don’t hold me to these words

Shortly after publishing my last post, I took it down. I felt overexposed and, as I’ve done many times before, questioned why I put myself so ‘out there’ on this blog. (The irony that it was a post on the power of vulnerability was not lost on me.)

It happens quite often: as soon as I hit ‘publish’, I second-guess myself, or see a perspective that I didn’t before. Wait, do I really feel this way? It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read the draft. Once published, my words seem so…final.

I’m reminded of a very powerful women’s retreat I did back in 2010. The group facilitators requested that we not hold any woman to the words or emotions she expressed over that weekend. Once the words were spoken, they were to be let go. We weren’t bound to the pain (or joy) we experienced in those moments. Though we honoured the stories we shared, we weren’t defined by them. We were allowed the freedom and ability to change.

‘technicolor parvati’ by the amazing sonja picard. see more at

At my parents’ place, in the far corner of the closet in my old bedroom, there is a box. It’s filled with my old journals, spanning ages eight through my twenties. I think about that box often, because I have no idea what to do with it. I have little desire to read any of those diaries, but I keep thinking that I someday might.

I wonder how it would feel to burn all those journals – my stories, my identity, my past. Would it be incredibly liberating, or profoundly terrifying? (Both?) I sometimes fantasize about creating a ritual fire, a sacred ceremony to release my entire past into the flames. Become a true phoenix rising from the ashes. But it seems too great a risk to take. I am protective of the younger me, and her journey. Burning that journey burns her.

Maybe that box is on my mind because blogging seems to now be my very public diary. And once again, I find myself questioning why. On two occasions I’ve deleted a post, only to re-publish it a few hours later. Why not just keep them offline, if that’s what makes me comfortable? Because deleting some of my words deletes all of them. Hiding part of me is hiding all of me…the part contains the whole.

I’m really loving Dani Shapiro’s books at the moment. I just read a wonderful passage from her memoir Devotion, in which she quotes BKS Iyengar:

The moment you say ‘I have got it,’ you have lost everything you had. As soon as something comes, you have to go one step further. Then there is evolution. The moment you say ‘I am satisfied with that,’ that means stagnation as come. That is the end of your learning; you have closed the windows of your intellect. So let me do what I cannot do, not what I can do.

Writing is my evolution. Whether for my eyes only or made public on the Internet, it takes me to new places of awareness and self-discovery. But my words are never final; they shift and evolve with me. One post always leads into the next through the thread of my consciousness. The process is addictive and irresistible.

I’m still not sure why I share that process so openly. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I remember what I learned in my recent float tank experience: living my expression, and doing what I love to do, is enough. No questions asked. My goal is to live and write with integrity in the moment, knowing that nothing is static and brand new words are always around the corner.

31 thoughts on “don’t hold me to these words

  1. Aleya, you and I understand integrity as being countable-on for your word. To want to not be held to your word is inconsistent with your commitment to write with integrity. Is there an out in integrity that needs restoring?


    • hi narelle, i don’t think there’s an out with integrity. it’s just allowing for my feelings to change…which sometimes they do in ways i didn’t see coming. things are always changing and the words i write will reflect that. to me that’s more in integrity than pretending i feel something i don’t. thanks for your comment, i was thinking a lot about landmark when i wrote that post!


      • Did you previously give your word to something and now your feelings have changed? If you did, there’s no problem. Remember, the integrity distinction is about honouring our word (as distinct from keeping it). x


  2. Hello! Glad you liked my post on my blog, thanks for stopping by!

    I know what you mean. Having created my blog in December and only just managed to write for it, I too feel vulnerable for expressing my true Self. I want to be authentic and integral in what I write. However, there is this underlying concern of being judged for who I truly Am.

    I guess we are going towards an age where we will have to face this ‘fear’ of being vulnerable and let it go. Because the energy won’t support “fake-ism” and it will shout out loud “enough of facade!”

    Just about to publish a post where I may be way too honest. But I’m learning to be OK with it 🙂 take care!


    • very well said! i will check out your upcoming post – it’s great that you’re learning to be ok with showing who you truly are. blogging has allowed many of us to self-express in ways we couldn’t before, and thank god for that. thanks for reading and commenting – i enjoyed your blog and look forward to more. 🙂 aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No matter what you write you expose yourself – that is writing. Exposure is truth and truth in itself is never wrong. Writing my memoir I went back and forth on somethings feeling I was saying too much but I wanted to be completely honest even if I shared my failures, mistakes, moments of judgement, naiveté – I hoped it was for the benefit of the reader to be able to relate and see someone else learning from their actions. But there were somethings I took out mostly because they didn’t move the story along but also because they were TOO personal meaning no one else would relate or care or it would make the reader uncomfortable. A book is different of course from a blog – a book really is permanent!


    • When you get that twinge in your gut sometimes that means it’s better to not share – so don’t. But most of all – don’t beat yourself up about it! Post, delete, re-write, change your mind, contradict yourself. Don’t worry about letting go of letters on a page – let go of worrying about it. You’re still the same person whatever your blog says and whatever anyone cares to comment about it. Knowing you are always you is freedom.


      • there are so many jewels in your comments here. “don’t worry about letting go of letters on a page – let go of worrying about it…knowing you are always you is freedom…exposure is truth and truth in itself is never wrong.” beautifully stated. words are an expression in the moment, and moments are always changing.

        so exciting that you are writing a memoir – or has it been written? congratulations! thank you, aleya


  4. Had you been sitting close to me, I would pinch you!
    What do you mean ‘that box contains my life’?! – Listen to yourself, sweets! Your life is what you make it; not what you keep in the box. Living life is not something concrete or tangible; it’s what sustain your heart to the fullest. Remember your trip to Europe? Of course you do lol! Now that is life!
    Or have you put that in a box as well? Hmmm??

    I know you get what I’m saying. But there’s that stubborn critic inside. So you’re torn. It’s okay… It’s part of letting go, sweets… xo


    • I have a workmate who likes to keep scratches of paper or anything concerning work documents she kinda doubts. She keeps copies to herself with her scribbles and keeps them n her locker. Always saying, if something goes wrong, I have my notes. That IF word bugs the heck out of me! I keep telling her – When you feel you have done your best for the day, then that is it. When problems arise after the fact, deal with it when it comes. Why are you preparing for the problem when it hasn’t even happened yet? Why not prepare for anything that makes you feel better, most importantly, not work-related?-
      Each time we have our company shtdown and we are given time to clean our lockers, she has these massive files to destroy. While the rest of us are lounging and laughing, she is always busy by the shredder.
      Get my point, sweets?
      I’m babbling – haha! have a wonderful evening. xo


  5. You have moved many times, haven’t you? So why are you still keeping that box? As much as writing is important to you, so much more is moving forward. You have lived your life with the contents of what’s inside the box… let it go, sweets. You are here now and however the writing platform is, this is where you are. Experience life as it unfolds; not as how it unfolded before.

    Just note, too that when I say ‘writing’, it means a lot of things… including what you wrote in your previous post. =)


    • yessss…i have moved many times! and this year will involve some more moving! oh i know what you’re saying and you’re so right…but that box contains my life, it’s so strange to imagine letting it all go. i am feeling what you’re sayin’, wise words indeed. it’s time. ❤ thank you.


  6. Someone told me once that if you get that uncomfortable feeling after writing it means you’ve probably written something potent and chord striking. But I know what you mean. There are times still when I cringe after pressing the publish button. Lately that’s gotten less… I’ll have to think about whether it means I’m now used to the whole process and have developed a thicker skin or I’m not going to the kinds of exposed places I used to 🙂 I love your goal of living and writing with integrity.


    • ah yes, the cringing! it’s funny, i have a hard time reading my posts that are more than a couple months old. i feel like so much change happens in such a short time that i’m a completely different person than i was just a short while ago! i think it’s good to be stretched out of my comfort zone on a regular basis – but i look forward to the day when i’m not so concerned about what others will think or how my words are interpreted. that will just take its own time. thank you. 🙂 aleya


  7. Well, this is what writers do. We mine our lives for gold in order to understand ourselves better, and then hand the gold out to passers by in the hope that we are not alone. Maybe someone will be inspired or changed or moved to connect with us by reading our words, and when that happens! Bliss 🙂


  8. Expressing your feelings on your blog regardless of how emotional it is, is a sign of strength and not the vulnerability that we see as a weakness. It’s a reality that we all go through tough times and we all know very well the limits of our exposure on our own level. So, if people don’t like it, then let them be. I’m proud of you for expressing yourself because it takes a lot of courage to look back on your past and tell it as a story for the readers to learn from.


    • thank you for your kind words. i’m a private person in my day-to-day life so it’s wonderful to have this outlet where i can share my interior life a little more…learning from others as they learn from me. the more i blog, the more i realize that we – all of us spanned around the globe – are not so different after all! and being vulnerable isn’t necessarily comfortable but it’s the only way to let more of life in. thanks again, aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I did a burning bowl ceremony with my husband a few days ago, it was truly releasing. If you can’t burn it all, write down what you would like to leave behind and start with that 😉 With lovingkindness


  10. Dear Aleya,
    Your voice always comes through so clear, no matter the subject.
    Personally, I’ve burned those pictures (of my own), from journals, etc. in the fire of ritual and rebirth. I’ve given them away… they are gone. Honor every aspect of you. Do not live in regret. Your precious decisions are yours, and not final. I very much appreciate the BKS Iyengar quote! Never done.
    ❤ Ka


    • thank you ka. ❤ i know that box of journals can't stay where it is forever, and the thought of lugging it around with me wherever i live is exhausting! i think some sort of ritual/ceremony is definitely in order, so i will see where that leads…time to make some major space for 2015. 😉 xo aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your honesty in this post about your vulnerability is also a sign that your vulnerability is alive and well! My blog has also become more like a diary than I would have anticipated. I also took down a post that I deemed to personal ( a first for me I think, may have done this once before?) but I am not sure if it was too personal or if the lack of commentary made me really nervous. ” Was I being judged or were readers shocked, etc. Bottom line for me is that writing has added so many dimensions to my life and I learn so much more about me in the process. I also agree with you regarding the evolution. In fact, in my blog story page I wrote that I may keep editing and revising some of my material as I evolve. I called my blog a living, breathing document. You my friend are a living breathing person who has the right to create and live and make choices on your behalf.

    love and freedom to be,


    • beautiful linda, thank you. ❤ i love that you call your blog "a living, breathing document". i think i've read that on your site before and it's a perfect description. i know what you mean by lack of commentary…on the posts where there doesn't seem to be much engagement, that's when my mind starts doubting and making up stories about who read it what they thought, and why they didn't comment – phew, it's exhausting. but it brings me back to myself and my own intentions. i hope you are having a wonderful february so far. here it is miserable and rainy and i'm imagining travels to far off lands…xo

      Liked by 1 person

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