On making and breaking new promises

sunflower

flickr.com/tamburix

I wrote a post on Thursday afternoon – still in pain, hopped up on meds and possibly not in the right frame of mind to be sending thoughts out into the world – that turned out to be one of the most honest pieces of writing I have done in years.

I used to carry around a diary in high school – I started it when I moved to Botswana and wrote in it until I finished Matric. Then I started at Rhodes and… well, you know what the first few months at university are like.

I’ve started and stopped journals since then – and I’ve lost the drive for it. But in a painkiller-induced haze on Thursday, the words suddenly started pouring out onto the page. Thankfully reason kicked in – only after I’d hit “Publish”, of course – and I sent it to a dear friend. We chatted for a while and he suggested I take it down, mark it as “private”. His concerns were, of course, that people – potential employers, in particular – might read it. He described me as “naked” in the post – but added that it’s “a good thing for you to communicate with you. You are such a great wordsmith that writing things down seems to be the best way for Candi to talk to Candi.”

He was right. Of course he was. For the first time in a long time I’d allowed myself to be completely open – but, as always, the fear of the consequences kicked in. It’s amazing how rigorously we self-censor – afraid of what people might think; how they might respond; how that one moment could dictate their perception of you in the long-haul. Even more amazing is how we let others dictate the way we look at and communicate with ourselves.

We’re overly critical. We feel victimised. We wallow in self-pity. We think what we’re doing is no big deal. We think we’re hot shit. Whatever the emotion, it’s somehow narrated in a voice that’s not one’s own. Maybe that inner voice sounds like your dad. A lecturer. An ex. A counsellor. Just one mean colleague. That cool new girl you met at school.  We allow those perceptions to form us, in varying degrees of course. How often do we truly, truly allow ourselves to be naked?

Yes, somethings are better marked “Private”. Some struggles are better left unpublished. Some memories are better off buried.

Where to from here? Back on the horse. One day, when I publish my memoirs, I may lead with that hidden post. Until then, I will reread it and remember that I’ll never go back.

* The one thing I did keep from the previous post was the sunflower. I went to a lot of trouble to find the right damn flower.

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