Now, I am not a writer, I have never studied writing, and only recently REALLY learnt how to rightly use ‘ then vs than’.
I could also make the every valid & factual claim that I am not actually a jewellery designer, because I never studied jewellery design at university (…I don’t even have a certificate from Sunshine TAFE for even Basic Object Design Lvl 1)..... The fact I have forged a career as the Stephen Bradbury of jewellery design with the @SamanthaWillsOfficial Brand, is for a different post, (possibly on ‘Imposter Syndrome’)…..But back to writing.
I love writing. I am finding myself writing much more, some I publish on here, some I write in journals, often of late I am writing short notes, almost in letter format to someone who became really important to me. The letters are words of all the things I wish I’d said to him. But even with all the truths they hold, I have no intention of ever sending them. Writing to me is fun, it is scary, it is challenging & while not a technically trained writer, I really enjoy it.
One thing I do take a great responsibility in, is the reach of the platform I have been afforded. The incredible community on this feed, the @SamanthaWills feed & the brand account mentioned above, and as such, I hold a self-enforced obligation to communicate with personal honesty. ---- I have to tell you, this is not always easy. I worry about how it will be received, I worry about publishing things close to my heart that people may / will judge me on. I worry about my parents reading things – especially when I talk about things that have hurt me or been a personal struggle for me, as I know this will hurt them. But on the flip side of that emotion, I also strongly believe, as Waldman’s above quote implies, if you are not uncomfortable & scared while writing, you’re probably not being honest enough, not sharing enough. So I often finish a piece of writing that I have written with the intention to publish, hold my breath, close my eyes, and hit the publish button….
This was definitely the case on the article I published last month on ‘The Force Has To Be Female’. The night before I published it, I discussed it with my girlfriends, wanting their opinion on it, together we work shopped the worse case scenario that could happen after me going live with it (catastrophic thinking much?!) and while they admired the writing, & most importantly, the message & the positive impact (we assumed) it would have with many women, they also knew my personal fear & worry in publishing it. --- It was very personal. I was worried what people would think. I was nervous how my Dad would read it - finding out that his daughter had been grabbed by a strange man on the street?
I was scared that people would think I was only writing it for attention. I was concerned it would be read with an angry tone, and as such I would be perpetuating the ‘angry feminist’ stigma that I am so acutely consciously trying to abolish from the actual meaning of the word.
My mind would flick through a myriad of arguments; ‘Just publish it!’ ‘OMG, don’t! are you fucking stupid?!’ ‘This is going to get you pulled through the ringer’ ‘You’re not a writer!’ ‘What makes you think you have any right to talk on such a topic’. ‘Fuck.’ ‘Do it.’ ‘Don’t do it’. ‘Shit.’ ‘Fuck.’ ‘Eeeeeeek!’. - My Mind
The next morning, I closed my eyes, held my breath, and hit the publish button. It was live, and was quickly going viral.
About 3 hours later, I received a message that there was a parcel for collection with my doorman. I went down stairs & signed as he handed a beautifully gift wrapped package over to me.
I waited til I was sitting at my dining table to open it. I am very rarely left speechless, but even sitting alone in my apartment, with no one to say anything to even if I had the words, I was left without them.
One of my girlfriends, Kirsty (KP), who I had round tabled with on the topic of 'to publish or not to publish' the night before, had delivered the book i am holding in the first photo; An out of print book, that was part of the first print run in 1949.
Its tattered cover almost disintegrated, yet still holding on nearly 70’s years on. The book ‘Women Are Here To Stay’ By Agnes Rogers focuses on ‘The Durable Sex’ – Documenting American women over the past 50 years; the expectations on them over that time, & the varying, versatile & demanding roles they were expected to play in family & society, + how that has changed & evolved over 50 years.
Along with this incredible gift from Kirsty, was a beautiful card, which in addition to some beautifully heart swelling words, she spoke to the fear I held in our previous nights conversation, about sharing the ‘Force Has To be Female’ article.
The following is a condensed excerpt from her full writings in the card, but what I wanted to share was:
‘Samantha….. I think what you do & who you are is so inspiring. I wanted to get you a small gift, one you may already own, it was stories of inspirational women that have changed the world, because I truly believe you are one of these women. …
…BUT… I changed my mind regarding the gift, because I found this little out of print book, about a time when ordinary women were dominating in a time when odds where against them. I think this is also inspiring. I thought it might be nice when you’re feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, to flick though this book, and see these women, in their element. As you are constantly are. – Love, KP’
I text Kirsty immediately, and had to tell her I had no words to describe how much it meant to me, & how appreciative I was, & how truly fucking thoughtful the gift, words, timing & gesture were. I told her I would have to comeback to her with a proper response when had the words to express it with the same consideration her thoughtfulness had had on em. I was so overwhelmed.
She replied by saying ‘oh don’t be ridiculous! Its nothing ! Just a little something I wanted you to have! You da best! Chat soon!x’
It wasn't a 'little something', It was so incredibly thoughtful, & the generosity of thought & words, instantly & completely overruled any doubt or fear I had about what people would think about my article. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was important to publish, & to speak out about it, with the hope that it would give voice, & courage to other women in doing so - and while I couldn’t have predicted the response the article actually ended up receiving, the power of KP’s thoughtfulness ( ‘small gift’ - in her opinion! - Breathtakingly thoughtful, in mine!) removed a HUGE weight off my anxiety levels.
The point of publishing this post, is to show the impact of thoughtfulness – Something you think is ‘a little gift / nothing at all!’ can change someone else’s entire outlook on something, it can calm self doubt, and with that not hindering your thoughts, it can impact the approach of a persons next step / project / venture. Thoughtfulness is The Butterfly Effect. It that is VERY powerful. So don't for a second underestimate it.
So – THANKYOU, KP – you amazing creature, you! Also to my loves Freya Grant & Carolyn Brown who where also my counsel & biggest cheerleaders pre-publishing (and always!), and my business partner GB, for the pre-read & the insistence to ‘say something’.
And the biggest admiration to everyone who commented, shared, messaged & sent love on the article. As I said above, I had no idea the response would be so widely received. It is because of the impact of your words and YOUR thoughtfulness that I am inspired to write more, to share more.
Rebecca Campbell wrote in her book Light Is The New Black, ‘Don’t write to teach or preach, write what you need to read right now. Because if you need to read it, the chances are that someone else will need to read it also’
The natural moments of discomfort & fear in sharing personal truths & experiences, I now treat as a true gauge that I am writing the things that might be most relative (and in hope, helpful / comforting) to the reader.
Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes. - SWx