The most honest truth I can write today is that I am a key and there’s a wolf trying to kill me.
I am a key. An oddly shaped piece of metal that is essentially useless everywhere in the world except for the one lock it was designed to open – and in that space it’s genius, critical and profound.
Just like all the keys on my key ring – I am required to hold my uniquely crafted shape to be the key the world needs me to be. If I try to change to fit in, if I file down my edges or shave away parts of me to make other people feel more comfortable then I’ll lose my capacity to open the locks I was created to open.
When I realised this many years ago it was a divine permission note from the heavens, a comforting guide letting me know I needed to be completely, fully, unapologetically myself to live the life I was born to live. When I don’t fit in, I remind myself that I’m a key – I’m a key designed to unlock wonder and that’s worth not fitting in for.
But every key is stalked by a wolf – and I am no exception.
The wolf is the enemy of my soul.
It’s a darkness, an invading self-hate, a fear, a voice that isn’t mine – a hunting wolf.
The wolf has one mission – to stop me from unlocking whatever it is in the world I was born to unlock.
In a way I wonder if the wolf is my own misguided fear, trying to protect me from danger by taking me out first – punching me in the gut before the world can do worse.
The wolf will use whatever it can to stop me, childhood trauma, bullying, fear, mental health issues, self-doubt, distractions…there are no rules in the game of killing.
It’s the attack-bias that really has caught my curiosity the most over the years.
I run like a duck that’s speed-waddling – it’s hysterical – I have no athletic ability whatsoever – but the wolf doesn’t care.
All music sounds amazing to me – I can’t tell if it’s in tune or off key – I will white-girl-dance to all of it – and the wolf doesn’t care.
But when it comes to writing, when it comes to articulating the way I see things in the world – it’s as if all hell breaks loose.
Not the smartest, prettiest, richest, coolest, skinniest most talented person in the room? The wolf doesn’t care – he doesn’t tell me I’m dumb or ugly or pathetic – he sleeps through it all…until I sit down to write.
Suddenly I’m standing in front of my locked door, key in hand and he’s there, teeth bare and fire in his eyes.
I’ve never known self-doubt like I do when I sit down to write – when it comes to giving the voice in my head expression everything changes.
His favourite weapon – fear.
It’s like the word Fuck – unoriginal but you can’t go past a classic.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a timid person by nature but when I sit down to write I am terrified.
Specifically, terrified of people.
(Even as I write this now, I have pictures in my mind of people raging against me).
I’m terrified of comments, opinions, conflict, judgement, consequences and being excommunicated.
I’m terrified of online bullying, online shaming and cancel culture.
I’m terrified of people picking up the phone to call and abuse me, nasty emails, unkind gossip, hate mail, ugly notes being left on my door.
I’m terrified of being attacked. People yelling and screaming at me. Calling me a liar.
In my anxiety-riddled mind I am public enemy number one – and the police are banging at my front gate.
A lit match being thrown into dry bushland – that’s what putting my words out in public feels like.
I’m waiting for the fire to take hold and everything to burn to ash.
It often takes me hours and hours to put a post together.
Fighting back tears.
Anxiety spiking. Dread creeping close.
The wolf desperately doing whatever he can to kill me – because I am a key.
This is why I know I was born to be a writer.
This is my confirmation that I’m doing the right thing – I’m climbing the right mountain.
When I write I’m the bravest person I know.
There’s no other area in my life where I feel fear and struggle like I do around writing.
The attack, the insanity of it all gives me courage.
The courage to keep writing, to keep unlocking, to keep being brave.
[Art by Frank Donato]