Why are we so scared? No, really. Why do we have this thing holding us back, this little voice saying “Nope, step back. Who do you think you are?” In fact, who does that voice think IT is?
I’ve written a bit about the ego, and that is exactly what that voice is, fuelled by its old friend and bedfellow, Fear.
I went for an interview last week, and had an inspiring chat with two of the other interviewees. This very discussion came up, and we relayed our relationships with fear. We were all unhappily devoted to him/her (because I’m not falling into the trap of personifying a feeling or object with gender, thank you very much). It boiled down to a recurring narrative – that voice again – of “I’m not good enough”. We concluded, however, that the job interview in itself was a way of taking a risk, and leaping over the edge.
We may never be the next big thing – the next Oprah, Mandela or Beyoncé – but that’s exactly the point. To delve into a bit of cliché here, your uniqueness is what makes you special. Pretty obvious point, but I bet you never considered that Oprah, Mandela and Beyoncé had people who they thought were much bigger than them to contend with, and thought they could never live up to.
I started this blog last year (2012) as a requirement for a module of my Master’s course, called Digital Cultures.
The title of this post was initially “How to be a writer”, which felt a little too esoteric, considering that to many people, I am not a writer. To me, a writer writes, and that’s what I do. So, in your face, naysayers. But it felt more important to share a story than tell you how to be a writer. On that, it’s simple: once you affirm what you want to be, you are it. “I am a writer” Boom, and it’s done. Now you step in and do the work and voila, vision completed. I am, of course, leaving out the many, many mini steps in between (also known as hard work), but you get my point.
So after the 6 month course was over, I realised that I really enjoyed putting out a message. Now that I am approaching the second year of blogging, I’ve realised the value of sharing. You see, even if I discontinue this blog and never write again, it will be on the internet for all to see. I kept it up as a way of having a portfolio of work for employers, but now it is so much more. I keep at it in the hope of someone stumbling across it and, like my regular readers, will find something in the archives that they think it is funny, insightful, and clever or pretty. Or even better, that they find stupid or ugly and use to make their own art better. I’m ok with that too.
If you’re not stirred to anger or passion by something that you don’t like in the interest of making your own life better, then you have probably stopped living. NEVER STOP LIVING.
During key moments, when I felt like giving up, I ignored the fear and jumped. If you’ve been teetering on the edge of greatness for a long time, and you’re reading this, then I’m sorry, my friend and faithful reader, but it’s too late. You’ve already read too far and these words have already served as the seed which now lies in your consciousness. It’s time to stop teetering, and the time to jump is now. You’re welcome.
My first foray into writing, when I knew that maybe I could do this, was in school when, in English class, we were given an assignment based on Buckingham Palace by Richard Rive. If you have not read it, I suggest you do so. It is one of the few books that had me bawling, although that could have just been teenage hormones. The assignment was divided into sections, so not the traditional essay. Keywords: NOT TRADITIONAL. I was sold. This would be my first experiment with playing with voices in writing, and it paid off. I got 80% and my classmates actually found me funny. This was not the usual class clown antics, but rather my way of taking what I had observed, transcribed, within the framework of the novel and also in the Cape Coloured dialect. I was commended, and I was validated.
Since then, I’ve had to really toughen my skin (not an easy feat for a lover of lotion) and creative writing classes have especially helped in this regard. I am impervious to trolls. I have also continued to receive compliments regarding my writing and hope to use it to keep speaking truth to power, entertaining and hopefully informing and enlightening.
Oh, and guess what… I got the job! Take that, Fear!
<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>