I have been writing off and on for a number of different websites for a few years now. As writers we need to find our voice; develop a persona that represents us on-line and in our work. For years I tried for the calm, reasonable, balanced person; someone who was wise and measured. It was ok, because sometimes I am like that, it represented a part of me. The part it didn’t represent was the part I felt was maybe a little more ‘out-there’. This part swears, pushes the boundaries, is unconventional, and was a part I feared was maybe too confrontational to be socially acceptable. I worried about alienating readers, I worried I would be ‘too much’ for some people. The result was a watered-down version of me. My humour disappeared and so too did my integrity. I was playing small to try and appeal to the widest range of people possible.
I took a break from writing for the last couple of years, I had a heavy study load and no creativity left for writing in this genre. My writing was focused on academic subjects and framed by the strict rules governing academic writing, I wrote my first piece after this break late last night, after a day of decisions around the name of this website and my therapy practice. I had looked at logo designs, trying to find something. All through this process I was walking the tightrope of trying to find something that would speak to others, appeal to them in a way that also explained who I was and what I do.
It became apparent that I could not find a name that encompassed everything I wish to achieve in my work. In fact, since I originally wrote this piece, I’ve revisited the name of the site another few times. I’ve settled with step-family dynamics because at the moment it makes sense as a vehicle to let people know where my expertise lies. Even within this field, I won’t speak in a way that resonates with everyone. I’m blunt, despite my efforts to be soft and gentle. Part of it is cultural, us New Zealanders are pretty straight forward. Part of it is personality, I’m very honest.
I will not be playing small to make sure I don’t offend sensibilities or ruffle feathers. I will be irreverent, I will on occasion use cuss words. I will make jokes about things people may feel we should not joke about. I will be me, my real self. I’m not going to try and be everyone’s cup of tea because even the most tasty tea will not be something everyone likes. I will make my best tea and enjoy sharing it with those who like that kind of thing. I need to walk my walk, so that I can support you to walk yours.
I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I will work with you so you don’t need to try and be everyone’s cup of tea either.