So it’s been a couple of days, and the Japanese language learning hasn’t progressed so far yet, seeing how it’s mostly review, and I’m reading and writing everything in kana. I have, however, realized something: I do have some skill when it comes to writing, and maybe I should try and capitalize on that, instead of entering a new field entirely — when I haven’t even given becoming a professional writer or editor a good clean shot yet.
The problem with aiming to become a professional writer or editor is that you have to, you know, write things. Original things. And that requires some level of vulnerability, at the very least when you’re writing fiction and this stuff that you’re writing stems from your own experience and psyche. It especially requires some level of strength + vulnerability when what you’re writing is connected to you on a deep level, and your mind falls into the “different” category. As I’ve been talking about Japanese language recently, let me drop one hint here: in Japanese, the word for “different” and the word for “wrong” are the same: chigau.
I’m really not sure how strongly being different has read to me as being wrong, in my life. (More likely, I was told I was wrong by my society and I revalued the term “wrong.”) But it’s an interesting observation to make. It happened so long ago that I’m not really sure of the timeline anymore, but I recall that as a child, I would write out my thoughts because I didn’t feel I could speak them. Of course, for me, some of this crossed over into the realm of Illustration — or may have even begun in Illustration — but after a while there were things I needed to get out that couldn’t be shown through pictures. At least, that was the case when I was a kid. I just couldn’t draw fast enough, and after a while, I couldn’t write longhand fast enough, either. So I turned to the computer, took some typing lessons, and eventually got to the point where I can type decently fast, and hold focus — for a bit less time than it takes to try and write everything out. 😉
Becoming a professional writer or editor also requires one additional thing: faith. You have to believe that someone will find value in your words, and you have to have faith that your practice will one day pay off. Otherwise, for all but the most focused, it won’t be easy to continue to write. Because your stories will back up in your head. And they won’t be communicated. Because who will find value in your thoughts? Who will hire you after you’ve shown yourself to be so different and everyone knows and you can’t ever take those words back? Those words that implicate you as outside of the herd? The dark horse that so many would wish to go away and die?
It’s not been easy for me to be me. My practice at frankness began on a screen, though by all accounts I was a very honest youngster. I am — entering the prime of my life — just now finding myself with the strength and ability to open up again. To be vulnerable to a world that too often punishes honesty and vulnerability and lauds conformity, and lies — and if not lies, then silence.
But the world of humans isn’t right. I know this. I also know there are pockets of goodness in it. And I know that at the heart of everything, most people just want to be happy, no matter how many other people they crush in their attempt to obtain happiness for themselves.
But as for a bit of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy here:
Someone will value my thoughts.
Someone will value my difference.
How often can we say that? Especially the latter?
It’s something to take into account the next time I start to convince myself that by “putting myself out there,” I’m essentially foregoing being able to be hired and setting in motion the mechanism which will make me an outsider to adult society, as I was an outsider to children’s society. But — beyond the fact that some of us do grow up — there’s one thing I’ve learned:
The voices like mine are the ones which make life trapped in conformity tolerable for everyone else. Because we enable others to envision what life could be like, not just what life is now. We enable people to escape their bonds, however temporarily; to imagine life as someone else, somewhere else. We encourage empathy and the opening of minds and hearts. We enrich the lives of others by taking the risk of expression, and we touch that which within each of us is human. That which just wants happiness.
And I, now, after having viewed myself with an eye to criticism and darkness for most of the second half of my life, have just talked back to the internal oppressor. At a certain point, I have to come to the conscious realization that I am not evil. I am human. Beyond this, I am spirit. I am free. I am that which I am, and I owe none apologies for being so. I do not have to ask permission for my right to exist.
At some point — at some point — it would be wise to act like it.