Today I’m wrestling with a common question: go to a poetry reading or not? One of my favorite monthly ones is happening this afternoon, and I want to go–but I’m not having a good day.
Not having a good day, in this case, refers to my bipolar symptoms. The depression and disorientation are up for me right now, and it is hard to focus. When I am like this, I feel a bit alien and more socially awkward than usual. How much of this is my perception and how much actually affects others is hard to determine.
Would going to the reading do me good? Yes, almost certainly. It’s an opportunity to connect with the poet I am and disconnect from mundane worries.
So what’s trying to keep me away? Ego, of course. Not wanting to show my vulnerability. Wanting people to like me.
Let’s break it down, however. Some of my poems that touch people the most are my most unguarded ones; the ones that expose me. One of my favorite things to say to myself when I am blocked is “When all else fails, tell the truth.”
I’ve written it before, but for me it bears writing again: my best qualities come forth when I offer myself to the world, just as I am, and let others decide what to make of it.