I was recently going through a box of old papers, trying to find something top secret that I might tell you about one day in a galaxy far, far way…
Anyways, while digging around I found a letter written by me to my future self. I think I vaguely remember writing it but, who knows, I could just be making up the memory to appease myself. Regardless, here was this two page letter and it was… disappointing.
I say that because I could tell that my past self was clearly trying to impress my future self with big words and droning sentences meant to come off as intellectual, groundbreaking awesomeness. So instead of enjoying the letter, I felt more like rolling my eyes in mortification that I could be so pretentious – even with myself!
I much rather have enjoyed a random rant about life or how everything was going that day or any number of things that wasn’t meant to be philosophical garbage. In fact, I felt like most of what I had written was just a bunch of crap wrapped in fluffy verbiage. Instead of leaving me with a sense of pride, as I’m assuming my past self was hoping I’d glean from the letter, I felt somewhat humiliated by my own ego.
The only saving grace was that I knew that I was just trying to impress myself – no one else. Which means that the only person who was disappointed by the letter was me. This really struck because we’ve all heard, time and again, that no matter how little your confidence is, you should never try to be something you’re not. It’s an obvious and basic lesson that everyone has been told countless times throughout their life. But today it hit me dead-on, front and center.
As a writer, I have always loved telling stories but it wasn’t until I went to college that I became self-conscious of the things I’d jot down. Ever since, I seem to second-guess my writing at every turn or whether or not I should pursue a certain story idea because other people may or may not think it’s good. In fact, there’s one idea that I’ve loved for a while but every time I tell someone about it, they give me a lackluster or iffy meh-type of response.
I doubt I need to describe how discouraging this has been.
But today I realized something crazy important – I want to hear what I have to say and not what I think other people want me to say. If I had written what I had really wanted to a year ago, then maybe my future (AKA present) self would be smiling instead of typing madly away on her computer, venting into some unknown blogosphere. But I didn’t and instead I’m left wanting more.
I’m left knowing that I could have written something so much better.
So from here on out, I’m only going to write what I want to write. Forget trying to impress friends, family, future followers or even myself. I don’t care if my words impress anyone. And I know that’s a hill that will be hard to climb, but still…
A year from now, I want to read a story that I wrote because I wanted to get out my inner truth – not because I wanted to impress anyone with my ability to write.
And if the future me has any problems with that, then I guess I’ll just have to lower my own standards.