Not Alone

So…in the last 24 hours, the 30 to 50 of you who usually visit have had some extra company.  My blog has had about 500 more visitors than usual, thanks to the kind and gracious Rob Lowe’s sweet twitter comment about my latest Book Report.  I can’t put into words how I felt when I saw that tweet.  It was his book, for crying out loud.  I read his book and said what I thought.  I have no way of knowing how many people tweet him every day, but the man has more than 300,000 Twitter followers.  And yet, one little tweet from little me made it to Mr. Lowe’s eyes, and he read my little blog, and sent it out to the world.  “Thank you for such kind words,” he told me.  Just because I shared what I thought.  Surreal.

(I feel very awkward with Twitter vocabulary.  Am I using the verbiage correctly?)

As I occasionally do, I have been wondering lately why I do this.  Why keep a blog at all?  What good is it to anyone?

I write because I need to.  I share because it must get out, be set free into the world, or it will eat me alive.  I don’t know what “it” is.  But it must be released.  And so, I keep blogging.

And every now and then, something I write will elicit a small response.  Someone will leave a comment.  Or email me.  Or mention something in person.  And they cared.  They read what I thought; they heard me.  And they wanted me to know that they connected.  That somehow, my desire to talk about what I think and feel helped them somehow.

That’s why I have come to love autobiographies.  It’s not easy to share what you truly feel, who you really are at the deepest level.  When someone else is brave enough to take that step, and I connect to it, I feel an intense desire to tell them.  I want to say, “I hear you.  I’ve felt that, too.  Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone.”  Walking their journey has been healing for me, somehow.

Journaling is beautifully comforting.  Praying is wildly important.  But sharing is an act of healing.  I write painfully, terrifyingly honest paragraphs because I have experienced the exhilarating relief of “getting it all out.”  Out where someone can see it, if they want.  It’s the only way through, that I know of.  In the moment of writing, bravely and honestly where someone can read it, it’s all about catharsis.

But after the writing, here is the biggest lesson I’ve learned:  You never know what will find someone.  When I type late into the night, with the tears streaming down, and changing my mind ten times before taking the brave step to click “publish”…  It never fails; I am always certain that is the story that will send my few readers running for the hills.  It was too personal.  Too honest.  Maybe I should take it back; delete it before too many people read it.  But it also never fails…That is the story that will cause someone will thank me for finding them in my writing.  “I hear you,” they say.  “I connected.  Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone.”

And so, dear visitors, thank you for reading.  Thank you for allowing me to share.  You are not alone.  We are not alone.

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What do you think…

…of the new look?

A Beginner’s Fast

Starting now, I’m taking a 24-hour technology fast.  No t.v. or internet until Monday morning.

If you really need me, call me on the phone.  It’s that funny little thing with numbers on it, and when you put it to your ear, you can hear your loved ones’ voices.  🙂 

After three snow days and a weekend, I feel like I’ve binged on the bright, enchanting screen.  T.V. and internet are like junk food sometimes.  They don’t make me feel good, too much makes me feel decidedly bad, but I just can’t stop once I’ve had a taste.  So I’m taking a break.  Just a quick one.  At some point I think I need a longer break.  Especially with the t.v.  I think I need a week without t.v. sometime soon.  But at this moment, a day might be all I can take.  You can do anything for 24 hours. 

So I’m going to enjoy the silence.  Or listen to some music.  But I won’t be checking my email, facebook, or blog.  I won’t be reading other peoples’ blogs.  I won’t be watching t.v., t.v. on DVD, or movies. 

24 hours.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lisa Leonard Designs

And now, for something a little bit lighter and more fun…

Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly is having a giveaway!  The prize is a gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs.  If I win, I’m getting the open circle bracelet.  Or the be still necklace.  Or the sweet & simple birdie necklace.  Or the…  🙂 

Go to Walk Slowly, Live Wildly to enter!

Passions

Well, crapola, I wanted to be asleep by now, but I feel like blogging! 

(Over the weekend I bought a book called Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, by Matthew Elliot.  Does that not sound like just the book for me?  🙂  I’ll let you know how it is…)

(And…”crapola”…isn’t that a blast from the past?  I think I started using that word when I was about 12?  It hasn’t made an appearance in awhile!)

Not long ago, I briefly talked about seeing the big picture.  I mentioned that at that moment, I felt I could see the big picture more clearly than usual.  Well let me tell you…I can not!  The entire time I was feeling unbearably discontent with everything, I had this nagging feeling that nothing would come of all my ranting.  I had a little voice telling me that the “big picture” was deceptive, that I was still seeing a small window, and from a very specific perspective.

Well, a few weeks later, of course my perspective has changed a little.  Life changes, things change, perspectives change.  And I am here to tell you, what I saw back then doesn’t quite match up with what I see today.

I think I need to get into specifics, to explain myself clearly.

At that moment, when I wrote about the “big picture,” I was thinking about how wonderful it would be to not be a teacher, to have a career in music.  Because music is my one big passion, my one big dream.

As though there were just one.

The truth is, my passion for music is real, and just as big as I said, and it’s a part of my life and my personality every day.  But I am passionate about many things, and when some get ignored or rejected, others seem to get bigger.  And since the end of a certain relationship-that-shall-not-be-named, (*giggle*, there is no bitterness, I’m just being dramatic!), I’ve realized how “fine” I am on my own, how completely I would accept a life of singleness, if that’s what God has for me.  Which led to almost an embracing of that thought, an assuming that I will be single. 

Which led to a single, startling, scary thought:  “If I knew for certain that God is calling me to be single…that I’m definitely not ‘waiting’ for that season of my life to begin…I don’t want to be a teacher.” 

Which led to another, more scary thought:  “I don’t know what I want to be.”  Which led to an extreme assumption: that there is one thing that I am supposed to “be,” and if I figure out what it is, all my problems will be solved and my life will be perfect.  Which led to my thinking that I am supposed to “be” in the world of music. 

And yes, if there is only one passion that I get to keep, it would be music.  It has to be.  I can’t live without it.

But I don’t think there is only one passion that I am supposed to keep!

 

Today is a “homebirth day,” it seems.  I watched a video from Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly that is a beautiful slide show of her daughter’s birth.  And as I commented to Sara, I think homebirth is in my soul!  🙂  And then on 18 Kids & Counting tonight, I watched the first Duggar grandchild come into the world via–surprise!–a homebirth.  I can’t watch a birth, see pictures of a birth, read or hear about a birth, without hearing a voice deep inside me saying, I want to do that!  I am not married, I am not pregnant, I don’t have any children…there is no reason for me to be as “hooked” on birth stories as I am.  I was reminded that birth…homebirth…mothering…well, music is definitely not the one thing for me!

Tonight I was reading through some of my favorite blog posts that I’ve written, and there are definitely some diverse passions there!  I read a post that I wrote where I said that thinking about homeschooling gives me butterflies in my stomach.  I read a post about birth that is more than most girls in my position know about birth.  I read a few posts about how I feel about my siblings.  I read posts about cleaning.  I read posts about books I’ve read.  And movies I’ve watched.  And t.v. shows that I’m into.

And, yes, I read many, many posts about song lyrics, bands I’m into, singing, playing instruments, going to concerts.

 

So, off the top of my head:

MUSIC: singing, playing, listening to, discovering new bands to listen to, going to concerts…

FAMILY: honoring my parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles, being best friends with my siblings, the value of accepting and encouraging one another, the value of marriage, the value of children…speaking of which…

CHILDREN: homeschooling, homebirthing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, reading to, singing with, listening to, lovingly ignoring, hugging & kissing…(yeah, when I have my own kids, I’m going to have to acquire some more passions that would fit with the teen years)…

STORIES: books, books, and more books, movies, t.v. shows…

HOMEMAKING: cleaning, cooking, creating a space that is warm and comfortable and encourages relationships…

FOOD: green smoothies, new recipes, clean eating, all things fruit & vegetable…and the occasional box of Lucky Charms…

 

I look at that list, and I think, “Well crapola, I really don’t want to be a teacher!”  (Let’s just keep using the pre-teen expletive, shall we?)  But I think how much I love to be on stage playing music, and I think about how much I would love to be a homebirthing, breastfeeding, homeschooling mama…and those two things are at war with each other, if I let my imagination get the best of me.  The truth is, in reality, those two things are going to find a way to coexist in one person, because neither one is going anywhere.

I know that living without a musical outlet sends me a little bit ’round the bend.  I’m aware of that, and it’s something I have to deal with and keep tabs on.  (Oh, that sounds so boring!  I love needing a musical outlet!  It’s a pleasure to deal with that part of my personality!  Doesn’t that sound better?)  And music is, most definitely, my one thing.  But it is not my only thing.

 

So, then, I don’t want to be a teacher, at least not a public school first grade teacher.  What could I do, for money, related to any of those things up there?  Maybe I can publish my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel?  (If I have time to actually write it.)  Maybe I can help choose the music used in movies and t.v. shows?  (What are those people called, exactly?)  Maybe I can be a midwife?  (No, I didn’t think so either.  If I were the medical sort.)  Maybe I should be a Natural Family Planning counselor?  (No…)  Maybe I can be a professional triangle player…

Maybe I can find a job, related to children, using the education I already have, that fits with the way I think kids learn and grow best.  One that doesn’t make me panic and think: WE’RE RUINING THEM!!!  One where I can encourage, motivate, and inspire kids to take charge of their own learning…

I think I had a job like that last year…  🙂

 

Okay, now tell me honestly.  Just how crazy do you think I am right now?  🙂

Blogging About Something Besides Myself

Hey, everybody, guess what!  My bloggy experience has led to a new opportunity.  I am now writing for the Young Adult blog on my church’s website!  So, my blogging is not all about me anymore!  🙂

However, I have to make sure that those articles have a point, make sense, are clearly written and carefully proofread.  Hmm.  This might be harder than I thought…

But seriously, if you want to go check it out that would be great.  The Young Adult group is basically what other churches might call their “singles” group.  Our events are targeted toward men and women, single and married, in their 20s and 30s.  Whether or not you fall in that demographic, feel free to come read the blog!  It’s a little harder to comment, so feel free to email me feedback if you want.  Or just read and enjoy and don’t give feedback at all, that would be just fine too.

Again, here is the link, just click on this sentence to go to the Young Adult blog!

Dealing with the crap. Alone.

Screw it.  I don’t need a whole week to confirm the purpose of this blog.  Here it is:  I live alone.  I don’t do well alone.  The opportunity to blog buffers the “alone” in my life.  I need somewhere to vent and tell my stories and get out my frustrations at the end of the day, and there’s no one here to do that.

So, I’m not going to succumb to pressure to blog every day, or to be completely positive all the time.  I’m going to trust that if I get all the depressing and tortured crap out of me in this blog, you will remember what I nice person I really am.  🙂  I am also going to trust that you understand that I write this blog for me, for my own sanity, and that I do lots of nice, unselfish things in my life, but this isn’t one of them.  You can also find good things, and pictures, and funny stories, and quotes, and whatnot.  But this blog is about getting out all the strong emotions so that in real life, I can treat people kindly.

So, here is the discussion that’s been brewing inside me for five days…

There is a game that we play on this planet called My Life Is Worse Than Your Life.  You’ve played this game, I know you have.  But you probably don’t realize you’ve done it until the conversation is over.  It starts with someone trusting you with their problems.  You start the game when, instead of being supportive, you respond by telling them similar problems in your own life.  And it goes back and forth with a little subtle, almost unnoticeable, competition.  “But my life is worse because…”  “No, no, my life is definitely worse because…”

I get sucked into it on the following topics:  marriage, motherhood, money.  The three m’s.  Do not tell me that since you got married when you were 31, you know all about what I should be doing right now, you think I’m so young and I should be having fun, etc.  I have been waiting a long time for this, despite the fact that I am “only” 27.  Do not tell me that your life sucks because you don’t sleep through the night anymore.  I would give my right arm to have a baby waking me up in the night.  Do not tell me you are broke because you only have a couple hundred dollars in your checking account and you had to transfer some from savings.  I am not blessed with natural skill in this area, and I am still trying to learn how to manage my money, and not live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Basically, do NOT respond to my problems by telling me why I’m so lucky to have these problems.  NONE of us is any more or less “lucky” than anyone else.  My problems are problems for me, and they are stressful, and you can’t fix it by telling me why I’m so “lucky.”  You just piss me off more.  And don’t tell me, oh, you just don’t understand yet, you’ll know what it feels like when you’re married or you have kids or whatever.  Do you have any idea how condescending that feels?  Like I’m not entitled to stress because I’m not married yet???  Like even though I’m 27, I am not to be considered an adult, but a child who doesn’t know the first thing about life???

I have been through a lot in my life, a hell of a lot more than some people who have been married since they were 20.  I was more responsible at the age of 17 than many 30-year-olds.  I had been through more relationship crap by my 21st birthday than I hope most people have to see in their entire lives.  Do you want me to tell specific stories?  Because I could, but you wouldn’t want your children to read my blog.  My childhood crap and my college boyfriend crap has made me strong and mature, and grow up faster than anyone should.  So if I needed a few years of peace, if it takes me just a little longer to get from 21 to married with kids, don’t look at me like I’m so innocent and naive!!!

We all have crap from our lives, but the only crap I know is my own.  So please, just let me yell about it here, and then I will be able to promise you that, to the best of my ability, in real life I will be supportive when you come to me with problems.

See?  I don’t do well alone.  I get selfish and angry.  If I have someone to take care of, I’m on top of the world.  If I have someone to play with and argue with and do things with, life is good.  But I don’t.  I wake up alone.  I go home alone.  I eat dinner alone.  Whatever happened to the days when a girl went straight from her father’s house to her husband’s house???  Mark my words.  In 70 years, you’re going to see that from the time I started living alone to whenever I get married, this will be the darkest, most unhappy, most personally challenging part of my life.  Not because childhood was easy, or because marriage will be easy.  Just because this is who I am, and none of it is easy, but this is the only part that is alone.

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