The “Adulting” Project: Navigating Between the Personal and the Professional

I used to fantasize of the glamorous writing life: working from home, eyeballs deep in books and notes, odd hours and a steady stream of whiskey and coffee. And it’s not too far off from what I’m currently living. Except, instead of writing I just keep wavering.

2016-09-22-00-20-55That’s the only way I can describe it. Like describing the way my fingers hover over my keyboard before I slam my laptop closed.

When I used to write, it used to be for myself. It used to pour out of me, like I had a tap into some kind of story well. It was every fear, every wish, every guilty pleasure. Every story was me. It wasn’t a job or a chore. It used to be a way to make sense of my own head; it was a way to live all the lives I wanted to live.

Now when I go to write all that I can do is stare at a blank page.

My depression isn’t something that I talk about a lot. Mostly because it’s more of a symptom than a cause. But also because it’s another vulnerability for me. So the stories I used to write about the darkness inside of me, they didn’t get a chance to make it to an audience. They became hidden away, folder within folder within folder.

Now I’m trying to rely on my writing and I want to share all the passion I have and all the conflicting experience it is to be me. But that means opening up about things that the people closest to me have to pry out of me. Sending it out onto the internet doesn’t assure that the people who need it will read it, or that the people I don’t want to see it, won’t.  I don’t know how to be vulnerable anymore.

I wanted to pay my bills with writing. I was looking at copywriting and advertising. Corporate blogging. I wanted this website to reflect me but also reflect my ability to work. I wanted to prove that I could be professional. So the posts about what really mattered, written in the way that I want to write them, never see the light of day.

I’m trying to change that. I’m not trying to be a “pro”, I’m trying to be the person I told myself I’d be when I started. All those years of angry typing and living and breathing my writing. I won’t let them be wasted in attempt to seem more palatable.

Because my writing doesn’t come from a place of cool knowledge. My writing comes from a deep dark place inside of myself, a place that swirls and churns and never sits still. My knowledge, my education, my vocabulary are only tools. They aren’t what make my writing mine.

So I have to write about the depression, the anger. I have to write about injustice and oppression. About desperation and anxiety. About fear and hate and love. The things that live inside me. It’s not just about terminology, sentence structure and if I can explain complex business terminology in simplistic language.

I’m not going to be afraid of being who I am anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of scaring off job offers because I write about oppression too much or I just seem too emotional.

Hell, I wouldn’t fare well in an environment like that. I don’t do well with constantly biting my tongue, with sneaking inclusive and accessible language in where I can. I become this quiet shell with a violent ocean inside. I don’t want to back down anymore from speaking my mind, so I best work somewhere I can do that.

I’ve always been taught that my work life and personal life should be kept separate. You don’t reveal anything about yourself to your colleagues. To them you are a quiet, pleasant and polite. You say enough to make friendships, but not enough to deepen them. You’re friendly, but make sure you never overshare.

I am entering a time where I am reconnecting with this passionate and open person that I was supposed to be. I’m not following the rules anymore. I’m following the voice inside me that pushes me to speak up, to fuck professionalism, to be loud.

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