I’m quite a private person, and as such, I rarely like to talk about my inner-most thoughts too publicly. Even starting this blog was a challenge for me. A stepping out into the unknown, exposing myself to potential ridicule. Thankfully that ridicule has not yet arrived, and to date, I have continued to dip my toes in the water, in very small, sporadic doses.
Recently though, I’ve been thinking it might be useful to share some more of my thoughts a little further, and show some of those cards held closer to my chest. For several reasons:
1. Capturing clarity of thought. In the new year, for whatever reason, I’ve felt a real clarity of thought, that I’ve experienced at times before, but not always held a firm grasp on. If I force myself to articulate some of these thoughts, and archive them – through a blog, perhaps – then I shield in some way against a future fuzziness of this clarity. I have captured thoughts in journals in the past, which I continue to do, but I now have an awfully/wonderfully large collection of them, and I am loathed to organise or index these books of mine, which makes re-finding thoughts a troublesome task.
2. Fostering trust and connecting the dots. I am an insatiably curious person, and I am aware that this cacophony of interests mean that I can come across as a bit ‘schizophrenic’ at times. (Schizophrenia is actually the incorrect term.) I am aware that my Twitter, blog, and even my CV don’t have particularly obvious threads running through them, not instantly, anyway. As a mathematician, this bothers me; We mathematicians enjoy ordered chaos. As a non-mathematician (a person?), this can be frustrating also – the feeling of being ‘misunderstood’. I used to think it wasn’t my problem if someone misunderstood me, and partially, I still do. However, I feel that I ought to at least express how I would like to be understood, and then it’s up to others whether they choose to pursue their understanding if they wish.
3. Clarifying my beliefs. In opening up my thoughts and beliefs on a public realm, I very occasionally find people read these things. And at times, people have commented (virtually or otherwise) on what I have written. A lady who I hold very dear to me recently commented on a blogpost I wrote, which not only made my day, but confirmed my intuition that I was on the right track with my thinking. Conversely, disagreements have ensured I question my initial assumptions, which has led to my thought either becoming strengthened through further evidence, or led to me rejecting my initial thought, in light of a more sound avenue of enquiry. I prefer to do this in person (as I do also with point 2 above), but some of the most intelligent and most wonderful souls I have met in recent times happen to live in lands far and away, which makes the in-person-thing not as easy (though I hope by no means impossible.)
4. Making my writing less glib. I love the word glib. My English teacher Ms D’Auban wrote it on my first GCSE assignment I ever handed in. I didn’t know what it mean at the time, but when I looked it up, I realised she was absolutely right. (I would love to have writing lessons with her again, but that is for another blogpost.) I feel that when holding back some of my more personal thoughts and stories, my writing has a tendency to lack sincerity and come across as a bit superficial at times. Here is an example of this on my blog, about a topic which actually genuinely fascinates me.
5. ‘Speaking our Truth’. At TEDxBrum last year, Rob Bloxham in his talk spoke of how every idea is worth sharing, even the bad ones… especially the bad ones! Because in doing so we allow one another other to stop worrying about having ‘A Good Idea’, and we become open to the free exchange and bouncing of ideas. On the same day, Tonya Bolton gave a moving talk about her innermost truths, to the entire theatre, and indeed, a larger audience online. She spoke of the importance of ‘speaking our truth’, and how in doing so, we allow others to do the same. I personally have been incredibly inspired by the honest stories of friends and strangers that I have read online. Thus in speaking more openly about my own thoughts and reflections, hopes and fears, truths and secrets, maybe (just maybe), I too give license to others to also explore their own such ideas.
But first, in anticipation of some blogposts about some of my innermost thoughts, a small reminder to anyone who happens to chance upon this:
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven, William Butler Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
(A special thanks to Sarah, who introduced me to this poem when I was 17.)