Hi I'm Leonie, Collector of feathers, pebbles, words and adventures, with an overactive mind and a sunshine-filled heart.

This blog is all about: NATURE ~ RUNNING ~ ART ~ FOOD ~ LOVE ~ SELF-DISCOVERY

Screw you, self-censorship: How spilling my guts makes me a more successful human

Stop being the writer that you are obviously not and just be the writer you are.”

Reading Adii Pienaar’s post about being yourself in your writing truly struck a chord with me. This is something that I struggled with for a long time. I've always felt that people want or expect different things from me depending on how we are connected and what we have in common.

This means I tend to present a different part of my personality at different times: I am a turbulent waterfall of thoughts and ideas, yet there are numerous tributaries between my true, unabashed, honest thoughts and what ends up in the pool at the end. Each stream requires a different approach simply because of my perceived — and probably flawed — ideas about who is listening.

I'm aware I'm going through a particularly navel-gazing Aspie-thought-hamster-wheel period at the moment. And it frustrates me that my onion-layers are occupying so much space in my head right now.

I've got three blogs, a bunch of social profiles, a schizophrenic writing style — and a whole closet of hats to wear depending on what facet of my self is called upon to present ideas.

For example, I love writing about food, and creating recipes. But I don’t feel like a food blogger. I feel like some phony trying to be Emily von Euw. I feel like my voice is dismissed as irrelevant; strangled and sidelined by my own hand.


Because I try and present something that’s not completely who I am. I never lie; I just curate my digital persona, re-working the material for a target demographic.

Maybe this tendency to censor, to alter, comes from spending my working life in marketing. I’m always writing for a target market. But I’m beginning to realize that censoring parts of myself is detrimental to me as a person, and especially to the connections and friends I could be making, especially through writing. Why must I segregate my writing into boxes so that readers never really see the whole picture? What am I missing out on due to the choke hold I have on my own voice?

It’s confronting to give away a part of yourself when you believe it will alter somebody’s perception of you. But I’m learning, and gradually convincing myself, that the way I think people see me is all in my head, and what I really need to do is just fucking be myself.

Starting to speak from my heart about all the things I’m passionate about and not sub-editing myself for particular audience makes me feel both vulnerable and empowered at the same time.

It also makes me feel confident, real, proud and strong.

And I want to express those thoughts and feelings in words, in art, in pictures, in business, in every day life — and stop worrying about this impostor syndrome bullshit. Why not let everyone I come into contact with to know who I am, completely, as a complex sum of parts? I don’t want to play down any of these elements of self. I don’t want to meet someone professionally and feel weird that they know I write poetry. I don’t want to meet new arty friends and feel weird talking business.

It’s all just me.

I’m trying to actively push my own inner boundaries daily, and challenging myself to follow this guiding principle:

Don’t pretend. 

Don’t censor. 

Don’t shape-shift. 

Don’t be an impostor in your own life. 

Be vulnerable. 

Be your authentic self and the rest will fall into place.

I'm working hard to find my true voice amongst the piles of borrowed phrases, mannerisms, devices, looks and gestures. Sam Craft writes wonderfully about this here. Enough with the morphing I say. It's exhausting. 

Do you have similar issues with anchoring to a solid sense of self? 

This post was originally featured on Medium :)

And yep, that's a page from my art journal up there - all about layers, growth, and above vs. below. 

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