Volition

The first line you read is not the first line I wrote. That is an important note to make with my writing. See, even that sentence is a third edition (as too could be this one).
          
     “It is important to make that note of my work.”
       No. Do better.
             “That is an important note to make with my work.”
     Closer. But no.
     “That is an important note to make with my writing.”
               Yes, this will satisfy. You may proceed.

This is the painfully peevish process by which I write and by which I live. The truth is simple. I am afraid to get it wrong. I know what I have to say, but my fear of constructing the wrong arrangement of words often keeps the cursor beating against a blank screen. I have confidence in the idea, in the inspiration, and I know it needs to be said.  Still, there is a native whisper in my mind that says, “if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t worth writing.”

But that’s not true. Wouldn’t you agree? Perfection is subjective and can never be universally agreed upon. I concede this truth, but, still, I fear not being good enough to be as good as I can be. Too many times too late at night I welcome the whispers of doubt to a dialogue of self-deprecation. These cruel conversations echo sentiments bestowed upon me by others I’ve known in my life. We have all encountered the carriers of a lost soul and disadvantaged heart that confuse being cruel for being cool. It is no wonder now that I have adopted similar malice for myself. This is not an excuse but an explanation. People told me told that I didn’t deserve to be happy. That was their shame. I believed them. That was mine. I internalized, bringing in what ought to have been left out in the cold. What is more, I am beginning to understand that the responsibility is mine. There is an expiration date on blaming others for my own unhappiness, and that day has dawned.

You know, I pride myself on being the friend my friends call whenever their cruel little whispers bend their minds. My friends speak of the same uncertainties and self-doubts that keep me up at night. What do I tell them? I tell them that they are going to be okay. That they have time. That they are going to get where they are going precisely because of where they are now. That now is necessary. That this moment, with all of its realities (rather they be hope, pain, joy, fear, or complete chaos), is indispensable in equipping them with the very knowledge, very strength, that will enable them to get where they are meant to be.

And I believe every word. But somehow these ideas I trust haven’t applied to me. I have accepted this “no one is perfect” platitude as valid and forgivable… for everyone except myself. I have been a good friend to my friends, but I am realizing that I have been a terrible friend to myself. 

But I am getting better. I am falling asleep sooner. I am fighting back against the wicked whispers.  I am battling with all that I have to win over doubt and realize my full potential. I am doing the best I can, with what I have, where I am. And that is good enough.

Finally, I’ll close this letter with a discovery I made recently – a discovery that has allowed a fairer perspective by myself on myself. A dichotomy exists between what I am and who I am. What I am is what I was born – the qualities (many of which I would not have selected) that I cannot change. My skin color. My looks. My mind. Who I am is who I choose to be. Who I am is how I choose to use what I am. I cannot change what I am, but I can use it to strengthen who I am. And by my own volition, I can work to embrace my intrinsic imperfections for what I think they may just be – good enough.