For you, a thousand times over…
I was always the one to bottle up my feelings. In fact I became so good at hiding all emotions that belonged to me, that I had myself convinced of what I thought to be true, rather than what I felt to be true.
I know I’m not the only one. More often than not, we all hide our true feelings for reasons more than one. Maybe it’s fear of rejection, or maybe that of hurting those we love, or (and I believe this is possibly the most common) because we don’t think we are deserving. I know all of the above have been true in my case.
It’s not that I’ve never written on this subject before, but this is my first attempt, maybe brave maybe foolish, to unfold these thoughts, not within the pages of my notebook, but into the larger world.
Feeling vulnerable? Maybe I am.
What has given me the courage to write about this today is a couple of different things.
I had gone for the Writer’s Studio 30th Anniversary event at the Strand Bookstore. Just being amidst so many talented writers, hearing them read excerpts of their created works so fervently, it aroused a feeling of belonging within me, a commitment to writing, to words. When Monica Banks, wife of Philip Schultz, the founder of Writer’s Studio, took over the dais to speak about what it meant to be there 30 years later, she couldn’t conceal her emotions, and the quiver in her voice brought forth not just her vulnerability, but her immense passion, leaving no one in that room untouched.
As each writer spoke or read out pieces they had worked on, two things became very clear to me – their love for words was above all, and maybe, just maybe, the only thing above it, was their love for this community and its founder. The last two speakers wrote a humorous ode for Philip Schultz, and even though I had never heard of any of them before, I felt the exact same emotion as everyone in that room. As everyone laughed together at what were obviously insider jokes, for those who knew what it was to be a part of the Writer’s Studio, for those who knew Philip Schultz, I laughed as though I was a part of it all too. And all I could think was, words can create the most powerful connections, the most powerful emotions. Here I was in a room full of strangers, all of us bonding over common desires, to solve the mysteries of our lives, through our love for words.
Just moments before the event, I was browsing through the bookstore. Placed on the table was a stack of books, simply the sight of which brought back a flood of feelings. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Immediately purchasing it, I rushed to the coffee shop across the street to start reading it, a third time over, diving into a sea of feelings, a third time over.
It is a personal favorite, not only for the brilliance of the writing or the writer or the story, but for it’s ability to evoke such deep, unbridled, emotions from within me. I had first read it 6 years ago, at a time when I had taught myself not to feel anything, or at least not to show that I feel anything. And even then, I remember the intensity of feelings I had felt, the tears that I shed, which in some way relieved me from the burdens I had taken on, by burying all sense of emotion, somewhere deep within me.
I’ve come a long way since then, from self denial to self awareness. My journey of self awareness began under the influence of GaryVee, he remains my North Star for the sole reason, that because I could relate to his words, I could embrace my true self. And because a large part of being my true self is my expression through words, that also means I have to embrace my vulnerability.
And since I have decided to write on this subject, I owe it to him, someone I haven’t written about so far, but who’s influence is seen in my writing, well actually not just my writing, my entire life – Michael McCutcheon. It is because of him, and him only, that I have learned to love myself. It is because of him that I am not afraid of feelings, I’m actually more aware of them. The vulnerability that I once ran away from, today that itself is my authenticity. I have learned to own my strengths, but also my weaknesses, and more importantly I have learned from him that I’m never going to be perfect, but that I can be completely true. I can live in unpredictability and yet be comfortable in chaos, because what the truth is now, is true for now. I know that it is my responsibility to choose my way of life, of thought, I know that I am important, that I have value, and that, I have a purpose.
Today I am committed to my vision, my purpose, and to myself – and for that I am willing to do whatever it takes, a thousand times over.
So when I ask myself, “Who would it be? Who would it be that I would be willing to do it all?”, the answer, in my mind, is clear – all of them, everyone, everything, that has given me this purpose – for you, a thousand times over…