Brick by Brick

There is a wall in front of me; it stands in the way of my writing, my creative soul. It towers high and casts a frozen spell, no life can grow within its perimeter. The wall does not budge when I push against it, It stands proud, like a bully with a puffed out chest, blocking my way. A fire breathing dragon, the bully spews ugly lies: Stop creating. Stop Writing. You’re unworthy. You lack what it takes. 

I built this wall, with the help of others. The bricks are thick and heavy, made from my doubts and fears, my insecurities. Scattered in are bricks made of rejection, failure, and broken dreams. The borders of the wall were laid by my helpers, the critics—and not the constructive kind.

The wall is too big for me to knock down. I have built it for too long, its foundation is married to the earth. Even with a bulldozer or a thousand men, it will not budge.

To tear it down, I must take the bricks off, one by one. Each stone demands to be removed in the order it was placed. This is painstaking work, as one can imagine. It requires strength and will, persistence and time. For every brick removed, I must climb among my fears and doubts.

The top layer is without a doubt the easiest to remove because it was recently laid. The mortar, not yet dry, puts up only a small fight and is effortlessly overcome. My hand lifts each brick to the sky before releasing it to gravity’s pull. I watch it tumble to the ground, crumbling on impact. This is the easy part, removing the bricks most recently laid. I do not dare think about the strength it will take to remove the foundation.

While at the top, I can see the road beyond the beastly wall. It has been blocked for what seems an eternity. 

The road is beautiful, narrow and windy, dipping and rising with waves. It stretches for miles and begs to be kissed by my feet. It is my road—a trail designed to be walked by me alone. 

The wall was never meant to block it. Brick by brick, I subconsciously built it with all my fears and doubts, with every judgement and destructive word I openly received.

The sliver of peace I feel when I remove each layer keeps me laboring. The feeling, while sometimes overshadowed by the sheer size of the wall, is enough to push me onward in the work to tear it down.

I wonder why we allow these walls to block our roads. Why are we careless in guarding our paths from the powers that work against us? Our fears and doubts are not rooting for our success, our life. Our critics live in seas of jealousy; their words are as hollow as the futile drums they beat. 

Dear creatives who walk a sacred path: be cautious of the bricks you lay. Build your walls on the truth that your work is wonderful, a beautiful offering for the world. A wall should never stand in the way of your life and purpose. 

I will stay here,  until my hands are raw and bloodied over, removing the layers of the wall I have built. Let those of us who have allowed doubt and fear, judges and critics, to impact our work stand witness and speak truth to the world. Receive only what is kind, constructive, and necessary to your creative journey. Walk your path in confidence and with the knowledge you are worthy. It is your road, and no one else's.