Rebel On The Page

Do you consider yourself a rebel? Do you always make up your own mind, not giving a damn about what anybody else thinks? Do you get a little frisson out of shaking shit up?

I don’t.

Things are so easy when you just stay in line, when you play the role you’ve been cast for.

No one yells at you. Everyone likes you. Life slides by drama-free.

Things seem to go so hard for rebels. They’re always in trouble, always up to their neck in adrenalin and justification.

Gimme that easy, stress-free life, baby.

But the writing life will turn even the most shrinking of violets into a rebel on the page.

It’s the one place where your interior world has free, unfettered range. On the page you can be as enraged, vulnerable, lustful, controversial and unvarnished as you please.

Things you would never say to someone’s face come spilling out, and all the emotions that never make it into spoken word wash over you into the written.

Choices you would never consciously think about come roaring to life as your pen crosses the page, writing themselves into existence out of the dark fertile places in your mind.

And here is the terrible paradox for the writer who, for so many years, has been so content to quietly observe life, taking satisfaction in their perceptiveness and superiority to all those from whom they hold themselves separate:

Eventually, the writing forces action.

When you spend enough time in your own mind, examining your own thoughts, choices, and beliefs, you will, inevitably, be forced into a reckoning.

If you’ve been writing for years, you’ll start to notice themes emerging. You solve the same problem, it seems, every other year. You date the same person in a different body about a dozen times. You have the same argument with your mother with appalling regularity.

You start to notice that you have not been speaking on your own behalf.

That moment is one for the books. It is an ice-down-your-spine, stomach-in-your-mouth, oh-shit-there’s-no-going-back-now kind of moment.

Because once you know that your own lack of action — however innocent, however unawares — has led you to this place where you need that writing outlet so badly?

Well, action is the only way forward.

And, because it is a paradox, the writing that ripped open your cosy cocoon will also be there to help you choose what that action should be.

It might take several more journals, several more years, to come to the conclusion.

The action might be a grand, sweeping revolution of your entire life, or it might be a subtle shift, something that no one outside of yourself even notices.

Regardless of its scale, this rebellion from the page carries with it the seed of your liberty.

It carries with it the possibility of everything you’ve dreamed for yourself, and dismissed. It carries with it the makings of a life that you’ve actively chosen, and created on your own terms.

You might not think of yourself as a rebel in any outward sense.

But if you write to know your own mind, and look at yourself truthfully and with a keen observer’s eye, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’re a rebel on the page.