Thursday, January 12, 2012

still small voice

So when I said I was suffering from writer's block? It wasn't that I had nothing to write about. Nope, it was that I had too much -- too many thoughts, ideas, plans, pictures, etc., to share; and I couldn't narrow in on a topic.

I still can't.

But today I decided to write anyway. Which means, here I am.

I've been thinking endlessly about the world lately, and about my own little part in it. About who I am and how I come across (versus how I'd like to come across, and whether or not it really matters). About paradox and new beginnings and kindred spirits or the lack thereof. About my next steps. Part of me would really like to take this blog in a more "writerly" direction; the other part is signed up for The Sketchbook Project and has become addicted to instagram.

And then there's this small ache somewhere deep down that says, "You don't know what's next, but it's big. Trust that. Just trust." 

I find it really hard to trust, because the what-ifs get in the way, and I am somewhat of a neurotic, and am therefore prone to what-if-ing all over the place.

But that still, small voice? It feels so true.

When I was in high school, I competed in Speech. At the state finals one year, I placed ninth in the preliminary rounds, which meant I was one spot away from making the final round with the opportunity to win it all. (Speech, I now know, is a rather subjective and complicated beast, meaning all wins -- including my own -- must be taken with plenty of salt.)

At the end of the competition, all the first place winners performed on stage for everyone else (and it's not like it was in some fancy theatre, just at whatever high school was hosting that year -- though it still felt like a big deal at the time). I remember sitting in the bleachers in the dark, watching the well-lit winners perform on a makeshift stage in the center of the gym, when suddenly it was as if someone hit the "mute" button and everything went fuzzy. All I could hear was this quiet, strong voice inside me; all I could see were the words it spoke, as if written in my mind's eye:

You are not done yet.

I flashed to a large auditorium, all red and blue and gold, like some sort of legislative building or parliament. I was on a stage, speaking passionately to hundreds of men and women. But it also felt like I was in the balcony, watching this other version of myself. And I heard it again: You are not done yet.

Then I snapped out of it. I sat up a little taller, a bit taken aback, and shook it off.

It's easy to disregard such moments as daydreams and conjured-up whispers catering to our woundedness.

But in my heart of hearts, in that tiny secret place in the pit of my stomach, that voice was and is so real. I can still see the image that flashed in my brain as clearly as I did ten years ago. If I'm absolutely honest with myself, I believe that voice. I just can't figure out what it means.

This year, I'm going to keep listening. I'm going to try to be as discerning as possible. For a long time, the fuzziness has existed inside of me, rather than in that crowded high school gymnasium. I want to pay attention to that blur until it comes into focus, like a polaroid developing, until whatever it is I need to know rings so clear and true that it hurts to deny it.

I think I owe the universe, and life, at least that much.

(Image credits: 1 | 2-5 via OMS | 6: my own, Poland 2009 | 7: my own, Sandwich, Illinois, 2006)