Breakthrough Tip 3/10/2014: You’re not the boss of me…

You were a rebellious kid – or an obedient one. It doesn’t really matter. Either way you were often behaving in relation to The Big Boss – a parent, teacher, bully kid, priest, preacher and though you may have not known it, the voice of Society. Maybe your favorite saying was “You not the boss of me.” Maybe, it was, “Did I get it right?” No matter what you said to the Big Boss, you weren’t following the knowledge of your own mind and heart.

Maybe you wrote – kept a journal, painstakingly etched out poems, sent masterpiece love notes to a beloved. Maybe your parents peeked into your journal, or a teacher found one of you poems and mocked it, or your beloved passed your love notes around the classroom. The stories and poems that had been only between you and your writing gift were ruined. You vowed to never make that mistake again. You stopped writing.

A few years ago, I taught a circle of teen-agers at the Aldo Leopold school in Silver City, New Mexico. I asked them how long they’d been writing. At least half of them told me that they’d written all the time, mostly poetry, when they were thirteen and fourteen. “Then something changed,” a girl said, “I don’t know what.” We guessed at the villains: too much screen time, pressure from Society, being already crazy busy. I asked them to write a dialogue with the Big Boss. Each kid’s Boss was different. Every kid’s Boss was a censoring tyrant.

Write two one-page dialogues. In the first, tell your Big Boss that they are not the boss of you. In the second, tell your writing that you have fired the old boss. Ask your writing if it will be the new boss. And promise yourself that you’ll never get fooled again.


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