I used to think that things I had created needed to be kept close to the breast. (How's that for imagery?) I didn't want anyone to really see something I had created because I didn't want anyone to comment on something I had created. I was afraid of any feedback, positive or negative. It felt like someone was peering a little too deeply into my soul, and I was afraid of what they might see, and how they might respond. I heard my pastor say recently though, that your spiritual life is personal, but it's not private. It's not meant to be something so secretive that it's off limits from others. I was thinking that maybe what I create and put out into the world might be the same way.
When I was in 5th grade we wrote books. I was a well read 5th grader; I had been exposed to all sorts of literature. I wanted my book to be like a real book. I wanted to take some creative liberties, like real authors do. I wrote about my experience at camp that year, and I entitled my book "Kids Kamp." I used the misspelling to create an alliteration on purpose. During peer editing, Katie scratched that K out with her red marker and told me, "Come on. You know how to spell camp." I didn't have the voice to speak up, and I didn't have the words to articulate my purposeful decision. So I said nothing. I had gone out on a limb, I had been creative, and I had been shot down.
During the remainder of my growing up years, I worked hard to keep my creative to myself. My family wasn't big on sharing feelings, because we weren't big on dealing with feelings. So things that I created were both personal and private. All these years later, I'm finding my voice. I'm finding a confidence to put my writing out there and to accept what may come of it. I've decided that while my art is personal, it isn't private. There's beauty in someone reading my work, then locking eyes with me in a way that says, "me too."
I want to encourage you to be brave, feel what you feel, create whatever comes out of that, and share it with the world. There will be people who don't understand. There will be people who criticize, or minimize, or mock. But, whether you know it or not, there WILL be someone who takes it in, sighs, and whispers, "me too." And isn't that really what it's about?