12
Nov

Be an original.

Last night we went to hear Anthony Bourdain speak here in Oklahoma City. The man is quite the character and had all kinds of interesting stories to tell, some more colorful than others.  Since we first started watching his show several years back, it struck me from the beginning that despite a potentially abrasive personality and deliciously sharp wit, he was surprisingly sensitive when it came to other cultures.  He wasn’t only about 4 star restaurants or typical high culture experiences. At the end of the day, he made it clear that he’s about relationships that happen over food, connecting with the local people,  and respecting other cultures regardless of his own ideas. And trust me – he definitely has his own ideas.

Now isn’t that refreshing in light of the past week of politics and general negativity?

But what really struck me is what he had to say about writing. He went on to mention at the end of the night that when he wrote his bestseller Kitchen Confidential, he was writing it with the assumption that absolutely no one was going to read it. And then boom. It blew up. He was authentic to himself – not really worrying about what anybody else would have to say. This idea of writing with the idea that no one is listening or watching or even caring keeps popping up in my life over and over lately. I told Simon last night that I feel like I’m struggling with writer’s block lately. I have all these thoughts and ideas that are swirling around in my brain but I can’t seem to wrangle all of them together to form a cohesive idea. I’m passionate about design, community, relationships, travel, creating, exploring, and seeing God work in ways that are completely unexpected. But I struggle with the words lately. And the next step.

Remember when I talked about the idea of the showstopper? I believe wholeheartedly in practicing the art of the showstopper.  I think everything in life should have a showstopping element. Something that makes your jaw drop and your heart start to pound. The showstopper makes you want to stand up on your feet at the end of the performance, clap like crazy, and do the cha-cha through the theater because it moved you to your bones — as if no one were watching. But you know what stops me from getting up out of my seat and doing the cha-cha in front of all those people? Fear.

What if I wasn’t worried about what other people think about what it is that I have to say? What if I could let go and merely be me? What if I wrote as if no one was watching? What if I designed just for me? What if I were fearless? Fearless enough to be just the original that I know I really am – the person that God created me to be, that He delighted to create.  I can think of a handful of people in  my life that are complete and utter originals, come heck or high water. There is no fear there – or if there is, I certainly can’t see it. I love the lack of pretense, and the take-it-or-leave it attitude that still respectfully says, “It’s okay if you don’t agree with me; I still know who I am.”

I think we’d all move mountains. Don’t you?

 

  • Erin Haines

    So so so true. I think the more ‘community’ of creatives I’m around the more I get in that trap of what would they think, do, etc. But lately I’ve been so sick of fear that stops me and makes me not be my authentic self. It’s so tiring. Although I’m still a daily work in progress, how refreshing it is to be, say and do what God created me to be. Thanks for putting it out there! :)

    • RachelShingleton

      YES – I completely understand that. I too have the fleeting thoughts of, “What would so-and-so think of _____.”

  • Susan S.

    Seriously, Rachel, one of your best posts every. This is so true! We are all originals…no two alike. And thank God for that! Fear is big part of why so many of us struggle, especially in what seems like an overcrowded Internet/social media culture. Remember that comparison is the thief of joy, and fear is the thief of progress. Well said, lady!!

    • RachelShingleton

      Oh, I so love that — comparison IS the thief of joy! Fear is most definitely the thief of progress. I swear I need to design a poster that says that so I can hang it on my wall and stare at it every day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Janet-Bell/691073726 Janet Bell

    I agree with this too! Last year I had a similar revelation about myself and that I was just scared of reaching out and making friends. I literally had to say to myself, “I’m throwing out this fear” and just do what i really wanted. It was pretty amazing and I had one of the best years ever. But eventually I realised the fear had come back and I had kind of lost my spark – my uniqueness, right? I think I learned that you have to step into it and be a bit brave every day. Now I wish I could remember to do that :)