A local church in my town started a practice years ago called “Going Public” where people share their stories of brokenness and failure and rescue before they are baptized. No matter how you feel about religion or religious traditions, I think we can all get on board with the idea that owning our experiences and sharing them with others is a helpful practice.
There are lots of good reasons not to write, but a fear of failure isn’t one.
Over the past several years, I have felt a pull to share my story in written form. I’ve been a writer since before I can remember, but it’s a part of myself that I hesitate to share for maybe the same reason that you hold back part of yourself sometimes… I’m always afraid it won’t be enough.
I write pretty openly on social media about my family and my personal struggles (and of course my Boston Terrier, Polly, because she is all the things), but for years I’ve shied away from the idea of revealing more than 140-character snippets about my life.
There are lots of good reasons not to write, but a fear of failure isn’t one. Finding my way to that truth has been a journey of its own.
About two months ago, “Dear Birdie” was born out of a burning desire in my bones to meet my friends’ questions with empathy and honesty. Every day I see people around me besieged by the beautiful mess of life, and as I watch them struggle, I have thoughts. And so I wanted a place to put those thoughts for others and for myself.
You see, I think we are all truth-tellers and also in deep need of hearing truth ourselves. As I read your letters and respond to them, I am also coming face to face with the battles I encounter within myself. This promotes a sort of healing mindfulness and introspection, and I think the world needs more of it.
While “Dear Birdie” was a great first step for me, I have felt constrained by the letter-writing/response format and have decided to expand “Dear Birdie” to encompass other topics that are part of my life. I will continue responding to your letters on a bi-weekly basis, but those essays (along with a sprinkling of my hand-lettering work) will now be found under the “Revelations” category.
As I start this new adventure here, I am cautiously hopeful and lots of afraid. Doing scary things is scary, but Seth Godin’s important quote rings in my ears: If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
So here we go. :)