A Thousand Words
did it create a picture?
life: examined is an invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas, and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my nest in Portugal.
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I have a thousand words of a near-complete essay, but I shelved it to jot down this stream-of-consciousness piece.
It’s inspired by a conversation I had with friends today and conversations with a friend who was visiting last week.
I'm not sure where I'm headed; just letting it unfold with minimal editing. So keep reading and let's find out what I want to say.
I am who you think I am, and I'm not what you think.
Yes, I'm honest and direct but a bit reserved (guarded?) despite being steeped in a strong brew of emotions (must try to keep the lid on!) that I'm sure slosh out everywhere I go.
I practice restraint—not intentionally, but automatically.
A lifetime of learned behaviors takes time to wear away; I'm chipping and shaping the stone of myself each day. But sometimes, I revert to those ancient protection mechanisms—the survival skills I learned when I was just a wee one.
Does this seem vague? I suppose it is.
Owing to my love of poetry, both writing and reading, allusions, metaphors, and other poetic devices show up in almost everything I write. This newsletter is no exception.
Writing that balances clarity and playful ambiguity delights me.
I like writing this way and reading other writers who use similar techniques. My intention with wordplay is not to trick or deceive, only to prime the reader's imagination and allow them to fill in some of the blanks.
A writer's work is only 50% her own—the other half belongs to the reader and what they will make of the words, lines, and pages.
Does my writing style keep me at arm's distance from the reader, never fully allowing them in—yet just enough, so they think they know something about me?
Articulating my thoughts and feelings through writing is not hard, most of the time. I guess I peel back the layers when they are ready to be revealed and not before.
Do I go deep? I think I do, but I'm too close to the subject to get perspective.
Over my lifetime, I've been told that I seem so self-sufficient and confident I don't appear to need anything (or anyone, it's implied). This makes me sad, although I probably thought it was a compliment when I was younger.
In my twenties, I used to invert a cliche, saying, "I'm the island no man ever is." I thought that was a strong position, but now I know it’s a mark of disconnection—with myself and others.
There's still a part of me that's afraid to need something or someone lest I reach out and nothing is reaching back.
This fear is based on experience, yet I know past experiences won’t necessarily continue in the present or future.
I'm gathering evidence that I can lean back, and there will be a net. That I can ask for help—and allow all facets of myself to show up, even the tender bits I'm not keen to reveal.
Not that I’ll destroy my boundaries for the sake of revealing everything, oh no—that sounds awful. But I do recognize there’s some masonry to be dismantled.
Of the universe, we only know 5%. The other 95% is dark matter and dark energy. So how can we know—how can we reveal—more than what we do if the cosmos is almost a complete mystery?
Nb: I hope that wasn't too weird, or that it was just odd enough. Maybe it's what you needed to read, or perhaps you'll get up, scratch your head, and think—wow, what's up with Shanna?
Thanks for being a part of life: examined!
Favorite Portuguese to English Auto-Translation of the Week:
Elämäni: the new business that delivers you French women at home
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Until next week—be well, stay curious, eat your veggies, and thanks for reading life: examined