A balance between idaf and child-like wonder.

Image from Ghana 2017 Collection by Stephanie Brown Photography

Children, especially toddlers, have a blissful stage I like to refer to as child-like wonder. They make their needs and wants clear at any point of time whether its convenient to you or not. They put themselves first and love you so purely simultaneously. As we get older and more aware of other people’s thoughts and opinions, and the world we loose that child-like wonder and get caught in a place where we want to fit in, put up walls, and appearances, and play life’s game. In adulthood some people carry this act, others learn to discard it, and others even go to an extreme idgaf mode that is just disrespectful and lacks love.

For me, writing is an act of defiance. It’s an opportunity to speak and share freely. I have realized as of late that freely sharing has become way too difficult for me. So difficult that I’m kicking my butt and forcing myself to write this free hand, no post production, and straight to “press” if you will.

I started writing publicly in high school because I had no one else to talk to at home. Being the last of five, I was home alone frequently and an internet blog was an innocent recommendation by my brother when I complained to him about “no one every listening to me.” Here I could type candidly and with no followers (in 2007) I typed away with no concerns cause I knew no one would read it.

As I have moved from state to state and school to school and job to job, my network has grown like it should but it has also made me nervous. My thoughts and blog prompts get added to a “Should Write About It” list instead of me actually just writing. Since the shelter in place and seeking therapy I was tasked to journal more so I created a folder on my computer to hold those and other written works. But then just last week or so a friend was telling me about a book she was reading titled The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. She shared this passage:

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.” — Steven Pressfield

While I have many thoughts and opinions on this passage and the overall concept of the book which I have not read personally, the passage made me remember something so important.

Fear is my friend cause it keeps me safe but swimming in it does not propel me forward. I handle fear best when taking it head on. Acknowledge the fear, and defy it anyway. And if I am being very honest with myself then I know that I am not withholding writing for personal reasons or for privacy because God revealed to me long long ago that my life is a lesson and one to be shared for the benefit of others who dare to dream challenging dreams like mine.

My “Should Write About It” list is too long. And not pouring out in streams of conscious like this is just causing a traffic jam in my brain. All of this is brought upon myself for the hard truth that — I still care what other people think, so much so that I’m holding back on my own writing.

To try to make a long story short, I have a history of doing the opposite of what’s popular or trending in an earnest effort to ensure that my actions are my own and not influenced by popular opinion. My earliest memory of this goes back to 5th grade. Now in my art practice, I can easily go against the grain and dream up art and installations that can ruffle feathers and provoke thoughtful change, but no one is seeing those art pieces because I’m not exhibiting as much as I’d like and I currently can’t afford to fabricate as I’d like and getting grant funding for that type of work is a challenge on its own. But sharing my writing, my thoughts, that is free and I control the restraints.

My photo-friend, wedding photographer, mother of delicious babies, and bomb self-portrait artist Bri Richards recently celebrated a birthday in early May. And in one of her recent instagram posts she shared this mantra of a caption:

Instagram screengrab — Image by Bri Richards

“I’m done playing the game. The game where I pretend to be someone I am not to make you feel comfortable.” — Bri Richards

This caption, unbeknownst to her, was fire and a reflection of a mantra I have probably been trying to convince myself of since childhood and even more so since grad school. One that I think I have been successful in but not in every area of my life. I am not here to make anyone comfortable, if anything I have always leaned into discomfort because in discomfort more can be unearthed and challenged, that’s where real transformation lives.

I have always admired women who present themselves genuinely no matter what room you encounter them in. Sharing freely is my way of practicing that, publicly taking ownership for myself and my thoughts and sharing them because I want to, and sharing them because it scares me. Remember what I said earlier, I handle fear best when taking it head on. Acknowledge the fear, and defy it anyway.

I acknowledge that writing streams of consciousness and sharing my writing scares me. I acknowledge that I am afraid of others people opinions. And because I seek to live a respectful balance of not giving a fuck and child like wonder, I am going to write and I am going to share to defy this fear, showing it that it has no power over me.

This week, cause small short-term goals are important too y’all, I am going to make a conscious effort to return to writing freely in this balance. Pray with me, encourage me, read with me, join me, or don’t. I am going to take steps to moving for me. No time for games, let’s be our candid selves.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Stephanie Fleming

Stephanie Fleming

I’m an exhibiting artist and learning experience designer. Questioning everything and sharing of myself. AKA Stephanie Brown in those art streets.