Today a dear friend of mine reminded me that I have to be more willing to put more things out there about myself. She told me that I need to proclaim who I am, which is a writer. It feels weird saying that but indeed that is what I am. However, I ventured to take things a step further and put even more of myself out there. I shared something personal about myself and that is truly dear to my heart – my floral photography collection online.
I happen to have two loves. One is photography and the other is – of course- writing. It takes a lot of guts to show the world this is what I’m all about, in a creative sense anyway. Especially when the world knows me as a different type of person – a professional, a mother, a wife, a sister, and a daughter. That’s great I am all of those things, but who am I really?
I don’t pretend to be the world’s next best novelist or even a super star photographer. There are many others who make that claim – some as they ought to. But mine is simply a matter of self-expression. For some time now, I have always struggled with being an effective verbal communicator. I was the shy kid in school who never spoke and was always either criticized for it or made fun of. It got to the point where I would find myself shutting down and actually preferring my own company to others around me. This continued, as I grew older and even into my adult years where I felt it impacting my professional life and some personal relationships. I’m kind of over it now but some things still remain the same. Thoughts still scramble in my head and I have thousands of ideas but they never seem to make it out my mouth. It’s very frustrating to say the least, to have been born with this dare I say – perceived handicap and not know why or even what it is. After enough research, I have narrowed it down to a mere personality preference. I’m naturally introverted and processing my views of the world internally energizes me. Its not that I cannot process my views externally by communicating etc. It’s just that I don’t want to and it requires some unnatural effort on my part to do it the way everyone else does it.It doesn’t make me a bad person to feel this way but it is what it is. Some call it social anxiety or whatever, but I just accept it. I have dealt with “social anxiety” all my life and I always knew something was wrong – but couldn’t label it.
But now that I have a label ready to attach to this thing, this looming, shackle yielding beast over my self-expression, should I even attempt to label it? I mean I feel like there are enough labels in the world. Why not just be myself? Who says this is an anxiety problem? Maybe it’s just the way I am wired.
In my late thirties, I don’t feel ashamed that I have only recently just come to this conclusion. I feel rather proud of myself actually. Even if I never communicate a single coherent thought in my life – I got my writing to do it with and I got my photography. Everyone wants to leave his or her mark on the world and contribute something. I have thought and contemplated thousands of ways that I felt I could contribute. None of them seem to suit me. I dabbled in some things – but it didn’t fit right. Like a pair of shoes that’s too tight.
None of those ideas fit me until I realized what it truly is that makes me feel tranquil and comfortable. I have found what truly makes me feel most comfortable in my own skin. Enjoying myself. Inspiring myself. It is my creative writing and creative floral photography work that makes me feel this way. I photograph flowers because it is what I love. I know it now but it was God who told me first. He told me in a dream many years ago. I was standing in a field of the most beautiful wild flowers I’ve ever seen. I was between valleys of hills. No one was out there but me. It was warm and sunny. I was over come by the most amazing feeling of happiness then He spoke, “This is you. You love flowers. Just look at it. You love this.” That was when my fascination with flowers began. It was God’s fault and as you can see it has taken me many years to get to the place where I can recapture these feelings again.
When I do stuff like writing poetry, updating blogs, sketching storyboards – I am in the zone. I feel that feeling. That feeling that God is approving of me and what I am doing. I feel tranquility. I feel peace and I am truly enjoying myself. I become oblivious to the world (which is why it is dangerous for me to do it while my kids are up because I do lose myself in it.) I feel like writing and doing floral photography are God’s way of speaking to m. It takes me back to that hill just like in my dream. Kind of an odd combination of hobbies but it makes sense for someone like me. That is because it is supposed to be me doing it.
So I have embraced my treasures and won’t hide it any longer. The Bible says, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” My heart is happy. To sit on these types of gifts is like sitting on the sun. I was sitting on the sun to block the rays coming through as not to offend anyone or feel ashamed. But sometimes if you sit too long you can roast your bottom and something has to be done. So what are you supposed to do? You let the sun burst out. Let it burst right through your soul…