The Facts That Will Not Fit
If I've been doing any detective work lately, it's been the search for my own voice in this new crafty land I've been exploring. I keep asking myself, as I tunnel and wind my way through the incredibly talented people who are constantly reinventing this landscape, where do I fit in? What do I bring to the table? Do I bring anything different at all?
In the beginning, I spent all my time trying out what I saw around me, looking for a fit with what was known, and though I am so glad for what I made, I was treading water. And here's where I am going to say something that those who are more passionately ambitious might not understand - I have nothing against treading water, holding space, taking a breather from swimming and just getting by, but not sinking. There are times when I absolutely crave just remaining where I am with my small life as it is, and the work of keeping myself there, the treading, is comfortable and good, and I absolutely respect anyone who feels the same.
But, oh, but, and we knew this was coming, right? Suddenly a few weeks ago, I felt the undeniable urge to swim, and the minute my legs started to kick, I felt my whole body surge forward, powered by a heart with so much bottled up energy that I just kept going, and go I am still, making laps around this small, beautiful life. And so here are where those pesky facts come in, those ones that don't fit and that shatter the idea of any kind of voice that's clear and easy to define - I did not find new waters to swim in, and I did not begin making work that I'd never before imagined. Instead, one doodle, one large quote filled layout at a time, I called attention to the pool I was already in and I yelled, "Hey, over here! I am swimming in these waters full of my own making, it's a pool like a pond, ocean, sea, full of so many various creatures, so much life that seemingly should not be mixed together, but it is mine, and it makes sense in a way that keeps me going. My voice, it turns out, is made up of a thousand tiny pieces, so many incommensurate with the whole, so many fractured and changing, but all of which bolster this unapologetically full tapestry.
None of it is new - the doodles weren't started when someone liked one of the photos on Instagram, and my love for words and the lines from others' work has been in everything I've done since I read my first Beverly Clearly book, but the difference is, I've starting owning it, all of it. And the more I own and share? The more I realize how grateful I am for every bit of it.
I don't have to just be the reader, or the teacher, the doodler, or the girl who tends towards intense wordiness on layouts, I can be all of this, all the time, together.
I can be the one who keeps shelves filled with stuffed Muppets sitting next to four different copies of each Virginia Woolf novel because every edition makes the reading a different experience, a vinyl collection ranging from Bread and Jam for Francis read by the author to Holst's The Planets to Otis Redding, and love all of it equally, fully, gratefully.
I can be, and am, the one who eats the croissant in layers, messy all the way through, and snickers bars in the following, logical order: chocolate, peanuts, then nougat & caramel together.
I can, and will, own every piece of this, and keep making and sharing all of it, because it turns out that voice I was in search for was only a theory, broken open by all these small, glorious, ridiculous, but significant facts.
And for good measure, a bit of these pieces from this last week...
I'm wondering, do you think about your voice too? Are there parts of you that you struggle to own and share?