#nofilter: unapologetic authenticity and the creative process

Earlier today, this picture popped up on my Instagram feed:

Image from  Elephant Journal  Instagram account - click image for original post.

Image from Elephant Journal Instagram account - click image for original post.

It served as a powerful reminder. As I’ve been getting started on this journey of owning and running a website and blog, I keep catching myself getting caught up on putting exactly the right thing out there. Choosing the exact words, making sure there are no errors and no spaces for misinterpretation. I’ve been worrying about cultivating a specific image, a brand, an ideal. The result has been that I actually haven’t been posting much at all - and that bugs me.

I speak often about the power of vulnerability. I believe strongly that when we show up as our unapologetically authentic selves, we give others permission to do the same. I dream of a world where we all feel free and empowered to be exactly who we are without reservation or shame - a world where self-love, self-respect, and self-care are encouraged. Confidence doesn’t inspire shame. It inspires confidence. When I see someone who feels good about who they are and what they’re doing, it reminds me that it’s okay to feel good about who I am and what I’m doing too.

I consider myself creative. Maybe even an artist. As much as I love painting and drawing as a means of processing, my true medium is the word. That is what I feel called to share. I’m curious about the power of words, and I'm particular about their meaning. When it comes to my writing - be it blog posts, poetry, or music - I liken the creative process to water running from a faucet. When you turn the on the hose spigot outside the house for the first time in April, there’s sometimes some rusty water that comes - dirt and grime that have built up over the course of the winter while the pipe was dry. In order to get clean water, you have to let it run for a little while. You can even compare the creative process to physical fitness. In the fall when I transition from the cardio and flexibility training experiences of hiking, trail running, and yoga to the more strength-intensive dryland training before ski season, I usually have a week or two of jello-legs. At first, I feel weak.

When I walk away from writing for any length of time - for lack of motivation or for fear of how I’ll be received - coming back to it is a slow and somewhat painful process. My mental writing muscles are weak and the words that come are rusty, muddy, and awkward. I have to commit to trying and trying again as I get warmed back up to articulating my experience.

I share this with you to make a promise both to you and to myself. I will not hold back for fear. I will share my experience. I will show up unapologetically as my authentic self - regardless of whether or not I feel articulate. I feel no shame in my process, and neither should you. I am showing up with honesty, vulnerability, and transparency - #nofilter.