Today is a gray day, pavement wet, roses dripping from the tears of summer’s melancholy. The perfect setting for introspection, surrounded by books, coffee and memories.
Thoughts swirl in the air, magical in their content, waiting to be grabbed hold of and written into existence. The first thought is about creativity. I passionately write it into being, examining fascination as the sole model of sustainability for creative individuals. But now, the next thought is a little more heady and challenging. I think about how long I have kept my voice silent because of unjustified, unprovoked, unproven and complacent fear.
That’s a lot of fear to behold this early in the morning. The unjustified fear of “what if I’m not good enough?”, the unprovoked fear of “you’re just like everyone else, get over yourself,” the unproven fear of “what if I fail?”, followed by the complacent fear of “you really don’t matter.”
The reality is that the world wants each and every one of us to be silent, to not exercise our voice of opinion. If we don’t say anything, exercising our voice, we are in danger of effortlessly becoming slaves to the machine of consumerism and capitalism. Silence breeds contempt, not just for the machine we end up fighting, but at ourselves for not living up to our end of life’s bargain.
It’s taken me 32 years to realize that it matters that I exercise my voice, not for the sake of profitability, but for the advancement of humanity. At the end of my days, I will die. I can’t take my money, possessions, books, movies, cameras, computers, guitars and other things with me. I will die poor and empty-handed. My only hope is that I will die with the knowledge that I did the very best I could to make someone else’s life better.
The vision of my mortal end motivates me to speak, write and communicate things that resonate deeply in my soul and being. It helps to bring vision and meaning to my daily business pursuits. Most importantly, it drives me to want to connect to others.
As long as I wake up, I will be afraid. It is what I do in spite of that fear that will determine my daily and long-term success. My voice must be exercised and expressed, working through the doubts and nagging suspicions that I am full of hot air. As I press on to the grave, fighting fear, expressing truth, I feel more alive than ever. And that feeling of life is what is truly missing in a life lived in silent expression.