I got a tattoo last summer, a week before the Enneagram Five song (“Atlas: Five” by Sleeping at Last) officially came out: “And now I want to generously lose this energy that I’ve been hanging onto so desperately.” It was uncharacteristically rash, the tattoo, but I knew I wouldn’t regret it because I had been writing that, though in different words, for years.
I have been writing to process for at least twenty years, on and off, and I found WIT right around the time that I was waking back up to writing after a period of semi-intentional abstinence. About a year and a half ago, my partner sent me a link to a WIT post she thought I would be interested in and added, “Hey, why don’t you submit something here?” She had been encouraging me to not only write more but to also begin sharing my writing. I followed her advice, and well, here I am. Writing for WIT has been one part of a greater movement away from hoarding and clutching and toward “generously losing,” or maybe generously sharing, myself.
I remember attending a writing conference my first year of seminary and learning, parenthetically, that I am not terribly fond of writing conferences. But I still have a quote written down from Sarah Bessey’s final talk: “Art doesn’t lend itself to perfectionists and misers.” When I heard those words, I felt a wave of good old-fashioned conviction; I felt like I had endured the rest of the day just so I could hear (and hopefully heed) that one line.
I am a miser through and through, but I don’t hoard things, gold or jewels or knick-knacks (though my partner does tell me that I’m a “document hoarder”); I hoard myself, my time, thoughts, energy, and discoveries—or I did. I did this not because I was ill-intentioned or because I didn’t care but because I was convinced that there just wasn’t enough energy in me.
In my mind, I was hoarding myself because I was saving up for some grand, final expenditure—I believed I could not enter into the world until I had enough to give, and I was afraid of wasting away before that glorious (probably fictitious) time came about.
All of my recent expenditures are attempts to let go of this glorious, fictitious “final expenditure.”
I am deeply grateful for the role that WIT has played in this process.