“STFU and just write!” ~ a homie for life
Words are integral to shaping our human experience.
Even the most confident people crave the experiences words offer. Words reinforce who we think we are, or who we are aspiring to be. Words impact us and can resonate with us at a deep level. They have the power to evoke change in us.
Bottom line? Our perceptions of ourselves are shaped by words.
Words have been a huge part of my life. I have always written poetry, and I appreciate and respect words and how they can be used for good. As a child, my dad was the one who spoke, so my words mostly stayed in my head. But, in my virtual world, I was the one who spoke.
But not so long ago, I lost my voice. I lost the power to share my words.
It was January 2015, and I had just returned from a trip to California. I was energized. I was rested. I was relaxed and full of ideas. I was fit and confident, and I was ready to set my goals and reach them. I was ready for my biggest year yet…
But the universe had other plans.
I was about to be challenged, and challenged good. I would face adversity head on. But, in choosing to face it, I would also need to weather a temporary loss of control, diminished confidence, a muddled sense of purpose, and a support system that was significantly altered.
My internal scaffolding would be stress-tested, my fortitude placed front and center, and my resilience defined.
But the single, most harrowing, tremor that would ripple my life would course a devastating trench through my greatest asset—my voice.
I had lost my way. I felt powerless. I had totally lost my voice—or so I thought. At the very least, I had lost the use of my words. Things became eerily quiet in my life. I was suddenly entrenched in silence, self doubt, and confusion.
It was my life’s first real test. And, it was time to really get to work.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” ~ Leonardo Di Vinci
But what now—how would I start talking again and why? What would I even say?
What I discovered in 2016, was that I hadn’t lost my voice at all—it was simply cracked. And through this crack emerged the first words of the man I would become. I was about to undergo a transformation that would change my voice forever.
And then, in the middle of my transformation, the voice I had heard my whole life up and left the earth. My father just, well…died. Pretty much out of nowhere.
Really, universe? What. The. F*ck. Else. Do. You. Have. In. Store. For. Me?
My father had a very active voice. I listened to him my entire childhood and much of my adulthood; he had the floor at all times. Was this the official passing of the torch? Maybe that’s what was going on here—it was my turn to talk?
So, I got back to the work…
Get through 2015 and become a warrior. Check.
Get through losing my father and accomplish a f*ck-load of goals. Check.
Make it to 2017 and set a f*ck-load of new goals. Check.
What now? What of my voice and these words I so coveted? Despite the work, my voice had not fully returned.
So, in August, 2017 I took a bold step toward finding my voice and applied to Elephant Journal Academy.
I connected this decision to an article an old friend sent me in January, 2015. At that time, I barely knew what Elephant Journal was.
The article reminded me of how I wrote and how I wanted to write. Even better, it was an article that spoke of a topic I very much wanted to write about: love.
I read the article and thought, “I can do that. This will be how I get my words back! But am I actually a writer?”
I was presented with amazing examples of the power of words during the Elephant Journal apprenticeship. There were many beautiful and supportive phrases offered to me by fellow apprentices. They were constant, consistent, and they helped shape me and my beliefs in my talents—and most importantly—myself.
These are some of the incredible words said to me by fellow apprentices that are:
delicious, divine, and delightful
“Your brilliant mind and loving heart are captivating. Your passion for life contagious.”
miraculous and motivating
“The way you grasp each idea and the whole world with all appendages inspires and delights, on the daily.”
glorious, genuine, and giving
“This is amazing and heartfelt and beautiful. You have an amazing gift. Do not stop. Keep writing.”
insightful and inspiring
“We are astounded by your guts and writerly prose.”
“You bring so much light and levity to all our lives.”
“You’re a beautiful, complex and loving human being.”
“Your creative mind and big heart are a wonder.“
“There is no one more earnest and caring. I see myself anew through you.”
All this about my writing talents, and from talented writers? I’m in. What will I write about? Because I also remember that:
Words can cause great devastation.
Words can distract us from what’s right.
Words can manipulate and shift us to wrong.
Words can outright demolish human beings.
Words can hate.
Words can be angry.
Words can hurt.
Words, in fact, can be evil.
What will I do with words? Not that. That’s not me. That’s someone else. You see:
Words inspire me. Words lift me up. Words fill me with dreams. Words give me confidence. Words make me happy! Words put me into an otherworldly mindset. Words find the deepest part of my soul and move me to tears of joy and love. Words catapult me to great heights. I listen carefully to the words of others, and I choose mine carefully. I take words to heart; especially from the people I trust. Words help me see more clearly who I am. Words make me feel sure of my skills and talents. Words simplify things for me. Words aid me in many ways. Words are beautiful.
Words simply are everything to me.
And this is how I will use words for you. Writing is creating. Creating is art. Art is love. And I am love.
You see, I found my voice. It’s new. I want to write. I think I’m a writer. F*ck that! I know I am. So, I’ll take my homie’s advice and shut the f*ck up, and just write!
Yeah, I will homie. I will.
Author: Bill Rugg
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen