The Feeling or the Thought?
Why do we feel compelled to narrate our stories all of the time? What is it that motivates us? Isn’t it possible for us to simply live our lives without having to write about them?
I’ve often questioned why I feel compelled to write. I’d write short stories, but most of my writings would be contemplative, like this one. I’ve always felt compelled to share aspects of myself with the rest of the world. For a long time, I assumed it was just because I was a writer. Writing is, after all, the aim of a writer. But there’s more to it than that. It becomes obvious as I get older. Certainly something existential, but what isn’t, to be honest?
The reason we divulge anything about ourselves, I suppose, is to catch a glimpse of who we are, a chance to see ourselves. That’s something most of us don’t do very often, you see. We go about our daily lives without ever seeing our true selves. Sure, I’m a writer who considers myself to be both witty and creative, but I rarely get to see myself in my elemental form. In fact, we rarely do as a majority. All we see is a depiction of ourselves shaped by what we project out into the world, and those around us receive, interpret, and frequently judge us through the lens of their own experiences and knowledge as they box and label their perception of us, reacting with like, love, laughter, or even silence.
The truth is that we don’t have time to delve through our naked self, through this vessel that holds many incarnations. We do, after all, but it’s always about how others evaluate us.
We narrate our stories, I believe, because we wish to experience ourselves. It is a type of intimacy. If you want to call it that, it’s self-love, but it’s not the kind that influencers advocate. Making love is an act of art, and art is the transformation of the self into poetry. To love, to create art, is to stare into your nakedness, caressing both the rough and smooth regions, navigating through the muted and cast-off areas while prodding a little. To put it another way, to be kinetically authentic.
Every single thought, emotion, and action we have is a reflection of who we are. Expression encompasses not only our feelings and thoughts, but also who we are and want to be. The expressiveness, or as some call it, the poetry in motion, is going deep, leaving ourselves bare, and being able to trace everything that (we think) makes us.
That gets me to my main point. Which comes first: the feeling or the thought? Is this a case of the chicken and the egg causation conundrum?
I believe that the reason people write — or engage in any other form of artistic expression — is to have something to aspire to. Something to which you can hold yourself culpable. When what you say or write is truly what you feel or think (or how you express it), it becomes something you genuinely want to fully realize and conquer.