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There’s No Such Thing As “Good” When It Comes to Self-Expression

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girl_writingS E L F – E X P R E S S I O N

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” –David Foster Wallace


Oh how I love that quote, and let’s just jump right in, shall we?

When it comes to self-expression, there are many ways to protrude what you have to offer and to express what’s on your mind, in your heart, and within your imagination.

When we speak of expressive natures in creative introverts, we can mean many things (and oh, how we LOVE that!).  We can refer to design, writing, intuitive gifts, observant natures, or even artistic tendencies. It can be painting, knitting, crocheting, or singing.

I’ve seen how introvert personalities show up creatively to run the gamut, and gosh, is it gorgeous…

Here at Tamisha Ford International, we see self-expression as a core emotional need, meaning it’s something deeply needed for specific introverted women that isn’t sometimes able to be particularly expressed (pun intended) or articulated.  It’s only felt.  Often, these women are also highly sensitive introverts (we have that in common).

To an introvert who deeply desires this, there’s a need to feel alive and convey who you are properly and genuinely – you want others to notice, but not too much, which can be a real bugger if you are also an introvert entrepreneur, looking to build an online presence or business of some kind, which ultimately means you’re likely building a personal brand and expressing yourself through your business.

The women I work with and who are typically drawn here have an increased need for this creative outlet much more than the next person – it’s a sort of incredible freedom if she can figure out the balance between the complexities of sharing more of who she is while also not making others wary of her need to express.  


Do something for me right here – take a good look at the little girl in the picture in today’s post.  What do you see & feel when you look at her?  What vibes do you get from her creative process, and what do you think she’s thinking about?  If you have children, you should be especially good at this. Please take a moment to answer these questions before you keep reading…


You may be saying “yeah, Tamisha, but she’s just a child – of course she doesn’t feel threatened because she still has her innocence.”  And to that I’d say, “you’re absolutely right.”  And one of the reasons little girls grow up to be big girls who lose the innocence of their craft is what I call ‘cultural messaging’ – Brene Brown talks about it in a similar way in Daring Greatly, but it’s everywhere – these hidden agendas and messages meant to keep us in our containers.  “Express here, here, and here please!  It’s your role. Oh, but NOT over there!”  (You know what I’m talkin’ about….)

Soooo…..do you think the little girl is concerned with those markings on her body?  Not EVEN.  She’s also not worried about being perfect, staying in the lines, or getting it “good” or “right.”  She doesn’t care if 25 people like it, either – you know how children are?  There’s likely just one person she cares about showing that little drawing to when she’s done, and this is a principle that can greatly serve you in creative self-expression because it works to get you to freedom.

I don’t spend 2 hours on one blog post or show up here for thousands of people every week, even though that many may be reading my stuff – there’s one particular type of person I write for. ONE.  It’s a sacred, yet counter-intuitive practice that has loads of direct empathy and meaning behind it. I don’t write for the masses.  She doesn’t write for the masses.

You thinking what I’m thinking?  

Yep – you shouldn’t either.  You don’t create for everyone, paint for everyone, knit for everyone, read books for everyone, write for everyone, or sing for everyone.  Your business shouldn’t be for everyone, and your message sure can’t reach everyone.  Even big-name brands like Nike, Virgin, or Target have people who don’t like their brand.  Some people won’t even step foot into a Wal-Mart.

My point is this: “good” is in the eye of the beholder. So, let me just say it officially – you’re good!  You’re really really good at what you do, create, think, offer, make, process, write or sell.  And the people that agree are who you’re here for, not vice versa (you’re not here for people to agree).  Whether it’s writing a vulnerable blog or speaking for your first time on stage, starting a new community, or deciding to start selling your art, let “good” and “right” be determined by those who hold your worldview and believe what you believe.

Honestly, I don’t define “good” or “normal” any way.  I’ve seen writers who love to end sentences with adverbs or propositions.  Who cares?  I’ve met artists who only paint with 5 colors.  Who cares?

The answer?  The people who are meant to.


Another key ingredient I want you to begin to find and look for in your creative expression as an introvert is connection.  And this deep human need is also a core question found in a newly devised checklist I made for the community here, also found on Pinterest, for you to use to start really taking an intimate look at how you’re showing up.  You don’t have to answer every one of these questions every time, either. Just start getting familiar with them for reflection’s sake:

Checklist

Look, I know you feel the depth and complexity of your own world & experience within you – I get it – I live it every day.  Here’s the cognitive process & conversation you have in your own head, because as humans we make “safe” assumptions when we don’t know if someone else is an introvert or an extrovert:

“Oh….man, I want to share this idea, but since I’m sometimes drained by other people going overboard, they might not want to hear what I have to say or share, so….yeahhhh, I think I’m just gonna wait or share it later.”  

That’s projection. 

This is what we humans do when we’re unsure of a situation and we feel that knot in our throat to speak up or share the brilliance we’re hiding. It starts with questioning – are they or aren’t they uncomfortable by my presence or idea?  Then, it moves to assumption – yes, I think they’re probably uncomfortable (the safe answer). Then, full-on projection of our own experience – because I sometimes feel drained by other people’s overwhelming opinions or ideas, so will they.

As introverts, we can sometimes never give another person the opportunity to see the gorgeousness we have to offer from our own experience or thought processes. We never let them decide for themselves – we don’t give them the chance.

From you, I’d love to know…

  1. What is one thing that resonates with you the most from this piece or from the checklist?
  2. What one action can YOU take this week to show up in your creative outlet in a way that feels at least a little more authentic for you?

Thank you for sharing, reading, and being here.  I’m always deeply grateful.

To new beginnings,

Tamisha

Comments(8)

  • Patricia
    January 18, 2014, 12:01 am  Reply

    Tamisha,

    GREAT writing as usual. Your words always seem to speak to my soul. What is the one thing that resonates with me? If I answered truthfully to the fifth question on the self-expression checklist, a ‘lack of response’ to the heartfelt writings I might produce would discourage me right out the box.

    On the other hand, I stumbled across a blog today that was a great model of the type of subject matter I would have liked to form a community around. I ask myself, so, what has kept me from starting that same type of blog that I already knew was sorely needed?

    Answer: While I know the battle with my “affliction” is a story worth sharing and could encourage others, I’m too afraid to “go there” due to the stigma surrounding it. It is not a secret to those close to me, but once it’s in writing, there is no taking it back. Therein, lies the conflict. Perhaps it’s a matter of self-expressing in another way that is not so revealing? If it is, I don’t see it 🙁

    For now, I guess the struggle within continues.

    • January 19, 2014, 1:19 am

      Patricia – thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m glad this post resonated with you.

      I definitely wouldn’t want you to jump into the deep end with your “affliction” in writing, having not dealt with any of the pain, judgments, expectations, or unconscious beliefs surrounding it.

      I do believe we all have to start somewhere, but for those who struggle with this in this way, I think it’s important to do some personal work surrounding the expression first – especially in the online space, which can be extremely abrasive at times.

      In your scenario, the “lack of response” wouldn’t be the truest fear – the real fear would be the vulnerability behind what you shared, then not having it validated by another as a secondary dismay. This is a paradox in the human experience we all have – we want to be accepted & loved for who and how we are, but we often times don’t want it to come at the expense of having to even show up for that to happen.

      I think for you, if we’re talking about eventually expressing yourself and your story through an online medium, you could start getting comfortable with that in different ways, such as: starting an online blog that’s private only to you (blogger.com), starting one that you only share with people you designate can read it (also blogger.com) or even handwriting your thoughts or “blogs” in a journal at home.

      Sometimes the discomfort can come from not understanding the emotions behind the expression that are happening. Start with getting comfortable with the associated emotions in the process of writing, such as feeling like you need to make 1,000 edits or feeling the vulnerability in what you’re sharing. Stay curious through that process, and see what starts coming up for you.

      I hope this is helpful.

  • January 20, 2014, 8:01 am  Reply

    Another great blog! I love your encouraging words. As an introvert entrepreneur , it is so helpful to hear those little pushes to get out there and share!

    The thing that resonates with me most is that I am here for “one.” This is certainly not what is always taught and something that is hard for me to remember.

    This week, my creative work will be a presentation I have been wanting to work on. So, now I have accountability to get it done 🙂

    • January 27, 2014, 5:08 pm

      SO glad to hear this from you, Jess. And excited to hear how that presentation went! Hugs….T

  • Deb
    January 27, 2014, 3:51 pm  Reply

    Tamisha,

    “Is my expression in the service of connection in some way?” This is very important to me and I constantly wish I knew if what I am thinking may help someone else. I loved your blog and how you related it to children who just do and create whatever they want without thinking about the who and what. Also, the “who cares” question is always on my mind, and your answer is “the people who are meant to” is exactly what I needed to hear. I will be thinking about each one of the self expression checklist questions when writing this week. Thank you!!! Deb

    • January 27, 2014, 5:11 pm

      Hi Deb – I’m so glad to hear your perspective & what resonated with you in this post! I actually saw that picture on Pinterest and it jumped out at me as the perfect metaphor, while writing this post – that’s where it came from. Glad the checklist has been helpful to you and that your writing is progressing. 😉 Hugs to you – T

  • February 11, 2014, 10:49 am  Reply

    Really enjoyed this – thank you. I’m very new to blogging and veer between desperately longing for connection and longing to hide away in a silent, darkened room where no-one is going to misunderstand anything I try to express. You’ve given me lots to think about – thanks.

    • February 11, 2014, 11:17 am

      You’re SO welcome, Jacqui. What a paradox it is for us, right? I still struggle with this from time to time. Try to stay focused on who you serve through your expression only – not feedback or opinion. This helps me stay focused on those days I’m deathly scared to press the “publish” button. Thank you for sharing here.

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