I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading a lot of coming of age stories and poetry centred around identity as a way of finding things I can concretely identify with and to be honest it has fallen flat most of the time. Now looking back on it I see the irony of looking for myself in something someone else wrote. I guess I was hoping for something to jump out at me and present itself so that I can point and say, “Yeah that’s me!” And sometimes I’ll halfheartedly agree with what’s written on the page, but most of the time I just admire the way the words are strung together. In some ways the language or message of the prose or poetry do strike a chord, but they don’t resonate with me in the ways that I have been looking for. So I’ve taken to writing my own stuff again as way of revealing myself to myself first and to others second. I’ve always enjoyed the act of writing. It’s always been a cathartic and honest experience when I did take the time to do it. I’d have spurts of absolute inspiration usually when I was feeling extremely angry or sad, but most the time I was satisfied reading things other people wrote. However, now writing has almost become a necessary experience especially in my journey of transitioning from teenage-hood to young adulthood. I’m no longer scared of my own emotions and I am learning to embrace them fully as a source of fuel in my creative expression and in my relationships.
I used to pride myself on remaining guarded, on being able to control my emotions and being “strong.” I now realize that this has been false self reassurance in the way a security blanket is for a toddler and by omitting the truth I was lying to myself and to those around me. Having reached young adulthood this approach has left me literally craving more. I wasn’t happy being “strong” because I wasn’t allowing myself to feel honestly. I have endured a lot and past experience has mostly informed this approach. Guardedness never became a conscious decision it just became a learned behaviour and defence mechanism. What I falsely believed to be strength morphed into anger and resentment and although I was “cool” on the outside I was raging on the inside and writing became an anchor almost as a way of not losing my shit. Not until recently have I made a conscious effort to allow myself the freedom of vulnerability. I no longer see it as a weakness. In fact, it takes more courage and strength to be vulnerable and to speak unfiltered thoughts than it does be a rock. Vulnerability is scary and wonderful and rewarding. Sharing yourself whether it is in your passions or with people is the most rewarding experience and although, this is still very much a work in progress for me I feel lighter. I am learning to not look at my emotions or sensitive nature as a burden, but as a necessary tool for self-identification.
by Manaal Ismacil
And the under achievers and fat tony tm!