Other than this last week, I’ve spent months in silence. Sometimes I think I am too much of a perfectionist about what I post on here, and that’s why it’s so hard for me to post regularly. So here I am posting something that scares my perfectionism to death: unpolished, unedited, unfiltered. Not a story. Just me, spilled onto paper.
“Write for us,” say the gaping-eyed masses. “We want more.”
I should be honored, right? And yes, I am. When I stop to consider. It does honor me that people enjoy the taste of my words enough that they want more.
But maybe I’ve forgotten how to write.
Once, no one knew that I wrote, or cared. Everyone in my family writes at least a little, so I was nothing uncommon to them, and few people outside of my family knew. And I wrote and wrote. As someone else once said, I sat down at my typewriter, opened my veins, and bled onto the paper. Easy as thinking. Far easier than speaking. I did it without discipline, without obligation, with no goal in mind. I did it because I was breathing, because when keys are tapping under my fingers and words are spreading my thoughts across blank paper, the world spins into silence and I am alone in a space where things work as they were meant to. I did it late at night, when all slept in darkness outside of my oasis of screen light, when I should’ve been in bed but the words always flow best when the world grows so quiet I can hear the clock ticking. (I am a child of the 21st century; yes, I started out hand-writing and yes, journals and No. 2 pencils and my fountain pen speak to my soul in ways that a computer keyboard simply can’t, but I still do and always have written best, easiest, on a laptop.) I wrote. I wrote. I wrote. Words were my magic, and one of the few things in my life that made sense to me, that brought me joy. I wrote. I wrote. Stories and letters and poems and prayers and movie transcripts and pages of journals and lists of all kinds. Few people knew and fewer still cared, and I wrote and wrote for no one but myself. But I was enough.
Then, I got married. And my husband thought my writing made me something uncommon, and so did my father-in-law. They told people. They are promoters, they can’t help themselves. And it was kind of fun. I got to write for other people. It’s great to be able to share your gifts. And the husband was a strong proponent of taking my writing far. I should publish a book – or 20. I should start a blog. I should put my writing in places where people would read it. (It surprised me how many people can’t see the point of writing if no one else would ever read it.)
So, I did the things. Like, sure, I would love to have people be interested in the things I write. I guess. Publishing a book would be a grand thing to have under one’s belt, supposing anyone would want to buy it. A blog might be fun, though I don’t really know what I would blog about.
And now we’ve come to the place where I think things like “I should write more.” And guess what: I write less than I have in years. It kind of makes me sad. Why did that change? Why is it work now, more than it was? I can easily blame it on movies, but I had access to movies then too. Not quite as much as now, but still it was there and especially late at night I could just as easily have watched a movie as write. And sometimes I did. Sometimes I read book, too. But I still wrote a lot. Just because I wanted to. Just because I was made to write. So I wrote. For me.
It’s hard to write for other people. To strike the balance between being honest and personal without just being self-obsessed. Never used to worry about that. And when I write blog posts, I am writing for other people, and I don’t know if that’s wrong or not. I suppose the correct Christian thing to say is: “I write my blog posts for God.”
Thing is, I don’t want to have a preachy blog. I don’t. So many Mennonite blogs are preachy. So many blogs in general are all about how-to-do this and how-to-do that. And yes, I’m full of thoughts and opinions and many of them could be preachy, but I just don’t see the point. I value my advice too highly to give it to people who aren’t interested in it, I guess.
But the thing is, I do want to keep on blogging and I really need to come up with my content. What shall I write about? What matters to me?
A lot of the things about my life I won’t blog about, though, not because I am so private about it but because it involves the husband and I don’t want to expose him more than he appreciates.
Also, what if I am not a writer? What if I am an editor? People just assume that I am a writer because I write. Ha. That is the literal definition of a writer. But maybe I only write so that I have something to edit. Or maybe I just say that because I am lazy. There’s a thought.
It’s like I’ve forgotten the pleasures of writing, of untangling my thoughts into words on paper. Why is it so hard for me to start? I think things, but if I never write them down, they circle through my mind and become tangled with all the hundred other things I’ve thought but never written down. The end result is confusion. Feeling like I don’t know what’s going on with myself.
But here I am. Doing it. Good Jen. But where to begin?
Of late I struggle. In the evenings. When I am alone. In the dark. It’s like darkness sleeps in my belly, and sometimes when I hold still for too long it wakes and creeps up into my heart. From there, it enters my veins and spreads throughout my body, and I drown in it.
But why? I have no tragedy in my past. I have few sorrows. I have a good life. Years of keeping gratitude journals have taught me this, if nothing else: I have so many good things going for me, all the time. So much to be thankful for. So why am I not happy?
I may be lonely again. I say that because, yes, I definitely feel lonely again, but am I really? Or do I just feel that way because I see that one hanging out with her girlfriends, and that one is so adored everywhere she goes, and somehow that other one is already much more integrated than I am? Comparison, comparison.
And it’s not like I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself because no one reaches out to me. I’m not reaching out to anyone either. If I am lonely, it is because I choose to be. Problem is, I really like to be alone. I love to spend my days off in peace and quiet and solitude. So even if I am feeling lonely, it’s a sacrifice to give up my time alone and be with other people. Even if I enjoy it once I’m there. What a mess of person I am.
I want God to be enough, you know? Because I can be with Him and be alone at the same time. So I want Him to fill me up, make me not lonely, and I can still stay home by myself? Why not? Logically speaking, God is enough. But apparently He made us sociable creatures. Why???????