I have been at a loss for words, and it’s not for lack of trying. I’ll begin to write, each time with new resolve, and quickly find myself unsatisfied with what fills the page. I could blame the setting, as I have before, but that feels cheap. I’m not living in the wild anymore, but the city has offered up plenty of opportunity to seek adventure. Still, I can’t write a damn thing that’s worth keeping. I’ve said this before, but now the sentiment comes with an answer. A brief word of warning; if you came here to read a tightly woven narrative, you may be disappointed in what follows.
I am a great performer. I don’t mean this in the traditional sense. I mean that I am very particular about the way in which I’m perceived. In subtle (and not so subtle) ways, I bend to meet the demands of my role. When I was with safari guests in Botswana, I played the host. When I was navigating a new workplace in Toronto, I played the professional. When I was sitting down with a date for the first time, I played cute. I would eventually ease into a level of comfort with the people I met, but I never revealed the rough edges too soon. Of course, we all do this. Life and work demands it of us. In truth, I was always being myself, just not all at once.
Thanks to some gentle nudging from the people who know me best, I am finally learning to let it go. I know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. I’ve even made a public declaration amongst friend to just. give. less. f*cks. Try as I might, the way I am received by others will not be moved by my efforts. Take it or leave it – all I can do is offer up something honest.
The thing is, words are far too easy to bend. I have always edited faster than I could write, smoothing the jagged edges before the lines were fully formed. This is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the process. I am proud of every entry and story I’ve shared here. It’s given me purpose, and reason to preserve the bits of my own history that I know I’ll return to for comfort and wisdom. I’ve been honest, but I’ve also omitted a great deal. I thought that if I wanted to be a writer, each passage needed to be free of roughness and error. Mostly, I wanted you to love it. I decided long ago that I needed to present my words in a very particular way, and as evidenced by my lack of activity here, I was stubborn as hell about it….until today.
By way of explanation, I want to address the rest of this entry to my sister, who is equal parts gentle and powerful in a way that those who have the privilege of knowing her will understand well.
Raphaela, I have never met another person who dreams as confidently as you. Just when I think I’ve figured out where the trajectory of your incredible existence is headed, you surprise me by throwing out the map altogether. You’ve never bent. You’ve never let fear or doubt stop you from becoming exactly the person you are meant to be. Through the simple act of living as you do, you’ve imparted a multitude of lessons, the latest of which brought me here this evening. I asked how it was that you could so freely change the course of your life and maintain faith in what would come to pass as a result. I suppose I thought that some choices were already set in stone, and were not likely to shift. Well, in classic Raph fashion, you laughed and told me “there is no land of stones.” It sounded slightly silly at the time, but I knew it was true. It was also a gift.
You see, I’d been quietly collecting stones of my own, each one a place I imagined my life would land. There was the “perfect” career, the “perfect” home, and even this “perfect” little blog. But under the weight of all these stones, I stopped taking risks. Then you reminded me that I was completely missing the point.
I’m not sure what that means for this blog. I am certain that I want to omit less. It won’t always be pretty. It might not be any good at all. Here is what I do know: when I promised my sister that I would keep writing, I meant it. In order to do that, I’m going to have to give less f*cks about how my words are received. Keeping this promise might mean that my sister is one of the only people who keeps reading, but no matter. That she, whose brilliance never ceases to astound me, continues to call me a writer, is enough.