It appears I’ve changed my blog. I had to do it on a whim last night – it was like a moment I remember having once or twice as a kid. I knew I’d been growing out of a bedroom my parents had helped me decorate a few years before, but one day I walked in and felt downright uncomfortable there. And now I’ve gone and upended my “theme” like I used to do the furniture until I could beg for new paint.
I’ve been waiting all summer to do this. Not to put an awkward, plain, buggy skin on my blog, but to actually redesign it and rename it and re-envision it. But the blog as it has been – [to be honest] – represents a journey whose end I need to mark, for lots of reasons, and I haven’t known how. There is a story I need to tell, and people I need to acknowledge, some observations to make, a final confession or two to confess. I’m somehow a bit afraid of trying to do these things.
The story, like the title of this blog, is both highly dramatic and quite mundane, as stories that span two years and a lifetime are apt to be. It is a story that begins with me typing out words here that I was literally, physically unable to say out loud two and a half years ago. I was gagged by my own self-defense mechanisms, my own fear, my own pride; refusing to let others see my feelings lest I become vulnerable; refusing to ask for help lest I incur a debt. I sat down and began to type here as I emerged from a deep, deep depression, out of some intuition that it would return and that I would have to learn those skills – or succumb again to the airless despair of waking up and knowing your joy has been stolen again today. Perhaps to a worse despair.
I overcame my fears by thrashing about in spite of them for the next two years. It was brave and it was beautiful. There should be a montage, like a real film montage with inspiring music. Cue Sara Bareilleis, “Brave”. Cut to me moving to Syracuse and tumbling the whole story (of my life and breakups and depression and resolutions to stab at honesty, all of it) at everyone I meet – my new housemates in a solemn circle, my new boss and his squirmy toddler off to the side; weeks later at my soon-to-be-boyfriend on our accidental first date, over eggs in my kitchen. Man, can that boy listen.
Sudden flashback: bizarre moment of triumph as I watch myself yelling at a priest I barely know, because I have been treated so badly, and does she even understand that? She is stern and then she is crying from behind that collar, and yes, she does. Some of my anger that day is slightly misinformed, but I will always be absurdly proud of that girl, everything she has on the table, showing her hand.
Recurring, more recent scenes of raising my hand in class to speak my mind through dry mouth and racing heart. This is the part of the show where I realize I haven’t actually learned anything at all about being honest until I can say what’s important to me, even when I’m absolutely certain other people will think I am stupid or silly or out-of-touch or childish or Evangelical for it. Layers of pride I never knew I had, stripping away like this blurted-truth-telling was some kind of paint thinner peeling back the easier, shinier jargon and theories comforting and smothering academia.
Unfunny outtakes, because what is funny (years later) about growing up is that you can make a lot of progress – for you – but learning something new still means you are a tiny clueless baby at whatever it is you’re learning. There is the time I “express my (very important) opinion” by repeatedly shaming a best friend for following the blue Google-Maps dot through the city instead of Getting Lost In Analog Life With Me – and only later bother to care that maps are approximately his favorite thing in the world. Sorry, brother. I forgot that “finding my voice” didn’t necessitate shouting others down.
Moments of clarity – the music begins to lift and resolve – when people stop me on a couple of occasions, near the end of the school year, to tell me how much they admire my honesty in class, how much they wish they could say what they are thinking and contradict important people like I do. The greatest heroism of the whole epic is that I do not laugh in their faces for calling me “brave” when I’ve only choked back completely outsized fears to say something unprofound that probably made people mad at me. I don’t know how to respond, but I just tell people that I feel like I have to do it sometimes, to be true to my convictions. And in saying this, I suddenly realize: I have become an honest person.
Of course this isn’t the end of the journey, but a chapter with a certain emphasis has definitely come to a close at some point this year. This blog has been a layer in that story at every step, and everyone who’s read it has joined the adventure. You have all made me more a writer, more a truth-teller, more a person with every What-Have-I-DONE “publish”-clicking moment. If you are like
most blog readers me, you read lots of blogs and find it suspicious when writers tell you how important you are to them. But if you are a writer, you also know that we do it all for the attention and then claim to do it for our sanity – but only because it’s sliiiiiightly easier to get attention this way than by going insane. Thank you for paying attention to me. Thank you for commenting or retweeting or emailing if these words have ever mattered to you.
Some continuing observations and confessions are coming soon, but they will be part of some transitional things. I want to have a real big overhaul done here by the time school starts
(HAhahahahaha) for real this is very serious.
Some blog spoilers:
* shiny design things I cobble together while constantly wishing I could use crayons!
* more photos with my brand-new smartphone!
* I subject you to my overwrought fears about owning a smartphone!
* seriousness optional!
Some life spoilers:
* I move into a new apartment, completing my sixth address change in two years
* I find with a sinking sensation that the next chapter will be decidedly less exhilarating, consisting of life lessons in humility which is mostly code for episodes of minor confusion and failure
* Hopefully some of these failures involve crafts so I can take pictures and we can laugh
* I discover a quieter triumph, in learning to hope for change without hoping that everyone becomes like me.
[Does anyone have a clever title they'd let me lift, for a retooled little blog by a seminary student who mostly just likes cooking and parties, but also thinks about God all the time, and is very very busy, but deep down wants to live a simple life and pretend to be a monk, and is from the South but accidentally lives in the North, and rides a bike and is an Evangelical Episcopalian? Thanks in advance!]