During last class’ writing exercises I generated “self-sufficiency” and “appearing strong both physically and emotionally” as some of my obsessions, and “being vulnerable or weak” as one of my fears. From there I came up with an idea for a writing prompt, which went as follows: imagine that I am always flexing (now realize that that’s what I do emotionally).
An aspect of my personality which I think is very distinctive is my refusal to show weakness, and therefore my constant bottling up of emotions. Poetry is essentially the only outlet I allow myself to indulge in, and even then, I set strict parameters for myself in doing so and continually try to maintain a toughness in my voice.
I’m beginning to realize that, because of this, my poetry has a tendency to be rather guarded. I’m obsessed with being impenetrable, and that part of me carries over into my poems. With regard to both my well-being and the quality of my writing, though, I’d reckon this is likely unhealthy. As such, I’ve been making a more defined effort to open myself up to my poetry and learn to be vulnerable, at least with myself. Of course, this is never easy, especially for somebody who so deeply values fronting as strong.
But yeah, I’m making a pact with myself to be more vulnerable in my work, even if that’s the work I never share. Feel free to let me know if you have any advice on how you all have learned to surrender yourselves more fully in your poems.
Also, I’m going to link a really fascinating article relevant to poetry below, check it out if you get the chance! It’s an interesting consideration of truthfulness, both in life and in writing.