Not withholding.

My name is starting to leak into the datasphere, because of plays or stories or columns I’ve written. I’m very happy about that. And on a couple of occasions, I’ve hesitated to say or post or write something because of how it’ll be perceived. The Internet forgets nothing–so I should be careful what I reveal about myself, right? Will people think I’m crazy? Or afterwards dismiss what I have to say?

Well, honestly, I wring my hands once or twice and then answer, “Maybe” and “That’s okay.” In the last year, I’ve been especially inspired by Amanda Palmer, who is always, if nothing else, unapologetically herself. Of course, she’s also an insanely talented and hardworking artist. But she admits her stuff–including soul-bearing, tearstained performances–isn’t for everyone. And so I feel free to admit that neither is mine.

This piece is easily the most personal work I’ve shared publicly. It feels very vulnerable to have it out there. But I believe that by not withholding, by being unapologetically myself, in public and in private, I will attract who I want to attract and create the life I want to live. So read it. It’s about why I’m an artist. And do what thou wilt.

6 Comments on “Not withholding.”

  1. Thank you for being so candid. Many people hold back and forget it is their own voice that attracts people to them in the first place.

  2. I think that’s very true, Cindy. But shame is a powerful force. I consider myself lucky to have been encouraged, even at an early age, to share “ugly” feelings…if that early encouragement isn’t there, I imagine it’s a hard thing to allow oneself to do.

  3. Monica, I remember when I was in college and your mom was sick, and I’d ask Sean how you were doing. He didn’t understand why I worried about you, specifically, when I didn’t know you very well.

    Like you, I’m the youngest in my family by a pretty big stretch, with a mom who was up there in age when she had me. As a child I fretted quite a bit about what I would do if she got sick or died. After your mom was diagnosed, I thought of you and prayed for you often, particularly after Mary left for college and you were the only one left at home. It seemed terribly unfair to me that your siblings got to have a fully-present mother for their childhoods, while yours was interrupted by this stupid, pointless disease. (I just realized that “yours” in the previous sentence could refer to either “mother” or “childhood.” I think I’m going to leave it, though, because either could apply…sometimes ambiguous antecedents are our friends.)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing a bit of what you were going through. I’m glad to know that, while it certainly sucked every bit as much as I suspected, you came through it…and while you may not be unscarred, you are certainly undiminished.

  4. Oh, wow, Jen. Thank you so much. In many ways, I was spoiled for support (thank you for the prayers, unknown, which I know did me good!). And the experience has left me strange gifts…for example, an acute awareness of time, and the shortness of it, and the necessity of making the most of it. And not having a mother means I’m constantly creating my own, so I’m really good at taking care of myself.

    But you’re right. It also just sucks. I miss her, and I think I always will.

  5. Allison says:

    Thank you, Monica. Beyond all of the memories it brings up of accompanying you through angry teenagerhood, it is beautiful and moving to see how these experiences have molded you as an artist.

    Thought I would share a quote of an Einstein quote from the NPR “This I Believe” series that speaks to your love of the mysterious:
    “Einstein once wrote, ‘The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental question which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.’ What did Einstein mean by ‘the mysterious’?…a sense of awe, a sense that there are things larger than us, that we don’t have all the answers right at this moment. A sense that we can stand right at the boundary between known and unknown and gaze into that cavern and be exhilarated rather than frightened.” – Alan Lightman

    Love, Allison

  6. That is beautiful, Allison. And I think, no matter how long the human race discovers, there will always be things we don’t know. I, for one, am very happy for that.

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