In a Ted Talk by actor Ethan Hawke titled “Give yourself permission to be creative,” he suggests the following: “So, if you want to help your community, if you want to help your family, if you want to help your friends, you have to express yourself. And to express yourself, you have to know yourself. It’s actually super easy. You just have to follow your love. There is no path. There’s no path till you walk it, and you have to be willing to play the fool.”
Personally, I think I’ve come to know myself fairly well over the past several years, and the love that I must follow is, without a doubt, authenticity. As an Enneagram Type Four, The Individualist, living in an authentic manner is essential for my well-being. With that said, am I always successful at doing so? Of course not. Most of the time, I’m actually terrified of following my heart and allowing myself to be seen. I was raised in an atmosphere in which drawing attention to oneself was discouraged so as to not look foolish, so I guess it’s no real surprise that I grew up to be self-conscious and perfectionistic with a longing to be accepted and understood. But here I am—quite counterintuitively—following my love by putting this out into the world and being willing to “play the fool” because, at some point, it became more painful and difficult to do otherwise.