A (Love?) Letter To My Audience

This isn’t a breakup but it also kind of is.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I’ve been missing in action for a while and I have something to say. It’s mostly about me, but it’s also about us. What we take in and on without realizing. What we consume and are consumed by.

It’s about my journey as a writer, going in and deeper. It’s about growing in public and it’s about starting over.

So I guess I’ll begin.

Dear Audience,

I missed you. I missed how you made me feel until that feeling soured like every other unwell thing inside of me.

The problem wasn’t you, it was how important you became to me. You loomed monstrous and divine in my head, spreading wide across my skull until there wasn’t room for much else. Not for me. Not for art. Certainly not for the beautiful ridiculous things you and I came here for when I first started sharing my work.

What I really miss is that feeling of not knowing and doing it anyway. The more I learned about algorithms, attention spans, and all that’s required to live off what I love, the less brave I became. The less I wrote. The less I published.

I gave myself up in pursuit of what I thought you wanted. Of perfection. I tried so hard to put myself in a neat little box that I inevitably bored us both.

“I’d be honored to put all my scar tissue on display for you, what I can’t do is make it pretty”

I am learning that there are some things I cannot compromise and that my bravery is one of them. Screw artifice. Screw the proper packaging and posting between 5 and 6 pm because that’s when people are most likely to be checking their phones. Screw branding. I am not a brand. I am a person.

Blood and bone and sweat and sinew. I can show you that. I can let you under my skin, beneath my ribcage, and give you a glimpse of this wet beating heart. I’d be honored to put all my scar tissue on display if it helped you feel more at ease with your own.

What I can’t do is make it pretty. Or #Aspirationporn. I lack the technical skills and the narcissism. It’s just not in me. I can’t take something real and make it sweet and small enough for you to consume like valentine’s day candy on your morning commute. I can’t and I won’t.

Pretty is a picture. Posed, edited, altered. Fixed. Immobile.

I am none of those things.

I’m the loud fart from the back of the room in a yoga class. I’m the wrong thing said at the wrong time. I’m a flood of apologies trying to do better. I’m a fit of giggles during sex. I’m the snot dripping onto your lip when you really let yourself cry.

All I know how to do is be honest. So I’m gonna do that, here and everywhere else.

This isn’t a breakup. It’s not a breakthrough either — I had to do that work on my own. It’s more of a PSA:

Friends, I’m beholden only to myself and to the truth. The hideous shameful glorious redeeming truth.

I’m dead tired of writing only what I think you’ll want to read. I’m tired of trying to be big and great. I wanna be good. Steady and decent.

I wanna stand exactly as tall as I am, on the ground, with you.

That has to be enough.

Love,

Leigh

Byleighgreen.com | Freelance Editor | Essayist | Culture Analyst | Pronouns: she/they

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