Embarrassed

I’m always embarrassed when I look at my old writing. Like week-old relics from the past from the times when I was a horrible writer. Except, it was a week ago.

It’s so strange. Maybe I’m just too judgmental. I am incredibly judgmental of other people’s writing and I hardly ever like what anyone else writes. In my head I just think that I could do better. I mean, I’m reading Jane Eyre right now and I don’t think I could write better than Charlotte Bronte. She’s like, primo. But everyone else on the internet, floating around posting our opinions… I feel like none of us are very substantial writers. And maybe that’s the point.

Maybe the point is that we’re practicing. My mom is a writer. She worked for a newspaper before I blessssed her life and she quit her job to take care of me. She told me something she was told on the job – her boss said, pointing to people in the office, writing (on typewriters!) “look around. He was a business major. She was accounting. He was teaching. Don’t get a degree in writing. If you have a gift in writing, then you have a gift in writing. Just get educated about what you want to write about. That’s the real preparation.”

Maybe that’s why I get so heavy on the people who are putting their efforts into internet blogging… Because all of us are basically doing the same thing. Writing about a subject that we know more about than anyone else. Ourselves.

Our generation – we don’t generally research culture and ideology to write informed pieces on whatever. We write our heated opinions. Or more typically, in Christian circles, our experiences and thoughts on God. Not that this is wrong. I was listening to Grace, Eventually by Anne Lammott, the first Christian author in whose writings I’ve indulged, and I noticed a pit of frustration turning over in my stomach. I couldn’t figure out why – I liked her writing style before – was it her voice, listening to her on tape? No, I liked her voice… What is it?

I pondered this for a while and then I realized. What she’s writing about! She’s literally just writing about herself! Her experiences as a liberal Christian with pro-choice ideology, a ski trip with her son, the time she binge ate apple fritters and ice cream from a gas station – they’re all just about… her! Not that I would claim that she is not knowledgeable, because I’m sure she is, but for some reason she chose to simply write about herself. Curious. And a little infuriating. Does she really think that just writing all these little blurbs of her life down into a book will impact anybody? A little arrogant, honestly.

But then I remembered, oh. It did impact me. When I read her book the first time, it deeply impacted me. I was a bright eyed new believer very confused about how my liberal ideals and past life could fit in to the virginal, well-behaved culture with no cussing I was dipping my toes into. And my mentor Chris handed me Traveling Mercies. And it was nice to know that I was not alone in the struggle. That there was a women named Anne Lamott out there with a background like mine, with struggles like mine, with thoughts like mine. And I know many a liberal Atheistic convert to Christianity has found solace in the words of Anne Lamott, simply speaking of her life.

So that’s cool. Once I remembered all of this I realized that sharing our lives with each other can make us all feel a little less alone. Books can be great mentors and friends, and can speak to us if we let them. Blogs, I suppose, can do the same. And there is no shortage of experience that needs to be written about, since practically every experience can be related to – and the ones that can’t, we can most definitely learn from.

At some point, if we’re going to be serious writers, we should probably read hard books – classics, to expand our vocabulary, think new things and discover new ways of writing. I mean, seriously, if all of your vocab comes from the internet, what you write might be kind of bland. When I stepped into the before-mentioned Jane Eyre for the first time and had to look up every other word – and realized the deep, beautiful imagery she used to describe a bedroom – and how incredibly she could define wood – my writing was put to shame. It’s good to be humbled in the face of genius. And I’ve realized my writing is kind of bland, and my vocabulary is extremely limited. Eventually this will limit what I can write about and how I can speak.

And then, of course, if we’re going to write about things specific – racial issues, culture, feminism, Christianity, it will be highly important to learn the history of these very real sections of the past (and present.) I’m regularly ashamed of how little I know of American History. Just reading and learning everything you can is important.

But until then, or if you don’t have time, just write. Write to get better, write to share your experiences. If you’ve got the writing bug then probably one of your purposes on this earth is to write. It will make you feel good and hopefully impact other people. We all need someone to relate to. The internet (and honesty!) make this more possible than ever. I’m certainly embarrassed 10 minutes after I post something, but I’m gonna probably just leave it there. Who knows who needs to read the ramblings of a confused, rambling 22 year old from Michigan.

The Decision

I’ve made a decision. The decision WAS this: I’m going to write every day no matter what even if I have nothing specific to say, just for the sake of writing and getting better.

This decision was a little too constricting. So it had to change. I realize that I probably won’t write every day, or every other day. Drop the standard, I’m just going to write. Hopefully every week. Every day, some weeks. Maybe. Maybe 3 days in a row and then a week off but really, the conclusion is that I am going to write, even if I have nothing to say.

I obsess over, well, what am I gonna write about? How will I come across? How well developed are my thoughts? Will people be moved by my bullshit? How am I going to convince people about God, life, love, whatever? Well, if there’s anything God has been teaching me it’s that I’m way too wound up with all my rules and expectations. They choke me from doing anything productive.

I know it’s important to fill the masses in with things that you’re convinced about and I wish I could do that. But I’m fucked up, I’m in the middle of the great overhaul that is my early 20’s, 22 to be exact, I have nothing much to share with the world of significance because I change my mind every other day. I’ve been a Christian for three years and I don’t have my stuff straight.

So if it’s all the same to you I’m gonna write, so that maybe when something eloquent drops into my head someday, I can, you know, wax eloquent.

But I’m not going to sit around waiting until that shit happens.

I’m just going to let everything kind of spill out here.

By God’s grace I won’t give up in three and a half days.

Random thoughts 1/7/16 9:15 PM

In life you’re going to find that things will surprise you. Things will pop out of nowhere and fill your head with thoughts you never thought you’d think. You’ll dream dreams you’d never thought you’d dream. People will act in ways you would have never thought to act. And colors will seem more vibrant or more dull depending on your mood.

You’ll have boring days filled with nothing. This might lead you into depression and anxiety or a good nap. You might wake up feeling refreshed and write an awesome song on the guitar. Or you might not be able to get to sleep at night because of it and be pissed off the whole next day.

You might spend days at work trying to do everything in your own strength before you remember that you’re supposed to call upon God for these sorts of things. The world spins and your lazy relationship with Him doesn’t make it stop or go any more than it would have. But if you’re a guilty person like me, it might feel like it.

When the earth halts its steady rotation because you’re not reading and praying, remember that you’re delusional. And that the earth is actually moving and so are you. And it won’t feel this way forever and there’s a lot to look forward to. If nothing else. Heaven.

Your husband might die or your cat might die. You might live married till age 80 and pass away quietly holding hands in your bed on a ranch. Don’t think about these things too much. They’ll just drive you crazy. Trust me.

Live in the moment. Breathe deeply every once in a while. Ponder deep questions like whether Christians should do Yoga or smoke weed.

And all in all, show yourself grace. Because if you’re as half as scatterbrained as I am, you probably feel like you don’t get much accomplished and that your relationships with God and people are pretty off track. This may very well be true with people, but all relationships between people tend to be messy, so don’t worry. And your relationship with God is going well, despite what you may think. He loves you to the moon and back, and more. Even if you watch an entire movie without thinking about Him when you should be folding laundry and putting away dishes, and even if you don’t read your Bible for two whole days.

He’s gotta look down and think we’re pretty silly anyways, fretting over the tiniest things. Count the stars, read a book, and take a bath. If the thought of those things make you feel guilty for any reason, show yourself some grace. You’re only human afterall.