When you’re getting to know someone new, what does that usually look like? Building connection and friendship happens best when there is a dialogue that goes deeper than surface level. Asking open ended questions gives us the opportunity to gain insight into someone’s motivation, personality, and thought process. It’s how we begin to really see people for who they are.
For this prompt, first ask your readers one thought provoking icebreaker question (and answer it), and invite them to ask you anything in return (and answer in the comments)!
Here are some examples to get the ball rolling: What are the top three places you want to see before you die? What is your spirit animal, and why? If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? What is your best quality and your worst? What are your three loftiest life goals? Do you believe in good and evil? Why or why not?
So, here’s my icebreaker question:
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would finish writing my memoirs, which are currently shelved with no active plans to start writing again. Why is that? Well, for starters, I am afraid to share my truth. I sometimes think that if people knew my whole story – if I let them see the “real” me, they would judge me and vilify me for the decisions I’ve made in my past. What do I mean by that?
My teen years were rough: my dad cheated on my mom and they divorced when I was 14, after 23 years of marriage. My sister dealt with it by diving head first into school, my mom checked out mentally (and checked herself IN to the mental hospital to deal with depression), and I dove into boys, booze, and bad decisions. A year or two passed by, and I transferred my insecurities and addictive behavior into a toxic and controlling relationship with a guy 7 years older than me. We had terrible communication and our co-dependency declined into verbal (and later physical) abuse, and I internalized all the pain and found myself grappling with EDNOS (eating disorder, not otherwise specified) – my own unique syndrome of anorectic, bulimic, and binge eating. I also found that my storytelling and acting abilities went to great use as I hopped from one psychiatrist to another, collecting prescriptions for everything from anxiety medication to ADHD pills. Starving, pill-popping, and somehow still holding down a full time job and school, my world was being held together by carefully crafted defense mechanisms. When I finally found myself ready to escape my unhealthy relationship (at the ripe old age of 21), it wasn’t in a mature, adult way. I ran. I packed all my stuff, my dog, and ran away as far as I could from California, my ex, and my problems. At least, I tried to run away. Turns out, it’s impossible to outrun yourself – and that was my real problem. I couldn’t outrun my addictions, or my demons, and they followed me to the east coast where they bred and flourished, thriving in their own debauchery while I fell deeper and deeper into a rock bottom of my own making. I gave up on dating for love, and started dating in relationships of convenience with men who were older, emotionally unavailable, and wealthy. I didn’t want to feel anything anymore, so I tried to fill my void with shoes, handbags, pills, and quite a few other unsavory habits which I won’t go into here (saving it for the book, remember?)
There’s a lot I don’t remember, but what happened is this: somewhere in all my mess, I was saved by grace. Something much greater than myself (more loving, more powerful, more aware) starting working in my life when I called out for help with the deepest part of my spirit. This force that I call God (my word for it, you use whatever works for you: Spirit, Universe, Fate, Chance) started talking back to me through signs and answered prayers. As I spiraled out of control, I found myself wrapped up in the loving power of an entity which seemed determined to hold me together, to heal my wounds and carry me through the darkest of times. This was a great shock to me, as someone who had never had much faith, and I tried very hard to deny the power of this Divine intervention. However, there came a point at which the enormity of the miracles occurring in my world left no room for me to doubt: my personal experience was showing me that there was a path for me which did not lead to decay, death, and destruction. I was offered a few forks in the road, and though it didn’t happen all at once, I gradually started choosing the path that lead to hope, healing, and redemption.
So, if I knew I could not fail, I would finish these damn memoirs. I would expose to light the darkest parts of myself, my past and my story, so that others might find hope and healing in them as well. I would let fear have a seat at the table, but not the head. I would rise above my own insecurity and perceived judgement and tell the truth. Maybe it would set me free. I would find a publisher, earn a tidy sum, and find myself on Oprah’s Book Club list. I would become friends with the writers I admire (truth tellers, all of them) like Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and Glennon Doyle Melton, and I would tell them how much they have inspired me. I would sit and have coffee with aspiring writers, and tell them to feel the fear, and do it anyway.
I would write the damn book.
Now, I want to know: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Leave me a comment or come connect via social on Facebook or Instagram.
Loving you always, and liking you all ways.
Tags: blog prompts, writing challenge, writing prompts