Every Tuesday evening for the past 5 weeks, I’ve met with 7 other women in a writing group.
We sit around my friend Rachel’s low table in her apartment in midtown Miami. We eat fruit off of small ceramic plates. We write, and then we share, and then we connect.
It’s one of my favorite parts of my week.
One week, we wrote about relationships. I wrote about my mom, and how it’s hard living so far away from her, and someone else wrote about her mom, and how it’s hard to connect with her even when they’re together.
This week, we wrote about our bodies.
I’ve been feeling like crap about my body all week. I ordered a pair of jeans from eBay, and they didn’t fit right, and somehow, feeling their tightness over my belly made me feel like I am the fattest, grossest person in the world.
But when I read my piece about that to the group, they all told me, “Girl, I’ve been there. It sucks.”
And, through writing, I realized that true beauty isn’t physical – it comes from being completely alive and free.
Here’s a snippet of my piece from last night:
The pattern I see throughout my life is wanting to accept my body, and then not being able to fully go there.
A moment I land on, a happy one, was in Guatemala. I was on a pier over the Carribbean with Curry and Rachel, all of us comparing the length of our leg hair. None of us had shaved in over 6 weeks, and our leg hair felt like the hair on our heads, soft, and natural.
It’s not so much that I liked having leg hair but that I felt free to not have to shave my legs.
Those weeks in Guatemala, and then in India, I was able to shed all of the ideas of who I should be, and how I should look, along with the heavy baggage of the US.
I loved the feeling of having everything I needed in my red backpack, and somehow, with all of the other crap stripped away, I felt raw, and real, and alive.
I didn’t care how I looked, and it was so liberating.
I love blogging, because it allows us to share our stories with the world, to help each other, to connect to one another.
But before I loved blogging, before there even was blogging, I loved writing.
I love writing because of its power to transform. I love that it lets me rewrite my own story, and find meaning in it, and find healing.
I love writing because it gives me a platform to communicate.
Before I loved myself, I loved writing.
When I was an awkward middle-schooler, I could write myself a life in which I was beautiful and all of the boys loved me. I could write the world the way I wanted it to be.
Writing gave me a voice when I was afraid of being me, of being different.
I love writing, too, because our stories tie us together in a way that nothing else can.
I’ve spent a total of 10 hours with my writing group, and those women know more about me than many friends I’ve known for years. I leave every week feeling so connected, so joyful, so seen.
I usually write list posts. Helpful posts that you can use to improve your writing and your blog.
And I like writing them. But sometimes I feel like something is missing. And that something is the kind of writing that reveals me with all of my flaws and my fears, all of my humanness.
Last night, after our group, I told Rachel I felt a disconnect between the kind of writing we do together, and the kind of writing I publish here on my blog.
I’ve been afraid to write something like this, because what if it doesn’t fit my audience? What if people don’t want to read it?
But then I felt like a total hypocrite. Because I’ve written a lot of posts about defining your voice. About claiming your story.
So how can I avoid doing that in my own blog?
I think that writing is more than a vehicle for growing an audience. It’s more than a way to educate people about your brand.
If you let it, writing can transform, writing can heal, writing can reveal, writing can empower you.
And, by sharing the scary stories, it can let people in. That’s my hope with this blog post. What do you think? Did I succeed? Share in the comments below.