it’s on the tip of my tongue.

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You know that feeling where a word or a name is stuck in your mouth? Its when your brain has stored a fact away for safekeeping and try as you might to excavate it, it won’t come out when you want it to. You can attempt to force it out with verbal cues and other various forms of muttering in hopes that eventually the letters will form what you know them to be. But the more you force it, the further away the idea becomes. The only thing that makes the words eventually tumble out is time.

I’ve had writer’s block for two months. For eight weeks, I’ve stumbled around with the words I want to say on the tip of my tongue and it has been infuriating. When my big ideas float around untethered to anything it leaves me feeling unsettled. Writing them down feels like coming home.

It’s not like I haven’t had anything to say. There have been more than a few events that looked me straight in the face and said, “This matters to you. It might matter to someone else, too.” I always keep just one reader in mind and think of what I want to say to them in those moments, like we’re sitting across from each other sipping a latte and letting the truths we feel spill out. I wanted to create a place for people to experience honesty in a world of filters and feel like they belong.

Something has shifted since the last time I wrote something for this little tribe. I realized that people actually might read this. And that’s freaking scary. It’s a lot easier to be vulnerable and honest when no one is listening.

The last few weeks have been spent trying to put words to what I think God is walking me through and coming up short every time. I’ve written and deleted entries and keep stringing together pretty sentences to make you feel good, but every time I type something it feels forced. I’ve been too in my head about what I think I should say rather than going with my gut about what I know to be true. The words are there, but now it’s on me to make the choice about how I want to respond.

The thing is: you can’t choose if you don’t know what you want.

Whenever I meet a person in their twenties who can say exactly what they want I immediately assume they’re lying. Seriously. I can count on one hand the number of people I know who can put words to what they truly, deeply desire in life and have actually gone out and done it. These people are inspiring and annoying and are the Millennial unicorns of the world. They’re the people who add you on LinkedIn and actually endorse you for your leadership skills.

No twenty-something actually knows what they’re doing or how to choose that thing. Some of us are just luckier to stumble into situations that make our eyes light up more often than not; myself being one of them. But my passive way of letting the world dictate what I want has been a cheap form of my middle-class privilege that allows me not to care. Because I have the power to choose what I want, but some people in this country have big dreams and goals that they are passionate about and they still don’t have this choice because the world told them, “No. Not allowed.” And I’m left being the asshole trying to get rid of this gift because I don’t want to be honest with myself about what I actually want out of fear.

I’ve felt the pressure to be some kind of spectacular for you. I feel like I need to keep appearing like I have the world figured out and I know exactly what I’m doing and what to say in any given moment. But I’m none of those things. I have no idea what I want. Or maybe I do, but I don’t know how to put words to it yet. I barely even know where to begin. And I’ve started paragraphs and pressed backspace too many times to pretend that I know how to tell you all how to figure out what you want.

The words haven’t been coming because I’ve been too focused on waiting for you to tell me what I should do. I avoid choice because I fear the uncertain aftermath that maybe what I want to say doesn’t matter to anyone else and that nothing matters at all. Which is semi-true, but it’s allowed me to be passive in my decision making and live semi-satisfied. I feel good when others validate me and yet I’m left longing for something I can’t quite place.

Just like the words on the tip of my tongue, my big “wants” are taking form with time and experience. I’ve tried to force them out when I so desperately want answers but they can’t be rushed. I think my dreams are most pure when they choose to show up in my everyday. Like when I’m making tacos or bumping Chance the Rapper in my car and all the sudden I’ll just know. Call it inspiration, call it God, call it luck or whatever. But don’t ignore it.

Your wants/desires/dreams are legitimate. They were planted in you for a reason and you’re worthy of letting them grow into something really beautiful. We owe it to ourselves, our Creator, and even the people around us to be active participants in our lives. Otherwise, you’re just another asshole who has traded away your gift of choice for mediocrity.

I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that I’m sorry for not showing up and being honest sooner and that I am making the decision to make decisions. We all get this one life and I’m learning how to say what I want without shame telling me that we weren’t all created for more than this.


Author: Emily Flanagan

Life in the PNW and everywhere else. Let's get breakfast.

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