The Audacity of Sharing
“Resistance” is an increasingly popular term used in personal development teachings. It most often refers to the obstacles one feels to creating and making. It’s the central subject of Elizabeth Gilbert’s creativity manifesto Big Magic and Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. The “imposter complex/syndrome” discussion also addresses the problem of creative resistance by identifying the ways in which we don’t feel entitled to create and benefit from our work. I’ve been feeling this real hard lately, especially as I’ve prepared to launch this blog.
I finally nailed down the voice of this resistance as well as its message: “Who the hell are you to start a blog about personal development when 1) you’re not a trained writer and 2) you’re on this journey yourself and you are not an expert?” That nasty little voice is also telling me that not only am I not a writer, but perhaps my writing is actually very terrible. Also, the way I cover these topics may sound self-indulgent; and scarier yet, I might do real harm to folks by making recommendations I’m in the process of applying myself.
It’s pretty audacious of me, a young(-ish) person with significant privilege, to attempt to hold space for others in so self-serving a setting as a personal blog. Who the hell am I to preach self-liberation when I myself too often play doormat--and when I have privilege and support systems for recovering when I’m treated as such? Just who the hell am I?
Have I just been listening to too many too-self-assured, financially secure "prophets" of creative living (many of whom, somewhat irritatingly refer to themselves as “solo-preneurs”) promoting these topics? And am I merely absorbing (uncritically) and regurgitating their messages?
Interestingly, the person I imagine embodying this snarky internal critic is, in many ways, the opposite of my target audience. I envision a Boomer-aged or Gen-X cis-het white dude (but sometimes a lady, you know, the Cool Girl type) who works for some publication like Slate, the Atlantic, or Washington Post...or somewhere where the word “millennial” is used with simultaneous ubiquity and disdain. Someone with educational credentials from an elite university who was taught how to properly share their ideas with the world, and with their normative expertise are in the best position to critique my humble efforts. I also shrivel with terror at the thought of Roxanne Gay, my idol du jour, rolling her (perfect) eyes at what I’m sharing.
My hope is that by processing these personal development and self-care ideas through the lenses of my very real marginalizations, that the lessons can be more applicable to poor women, people of color, and queer folks since most of the teachers I’m following do not exist at these intersections. I have no idea if I will succeed. I have no idea if I will do any harm. All I know for sure is that this blog has been clawing at me from the inside. I know that these learnings have improved my life in very real ways and that I’m excited to see where they’ll take me next.
I also know that when I don’t create, I wilt and my world goes gray. This blog, and likewise my developing art portfolio, are therefore 100% selfish pursuits. I have to accept this fact and simply hope that my audacity to share has some positive impact on someone somewhere. I have to try. Even if I suck.
What about y’all? Do you have experience with creative resistance? Do you have some thoughts for my rude AF inner critic? Do you also loathe made-up MBA-jargon words? Let me know in the comments below!