I have a pit in my stomach, because I’m going to do something that I don’t ever do. I’m going to go public with how I think and how I feel and the things I’ve been working through this summer. I started blogging a few weeks ago but only let my very closest family and a few safe friends know what I was up to. It’s really, really hard to bare our souls. I mean, we all have stuff. Everyone I’ve ever known, at least. Thankfully, I love to write. I fall into that category of people who feel a whole lot more complete when writing is part of my everyday life. It’s a safe place for me to work through my worries and celebrate my joys. Ever since I was a little kid I have been deathly afraid of being embarrassed in public. Early on I learned that ‘holding back’ was the safe route, albeit a little bit of a lonely route at times. So for a long time I’ve emotionally done just that. I have learned to how be social in crowds, but a lot of the time, I’m so nervous trying to be social that I get home and sit and wonder who the heck I really am and why I’m trying so hard to make other people happy with me. I have a few ‘safe’ people in my life, who know and love the real me. But it’s hard to relax just being myself. I love having a daughter, though, because it gives me perspective on what is reasonable to hope for in myself and what genuinely matters. Though I am brutally hard on myself, if Kate were in any of the situations that I find myself in, I would only ask that she be herself, whoever that is, and not worry about what others would want of her. I only ask that she stay true to what she knows, whatever the context might be and wherever the current might flow. If she agrees with everyone, I want her to be able to enjoy that connection. If she feels opposed to something, I pray her backbone will be strong and she can do what she knows is right. I love dreaming of who she is and the amazing strengths Kate contributes to the world. And then I turn the mirror to myself. And I wonder if I am being a good model for her. Am I being me? Am I okay with who I am no matter what the world around me thinks or values? And it was thinking about these things this summer that brought me to the point of blogging. Actually, it first led me to search for a journal. When I found one that I loved, I bought it and began to write. Immediately, it was as if a huge burden was released. A girl who carries a lot in her head absolutely has to have a place to set it down, and my journal became that the instant I penned my first words. A few days after beginning my journal, my sister Amy asked, for about the hundredth time, if I was ready to start blogging. I looked at her like she was crazy but then she added, “No one has to see it, you know. You can blog but only share it with a few people. Don’t you think it would feel good to share your thoughts?” And I couldn’t argue with that. She sat with me at the rustic table at the lake house and basically did that routine where once a kid says they’ll go off the diving board, a trusted grown up accompanies them onto the board and pushes them off. Deep down, the kid wanted to make the jump but all of a sudden, when the moment of truth came, it seemed too scary. Sometimes we all need a little push. So Amy and her husband gave me just that – enough of a push to help me get over the initial fear of going off the board. And with my first jump, though it may not have been very pretty, they cheered wildly for me. Each of my first few jumps have sent the crowds (my completely unbiased family, of course!) jumping to their feet in standing ovation, begging for more. This is vaguely familiar as I remember my kids having their first go at diving off the diving board this summer. Honestly, each of them looked like a hot mess falling into the pool, but we screamed and cheered so loud that they just had to keep going. Since my first blog post and my adorable cheering section shout outs, I have jumped on my own a few times – with each blog post I still get butterflies in my stomach, but I remind myself that I’ve done this before. It’s hard, but I keep trying. And after writing a few posts, Amy and JT began hassling me all over again about going public with my blog. I declared that I would NEVER let that happen. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone caring about my deep thoughts and it’s even harder for me to imagine the courage it would take to share my real self – the good, the bad, and the ugly – with anyone who did happen to read it. So for the last few weeks I have been telling Amy that no means no and PLEASE stop asking. Then, my mom got me a book. It’s called “Carry On, Warrior – Thoughts on Life Unarmed” by Glennon Melton. Glennon writes a blog called “Momastery” and I have found it incredibly inspirational. With that serving as the background, I dove right into the book and have found myself pondering a lot of her ideas. She addresses the difficulties of life, the dangers and beauty of being real, and makes me feel like it’s okay that I don’t have it all together. Going through the book, I came to a chapter called “On Writing and Dancing” and I couldn’t help but feel like she was talking to me. In this chapter, she says…
“If, anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write. Write as a gift to yourself and others. Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the ‘right’ words. It’s just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you write your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone. And if you’re a really, really bad writer, then it might be most important for you to write because your writing might free other really, really bad writers to have a go at it anyway.”
And when I read that, I thought… “Ugh. Maybe Amy has a point.” So here I am being really really REALLY brave and letting you guys know that I have a blog. I don’t expect any of you to read it, comment, or care. Honestly. I just want to say that it’s there and maybe if you’re having a hard time falling asleep tonight and can’t find anything better to do, you will want to read what that crazy blond on Wolf Road has to say. Ha. This is scary. I am sharing something personal, and it might get thrown in my face. Mentally, I am preparing myself for that. I don’t like to be not liked. But even more than that, I am learning that I don’t like not being myself – the real me, the me who totally sucks at preparing dinners for my family, the me who would sell all earthly belongings and move to Guatemala with my family next week if my level-headed husband didn’t know how to keep me from spinning our world upside down. The me who is too hard on my kids but loves them deeper than they’ll ever know. The me who swings from high to low, the me who wishes it was summer 10 months a year. The me who sometimes just likes being quiet. The me who will be quiet to a fault – If I’m with someone who talks too much and I have thoughts in my head, I will keep them locked away because I’m not really sure the other person cares about anything I think or say anyway. The me who despises laundry, the me who is dreadfully stubborn, and the me who has a temper the size of Texas. (I am working on that, however!)
So this is me, being me. Welcome to the first day of the rest of my life.