November 2, 2017

Why I don’t Want to Make my Mama Proud.

I’m staring at a blank Word document.

The cursor is blinking impatiently. This is my fifth attempt today to write this blog post. I know what I should write about, I just don’t want to. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do now.

“The only requirement to be a writer is the ability to remember every scar.” ~ Stephen King

Boy, have I been following that “rule” lately. I’ve been typing my poetry like crazy.

I’ve been writing detailed poems about all the things I wouldn’t want any of my relatives to read. I’ve been diving into that spot where fear, insecurity, and loneliness have made their homes to live.

The next step, naturally, is to let others read those writings. But so far, I haven’t had the courage to do that.

I did take a big step a couple of weeks ago, when I read one of my poems during an open poetry night in London. Before my turn, there had been extremely talented and confident and charismatic spoken word performers. I felt completely vulnerable, stripped down to the flesh. But I did it, for the first time ever. Luckily, the feedback I received was way beyond what I could have imagined, which gave me a little bit of confidence to carry on.

But what is stopping me to take the next step, to publish them, to let others read my words in their own time?

You know, the usual:

– What if I’m not good enough?

– What if what I write is stupid?

– What if my friends, family, and strangers will judge me?

– What if I fail and will never publish anything?

And those are just a few things off the top of my head.

Those are my scars, my insecurities. I’m afraid that I will have too many dreams, too many needs, too many…No, wait a second. Too many what for whom?

We are here to live our own lives, not anyone else’s. We are here to follow our crafts and those crazy dreams and hopefully (quoting freely Muhammad Ali here) be of service to others by doing so. We wouldn’t make any art if we filter what we do through our parents eyes.

So here’s my tip: Don’t make your mama proud. Make yourself proud. Whatever you need to do or say, whatever words you need to pour out. That is the start.

Whatever it is that you are dreading right now, afraid to do, afraid to say aloud, begin by writing it down. Let’s tackle those insecurities, make them a bit smaller, quieter.

Now, excuse me, I will keep my promise and continue working on those poems…


Author: Sara Kärpänen
Image: With the permission of Ariel Majtas
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Waylon Lewis


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