurmountable courage.
Speaking up is no simple thing. In fact, it can be the most costly thing, as there is a price tag attached to our words. I’ve spoken things that have cost me a great deal — whether it was lashing out, or confrontational truths, or careless words — they all keep a running tab in the hearts of the hearer.
Having said that, I’m still convinced that I’m my truest self when my mouth is open, inhaling the complexities into me, then exhaling a living narrative. If I am not a voice, what am I? If I’m not meant to inquire and declare, what do I do? If I can’t sing out, I’ll surely die inside. I cannot fathom my life apart from these means. So, I suppose I’ll take the risk that comes with being utterly true and entirely me, because it is more costly to not.
And how about the audacity to be unapologetically whom you were meant to be? Do you believe the world needs you to be whom you were fearfully and wonderfully designed to be, more than what it thinks you should be? Can you imagine the freedom to become, much like the Velveteen Rabbit?
Consider now, the realest you, no matter if slapdash or falling apart. The storyline suggests that the journey to becoming real consists of growing more rag-tagged and used up — seemingly. But it begs us to consider what it truly means to become authentically alive. Perhaps all these nose-dive risks and skinned knees simply qualify us. And what measure of fortitude is required to believe against all odds, that all of this wear is worth it, to be truly truly real?
I feel this dynamic translates uniquely for artists, as they are intended to be vessels: used up like paint, and notes, and every other medium. Then, to display the innermost dealings and feelings before all. Could this be any more courageously transparent: playing melodies birthed from pain and pleasure; brushing canvases with colors that run through their veins; reciting prose that tells of heaven, and hell, and the travels in between?
It’s mad valor to show another what’s inside. Gruesome or lovely: it doesn’t matter, long as it’s authentically you.
It’s settled: I’m bravest right here and right now.