I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s an undercurrent to my actions, a silent stream in my mind that suggests words when I have conversations. It’s the little green leaves that grow up through cracked sidewalk cement, the stuff that reminds you that life can be cold and hard and rigid, but beauty does, indeed, exist.
It’s what makes your friends your friends, and not just projects who serve to better you in some capacity. It’s what you are when you accept yourself, flaws and all, and remove yourself from the game of I’m perfect, a game where you are always the king nearing the wrong end of a checkmate situation, trying to wield your power, avoiding the reality of weakness, and finding yourself roaming in circles.
It’s saying what you mean, not just what you think you should say. It’s hearing what others say, really listening.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot in my life, lately. I see too many people accidentally fall into the trap of acting like they think they should, rather than being the people they are. They give answers they think people expect, get jobs they perceive others perceive as acceptable, make decisions based on general consensus rather than actual conviction. I know this, unfortunately, from firsthand experience.
The past few years have been some of the best of my life, because I’m finally growing into the freedom of being myself. I’m finding this freedom is important, especially when it comes to being a writer. People-pleasing and fitting a cookie-cutter mold is inherently opposed to life as a writer, I think. By nature, writing is time spent on something that doesn’t (at first, if ever) yield monetary fruit. Writing requires perspective, which requires actual thought. Plus, you have to be at that point where you understand, ‘I have opinions. So does everyone else. Therefore, it stands to reason that not everybody sees how I see.’ Furthermore, you have to add to that little mantra ‘…and that’s okay.’
It’s so much more fun to be real than it is to be fake. More satisfying, too. It’s not always easier, but it is less complicated. Ironically, don’t you think it seems more people are ‘pleased’ when you live sincerely, rather than when you live as a people-pleasing?
Stephen King writes, in On Writing: “The key to good description begins with clear seeing and ends with clear writing…” I think this is a good example of sincerity as it applies to writing. You see clearly, you translate it clearly. No muddling it up with what you think it should be, or what you think others want it to be. Just write what it is. And let what it is come straight from you, the sincere you.
Thanks for letting me think on this publicly with you guys. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what it means to be sincere, whether in regards to your writing, your life, or both.