After my first three years as a New York City resident, I started writing about myself and my experiences. In some weird way, I think this was my attempt at piecing together the puzzle that I was feeling had become my life, and viewing it with a little bit of humor.
Living in this city will force you to learn more about yourself in a relatively short period of time than you're likely to learn about yourself during a lifetime elsewhere. I think that's a good thing—especially for a young woman.
This weekend I came across all of the essays I've written over the years, and after reading through some of them, decided to make a blog to start posting my favorites to—a new side project.
Rather than be embarrassed by who I am and the experiences that have shaped me, I'd like to share them with anyone interested in reading them.
The blog is called Naked, and can be found here: Naked: Life as I've known it for the past 35 years
Why go Naked?
The short answer is, to combat fear. Throughout life I've become used to hearing a lot about how I shouldn't say this, or do that, or admit that I think certain things—I might embarrass myself because someone might misunderstand or not agree with me and, essentially, not like me if I share my views. But if overall you're a good person, feeling afraid to put yourself out there is silly when you really think about it.
You can have a party with a hundred people, and ninety-nine people are all having fun. And if there’s one guy in the corner not having fun for some reason, we as human beings will fixate on that one person and let it bring the whole vibe of the party down. Even though there’s ninety-nine motherfuckers having a great time, that one person not having a good time just sticks in your head and you start thinking to yourself, “Oh, my party’s not that good. What can I do?"
Every time you put something out there, you invite two sides: There are people who are going to be into you and what you're doing, and there are people who will make fun of it and shit on it. Both are just as valid, and both mean nothing. As time goes on, you loosen up and realize that's what makes the world so great. You and I can look at the exact same object and call it two completely different things.
By writing about myself and my experiences I've been able to loosen up and laugh at myself, while learning all sorts of things that I would have never learned had I just ignored my history or left it to memory. Through the process of making the essays, one after another would lead me to a question, and that question would lead me to another one, which would lead me to another one, which would lead to a realization... And the realizations opened up all sorts of avenues. This is the same exact way that therapy works. You sit down and have a conversation. And through having a conversation—and being asked questions that you are uncomfortable with—you come to a new point, a new light, a new open field of understanding of your life and the way you deal with people.
Later, as we grow up and we get to the core of our emotions, we realize, “Oh, I was afraid of that person. I was afraid to love them because I didn’t love myself...” This is what I’m interested in. I’m interested in the core, not the surface. Most people are only interested in the surface.
What I’m really interested in is my own emotions, the core of them, why I behave the way I do, and how I can change my behavior so I’m not just acting out of instinct.
I think the way we grow and shift according to those around us is interesting. We pick up new ideas, interests and habits to carry along with us in life. But true influence is taking everything you've learned and been inspired by and then turning it into your own new thing. True influence is never a carbon copy of the thing that has inspired you. So the idea was (and still is) to write about my experiences, learn from them, and see where that takes me—maybe it will result in a series of photos, or a design project, or a book, or... Who knows! Same as with anything in life, if we're really serious about exploring an avenue, we have to actually get down to the business of exploring it.
I remember reading about how one time Sinclair Lewis was invited to talk to a group of aspiring writers. He asked, "How many of you are really serious about being writers?" All of their hands went up. And he asked, "Then why aren't you all home writing?" And then he walked out of the room. This could apply to anything, and to me it's Truth. If I want to accomplish it, I have to do it. It's not up to someone else to inspire me or show me how—it's really only up to me.