In her book Rising Strong, Brené Brown writes about a significant part of the creative process that does not get much love. It is the part when (as she puts it in another of her books) you are in the ring daring greatly, but definitely getting your ass kicked for trying. Are you in the middle of a project, facing uncertainty and feeling incredibly vulnerable? Are you uncomfortable and ready to bail? Brown calls this Day Two after a training experience where no one could make the second day easier, but everyone said it was necessary (Brown, 2015).
Keep your support team close on Day Two, because if you hide part of yourself or hold back in any way from the creative process, Day Two shines an unflattering light on any shame story you have. There have been several personal and professional challenges I faced up to and during graduate school. I could hand you the humiliating list, but then I think you will wonder how I made it through. Maybe you will worry if I made it through. It was hard for me to blog or free-write for awhile because I was afraid of what I would say. Admittedly, I have not yet arrived at smiling through personal difficulty. I internalize encounters for the most part, therefore I run.
Six years ago I sought personal change at depth. My mantra was literally "change me at depth". I realize the painful humor of my search because the moment I think my depth realized, the line is redrawn ahead. The search resulted in an exhilarating and deeply creative period leading up to and including graduate study, but really, really hard at times. Liberation, I learned, is costly when you suppress yourself. It was during my study of multicultural academic advising that I discovered another important piece of the puzzle. It stemmed from the assessment that I do not see myself as I truly am, but as others have needed me to be. As society has wanted me to be. Now well into my thirties, I did not know how much of myself was tied to my race. As a person of mixed heritage, I only recently learned how I have not truly accepted both sides of my ancestry. Now I live to reintegrate both aspects of my being, I live to reconcile my interracial identity and further my awakening.
Although not a single Day Two experience, I have spent the last few years in that ring fighting for what I want in a marginalizing world filled with rejection, hatred, racism, and a few other things that tend to keep those who are down, lower. Once you decide to change or create something, you face the unknown, and you won't know for how long. It will be sticky, and some days you will be walking in mud. It will feel like nothing is happening, but it is. It will feel like no one cares, but we do. If you persist, to move ahead there can be no take backs. There is only the promise of being in the ring.
Brown, B. (2015). Rising Strong. New York: Random House.
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Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.