Writing on Wednesdays: say who you are

September 12th, 2012

Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time. It can’t help but be that. But more importantly, if you’re honest about who you are, you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world because that person will recognize him or herself in you and that will give them hope…Give that to the world, rather than selling something to the world.

Charlie Kaufman, London, September 30, 2011

I’ve been wanting to say something here about the importance of being generous with your person, even though it makes you feel vulnerable and uncool, but I wasn’t sure how it tied in with advice on writing, until I read those words from  Charlie Kaufman. Thanks to Eden for being generous with her person, and guiding me to them.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about since I posed with some friends for a silly group photo a few weeks ago. Or so I thought, when I threw my arms above my head showgirl style. It wasn’t until it appeared on instagram a few hours later, that I realized everyone else had played it straight with their hands demurely on their hips. As if the pose wasn’t conspicuous enough on its own,  the physics of it inadvertently took my minidress hemline from barely appropriate to borderline indecent. Just a “there she goes again” moment for those who know me, but it was a stranger’s amused comment that nailed it.

“That one is DOIN THE MOST! ” she exclaimed.

I had never heard that expression, much less knew what it meant exactly, but I loved it and adopted it right away.

Doin the most is the story of my life. The feeling–the fear–of being too much.

I used to think it was just me. But I bet some of you know the feeling too. Maybe we all know it, because being alive is so much. 

Self-control is necessary and good for getting along in the world. Self-oppression serves nothing and nobody. It’s also totally ineffective. The most out-of-control people I know are the harshest tyrants towards their own nature.

I don’t know whether it’s a process of maturity, or practiced exposure through writing, but I’m more and more okay with that part of me that gets away from me sometimes. It mostly amuses me, sometimes exasperates me — really, why can’t I be cool and mysterious — but it hardly ever shames me anymore. There I go again, being me.

Good writing doesn’t come from a place of self-satisfaction, but from self-acceptance. Be willing to say who you are, for what it may be worth, and trust that it’s worth something to someone.




16 Responses to “Writing on Wednesdays: say who you are”

  1. Jennifer says:


    What a great epitaph that would be. ‘Doin the most since 19__.’

  2. patrick says:

    You really should post the picture to go along with this.

  3. Janice says:

    Thank you. Sincerely.

  4. Laura says:

    First, I’d like to echo the first three responses here. Secondly, this is such a perfect post for me today. Kismet.

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Isn’t there a quote about growing older is about revealing who we really are – that is the process. Beautifully written, Kyran, and just what I needed to read. Thank you.

  6. Becky says:

    I loved this post! Reminds me of a book I read a few years ago called Captivating, by John and Staci Eldredge… it talks some about that fear that women have of being too much – and ironically feeling at the same time like we’re not enough.

  7. Paul says:

    Give ’em what they want – link that picture!

  8. Ann McFarland says:

    A friend and I were just talking about this very theme yesterday! I will forward your post to her. Yeah, and we do wanna see the picture!! Thanks for being YOURSELF!

  9. Bianca says:

    What a wonderful post. Thank you. 🙂

  10. Beth says:

    I love this deeply, Kyran!

    I was raised by parents who insisted on and bred in us deep self-confidence, and I am doing the same with my girls. However, it has been plaguing me lately. Self-confidence is actually not widely accepted. We are to be demure, humble, self-effacing and so on.

    That’s not to say, by the way, that I am not conscious of it – one of my favorite quotes: A good leader takes more than her share of the blame and less than her share of the credit.

    However, I don’t think self-confidence is a negative quality.

    Ironically, in several of my early assaults on you to attend #AWBU as well as our interactions since, I apologized for being my usual overwhelming self, so yes – I can relate to all you’ve written here.

    I’ve heard a similar version of doin the most – “That’s just what she do!” And I love it, as well. Overwhelming and overenthusiastic – that’s just what she do.

  11. Marie says:

    I feel like “too much” half the time – too enthusiastic, too wired, too exuberant, too full of what I would call interesting ideas – and the other half, not nearly enough. Two sides of the same coin, I’m thinking.
    Wasn’t it you who said, “Drop everything and run toward the person you are (or meant to be).” Yes. That. I love it that you “do the most.” And speaking of being generous, I thought you were very generous, sharing your authentic life experiences in your book.

  12. Taido says:

    “doing the most” (or any of its cognates – putting yourself out there, letting your freak flag fly, etc…) isn’t something of which i’m often accused. but this thought of simply being yourself resonates deeply with me today.

  13. So glad you linked back to this post again because I read it first on my phone and had trouble trying to comment…

    I love this. “There I go again, being me,” is going to become a permanent part of my lexicon. I love that I seem to be more ok with this as I age – but I almost always could use the reminder that I am me, and of course that’s who I’m going to be.

  14. Asha says:

    I agree with Patrick. And Thank God for getting away from yourself.

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