Edward Hopper, Morning Sun, 1952
“Most people live their entire lives with their clothes on, and even if they wanted to, couldn’t take them off. Then there are those who cannot put them on. They are the ones who live their lives not just as people but as examples of people. They are destined to expose every part of themselves, so the rest of us can know what it means to be human.” – Sheila Heti
Allow me to introduce you to the inner workings of my own neurotic head:
**Endless to-do lists. Planning all the things I want to do and all the things I need to do, which makes all the things I never do all the more real. Writing every day, terribly, is better than writing one singular outstanding work. Even though I know this, I remain paralysed by my own self-proclaimed shortcomings. Fear of judgement, from others, but mostly from myself. The weight of it all becomes debilitating. I want to stay in bed, or watch mindless TV. But then, I remind myself that doing something and failing enormously is far more satisfying than doing nothing at all. After all, a spectacular failure is proof of a life well-explored. It’s proof of living and trying and risking, and ultimately creates a more beautiful story than no story at all.**
Sometimes I give myself these reality checks, or pep talks, when I feel the Fear coming on. For me, it’s like the plague. It starts with only one tiny blemish, before contaminating my entire world. And under the weight of its influence, i feel unbearably stuck. I start reaching for safety, for comfort. The safe choices. And on the outside, I’m safe, but really, I’m empty.
Taking risks is important. Stepping outside my comfort zone is important. Putting myself out there. Inviting a new friend for a drink. Pitching my work to be published. Turning off the TV to write this god damn blog post. Being bold and standing for myself and who I am. Living with conviction.
Something that’s always helped is reading or listening to empowering stories told by others. Or watching my friends take creative leaps of faith, and supporting them wholeheartedly. Hearing those incredible stories by women owning their shit and doing their thing. I am so grateful to the many bloggers, writers and podcasters whose personal stories fill me up. In their honesty and nakedness, I am able to become a little more braver. And want to live a little more nakedly, too.
And so, in the spirit of nudity, i thank all of these women of the internet writing candidly about their thoughts, ideas, battles and experiences for exposing every part of themselves, so that we can know what it means to be human.
Until next time, I leave you with a one of these bloggers to discover:
when i landed upon stevie mckenzie’s personal blog, discotheque confusion, it was like a hug from an old mate. her writings on culture, women, art, fashion and self are skewed slightly on the self-deprecating side and full of honesty and goodness.
“Feeling oneself isn’t a constant, unchanging state of mind. It’s really fragile, and it’s easy to distinctly not feel yourself. This month I’ve had emotionally wobbly moments, and have really not been feeling myself. So much of the time that comes down to treating yourself with a merciless judgement you wouldn’t wish for anyone you care about to be under. So it seems sort of incredible to be able to veer so far from one direction from the other. Taking stock, and having moments of striding down the street, mentally dusting off your shoulders like I’ve got this, has gone some way to alleviating those feelings for me. It has also affirmed the importance of ‘Feeling Myself’ as being an act that takes place online, as well as in public IRL. It feels even more important to keep posting selfies beyond teenage years if it helps to undo a concern that these photographs symbolise a frivolity rather than the hefty whack of a flagpole going into an earthy mound, and a declaration of Feeling Myself unfurling in the breeze as bugles play into the intro of Run The World (Girls). On a Monday morning.”