Wednesday, September 08, 2010

In The Shadow

Someone recently commented that I don't hesitate to "put it all out there." It was in reference to the blog. I guess I think that's one the best compliments I could imagine receiving. I assume that anyone who has ever been forced to live in the murkiness of not quite telling the whole truth would understand why I take those words to heart and they made me smile so broadly.

However, I also know that there's a fine line between being honest and forthcoming about yourself and vomiting your personal junk all over people, all the time. And I don't want this space to be my personal vomitorium.

No doubt there are some for whom reading this space is a bit tiresome. {Here she goes again, whining about _________. Insert your tired theme of choice: family, hurt, God, religion, whatever.} In my defense, every time I write about some tired old theme it doesn't necessarily mean I'm reliving it. It just means it has crossed my path again and I recognize it for what it is.

I've recently begun reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. While I balk at applying the title of artist to myself, I do believe that I am a creative being and that engaging in creativity makes me a more whole and a happier person. One of the principles that she spends a good deal of time talking about is the concept of a shadow artist. It's that person who knows deep down they have something creative to give, but their gift remains hidden because someone has told them that they aren't very good or they refuse to try because they are afraid of failure.

That concept speaks to me.

Personally, I think many of us have a shadow person living with us – kind of the opposite of the shadow artist. The shadow person is who we trot out whenever we are too afraid to reveal our true selves. It's the one that we hide behind when things feel a bit too personal or something overly difficult is asked of us. The shadow person doesn't really exist. It's just a projection we put out there to keep the truth at bay.

I know that I can get very comfortable living with and in that shadow. But, somewhere along the line – I don't really know how or why – but I just got tired of her.

Now I try and trot out the "real" me and hope that I don't get too tiresome or annoying.

Last week, after writing about my feelings about winning a blue ribbon at the fair, the post gave birth to an interesting conversation with a friend about the difficulties in coming out to your religiously fundamentalist family. The person I talked with is out to everyone but her family. My choices are not the right choices for her. And that's the way it should be. There is no one size fits all approach to living. We just do the best with what we have.

That same post probably elicited a few groans in those who read it as they thought to themselves, "Here we go again. . ." So be it. I just want to tell the truth and pray, that in the process, someone else realizes that they are not alone.

The key, for me, is simply not to let the shadows win.


Ami said...

I just figure that people don't need to read if they don't like the story.

And that I should say whatever I want on my blog.

I suppose those same rules could apply to you...

random thougths said...

'vomiting your personal junk all over people' is exactly why I haven't written for awhile. coming out of the shadows emotionally, I realized just how much personal junk I have allowed to accumulate, and sometimes the only place I feel safe to say them is a blog... Scarey thought that the same blog is open to the world, as I still try to project another