I’m taking a cue from my dear friend Jas and writing something a bit different for this post. I write this while sitting at the Tampa International Airport, soon to travel back to Washington to my hubs.
I never write in public places. Writing is a solitary act. I take great pleasure in tuning out the world to focus on my thoughts. I have a knack for being able to tune out annoying or disturbing sounds, but here there’s too much distraction with the bright lights and so many people milling about. Even with focus music piping through my earbuds, it’s difficult to concentrate, but I’m going to give it a go. I’m curious to see what will come of stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new. Plus, you’re expecting a new post tomorrow, and by golly, I’m gonna deliver.
Tampa airport is one of the nicer ones I’ve experienced. It’s clean and well laid out, and the traffic getting in and out is very reasonable, unlike Newark International Airport, where I was a couple of weeks ago. The Tampa airport lounge/workspaces are way nicer than the ones at Newark, mostly because they are spacious. Everything in the Newark airport is so packed together to accommodate the droves of people passing through. In the Tampa airport, the shops are bright and nicely spaced out, not that I would do any shopping even if I could afford it. Short of replacing lost luggage, who shops at an airport?
All in all, as airports go, if you’re gonna get stuck in an airport or choose to arrive three hours before your flight, you want to be at the Tampa Airport, trust me on this.
Going home again.
My visit to Sarasota, FL was a success. I got to reconnect with friends that I didn’t do a great job of keeping in touch with when I lived there. Moving away taught me how much I’d taken for granted; my support system, my friends, business connections, the weather, the food - all of the things I miss dearly since moving to WA last year.
I didn’t make an announcement or social media update in advance of my Florida travel plans. Only a handful of people knew that my initial plans were to stay in Florida indefinitely. My plans went through some significant revisions since I purchased my flight a couple of months ago (more on that later, I promise).
A writer’s lament.
So, here I am at the airport writing. I’ve never had the idea to write about my real day-to-day life stuff. My writing plan focuses on writing about my past life experiences, sharing what I learned, or offering some inspiration. And of course, my main reason for writing is to share my midlife goings-on in hopes that others can commiserate, and we'll all have a groovy time talking and sharing and bitching about growing older. With lots of motivational wisdom shared across the miles, I’d have a community and creative outlet, and I'd make a difference to other women on a similar path.
Well, my lovelies, methinks, my plan might be too lofty or something. Maybe. My goal in writing this isn’t self-deprecating or to belittle all that I’ve done to date, nor am I seeking kudos. (Kudos are always welcome, though.)
Every day, I question my reasons for writing. I question my ability to adequately express my thoughts in a way that is relatable, interesting, inviting, and valuable to my readers. I question if my choice to write and share is purely ego-based or if the root of my intention is a need for validation. I’ll admit, the latter is a huge part of why I share what I write. I could write in a journal and call it a day. Nope, I write and share through my blog and social media posts because writing in a journal for no one else to see isn’t enough for me. I want to be heard, and I want to feel like what I think matters, that I matter.
Owning that I crave validation is akin to publicly announcing that I'm needy and ill-equipped to stand on my own. That's a hard pill to swallow.
And that is the tender underbelly bits lots of writers struggle with, admitting that writing fills a validation void and a longing for connection. I didn't get lots of praise for a job well done growing up, so in many ways connecting with my readers, receiving feedback fills that void.
Admitting to ourselves and others that there is a void in need of filling is a truth very difficult to accept, especially if we are asking folks to pay for what we publish.
And there it is, the crux of what’s been eating at me for a long time. I have years of marketing skills under my skinny belt, and yet, what I’m attempting to cash in on are my thoughts and experiences. Who am I that anyone should want to pay to read my dribbles and worries? What makes my writing valuable? I’m not as experienced as other writers, and I don’t have lots of my shit figured out yet, how on earth is that the foundation of a business?
Well, sure, I could decide to keep my writing to myself, but I dare to share what I write. Even experienced writers feel a pang of panic with each article or book or blog post. Why? Because it takes a whole lot of moxie to put yourself out there for others to judge or mock. For me, it’s worth it. Even when I publish something that I feel is lack-luster, only to get feedback telling me how helpful the post was, the process of putting thoughts to paper (or screen) is worth it.
Writing beyond a self-imposed vacuum.
Okay, back to why I began this post. Writing for me is solitary, meant to be the space for me to focus my thoughts so that I can make sense of experiences and ideas. However, writing at the airport feels like I have lots of other people included in the process. They are strangers that I won’t meet or talk to, and yet I feel like I know them because I feel their energy. My highly sensitive empathic soul can feel them all, and their feelings are loud, like sound waves reverberating through my mind and heart simultaneously. My feeling this way is why I choose to, need to write in solitude. How much of what I’m feeling right now is solely my feelings alone? It’s difficult for me to weed out the emotions of others quickly, and that’s what I need when I have a thought or topic that must get out of my brain.
My inner dialogue is fast-paced and visual. I need to get the words out of me immediately so that I can move on to the next story or thought. It's somewhat hard to work through my internal dialogue, along with the emotional input of others around me. But the sense of life and living in the airport is powerful and compelling, energetic even.
Absorbing the weight of others usually feels invasive, but instead, right now, the energy around me is propelling me. To my surprise, my keystrokes are quick and steady; I don't feel weighed down. Maybe it's because of the focus music I'm listening to, perhaps it's due in part to the Voke tablet I took this morning, or maybe it's because I chose to open myself to a new experience. And it doesn't hurt that the overall mood around me is mostly pleasant. Folks are happy, how could you not be happy in Florida, it's paradise. Well, I might be a little unhappy about leaving paradise, but I'm headed to see the hubs, yay me! If there's angst in the air, I don't feel it, and that's a good thing.
Likely, I wouldn’t be able to do any in-depth thought-based writing if I tried, but this short check-in post feels right to me. Maybe if nothing else, you’ll find it entertaining. Please do tell me what you think. Send me a note. I like notes.
The moral, do something different. Challenge your “normal” way of doing things, step out of your comfort zone, and see where it leads you. You may find a new avenue to pursue, or the excursion may provide a scenic detour unworthy of mention, but at least you’ll have a unique experience.
Thankfully, I don't have to worry about doing much airport writing for a while, but at least now I know that I'm capable of writing in a public place, and it ain't half bad. Maybe I'll add a day of writing at a coffee shop to my routine. We'll see.
Thanks for reading #RealTalk, motivational badassery. Let me know what you think about today's essay. Love it? Great! Please share it with your friends.