I’ve been selfish.
Because I’m afraid of sharing.
My thoughts. My words. My art, and my ideas. The things I think about when I’m staring into space, and the places I go to when here becomes too much. The way I see the world. What frightens and what inspires. What motivates and captivates, angers me and irritates.
It’s not that I don’t like you.
It’s that breaking a silence so loud that its ringing cuts through me, opening my mind and letting its contents fly free and exposing my heart to a world that isn’t nice…is…terrifying.
I recognize, however, that in not doing so I am being shamefully hoggish.
You see, I have a problem.
It has served me well from time to time, no doubt. But in my line of work, my life and my relationships…my perfectionism has only held me back.
To break through that brick wall of imaginary terror has been my biggest challenge. To speak my mind. To show my work. Not just even, but perhaps especially when I haven’t yet picked it apart, turned it around, tucked it in and ironed it out.
But in those moments of paralyzing fear, when it feels as if I have nothing of interest to say and nothing of value to contribute, I think back to one of the most influential moments of my still-budding career.
It was my first real copywriting assignment, and my ache for approval was palpable. Looking back, the amount of pressure I put on myself and the painstaking over-analysis that went into a first round attempt at impeccability was…ridiculous.
I literally lost sleep at night tossing and turning over whether or not I could play the part. Everything had to be right. So much so in fact, that it was wrong.
So when I sat down to go over my work with my creative director, she looked at me and said,
sometimes you just have to show your ugly.”
Prim and proper may be polite, but they sure are dull and boring. Sometimes the good stuff — in life, as in creativity — is in the ugly. That raw, authentic, impulsive, real, flawed, uncensored, jacked-up, dirty, no-good, wrinkly, rotten imperfection.
It takes a lot of courage to go out there and radiate your essence.*
Indeed it does. But I must admit that life’s a lot more fun when you do.
*I can’t take credit for this. I got it from a Baths song. It’s called “Maximalist”. You should listen to it. It’s sweet.