It’s been quiet here on my blog for months. Before all you dedicated bloggers out there get all judgey pants on me know I have a lot of really good excuses. Health (or lack there of). Two hoodlums in my house that masquerade as my sons. Summer vacation when I never had a chance to pee in peace let alone write. The chaos of school starting and an ill child. The Fall TV line-up (I mean, seriously, how I am I supposed to write when there are new episodes of New Girl and Parks and Rec?). Truth is there will always be a reason not to write.
(Oops, one sec. Kid screaming. See?! Impossible to get any writing done in this house!
I’m back. We’re all good. No blood or broken bones. Where was I? Oh yeah, reasons not to write…)
The fact is I have been writing. In my journal. Blog post drafts left half-finished. In my head at superdy-duper long stop lights. But, they never seem to get to the publish phase. I realized that it is not the I do not have time to write — it is that I don’t have time to write the way I am used to. The kind of writing where I read and re-read, craft and re-craft, and only put out there in cyber-space that which has been agonized over and edited a gazillion times. When I am honest with myself there are three things that silence my voice in the blogosphere…
Perfection has been my enemy for as far back as I can remember. If I couldn’t be the best at something then I ran the other way. I was terrified of being…average. That’s kinda embarrassing to write. But I still fear mediocrity. And, lately, I feel like my performance in life has been pretty mediocre. Just getting by. Barely. Sorta. The “oops I forgot to take my kid to his doctor appointment again, house is a wreck and I haven’t showered in three days” kind of mediocre. And, frankly, it feels pretty crappy. Like I have lost myself somewhere and am running in circles getting nowhere. I know the antidote is to just do something. It doesn’t have to be big or flashy or polished. It just has to be something. A step. So, my first step is this post. I promise myself to write without analyzing. Only read it once (you know, just in case spell check gets fresh). Screw grammar.
Then there is fear. Just writing the above paragraph stirs fear up in the pit of my stomach. Because Stephanie uncensored, unpolished, unedited is a little scary to put out there. Plus, this dream of mine – the one to write books and speak to encourage all my sisters around the world – well, this is a step in that direction. What if I fail? You’ll see me get lazy, apathetic at times, say stupid things, or – even worse – say nothing at all. Recently, a friend posted this photo on The Facebook (I like to call Facebook “The Facebook” as it seems to be an entity that deserves a THE in front of it in all its infinite wisdom and power):
It is a message God has been whispering to me for months now but it finally prompted me to action with this simple photo and quote. (See? I told you The Facebook is powerful and wise.) I can be weird. I can be random. Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you won’t. But that’s got to be okay. It’s exhausting constantly self-monitoring. It’s also boring and one big buzz-kill. I find a lot more joy in my days – even the messy ones – when I am authentic in all of my awesomesauce weirdness.
Which brings me to noise. My final barrier to this whole writing gig. The more noise around me, that more I lose myself. The more I lose myself, the more I fear. Fear leads way to perfectionism. Perfectionism to apathy. And so it goes. My life is inherently noisy. There is an abundance of testosterone in my house with two little boys.
So there IS literally noise in my home from sun up to sun down with fights, poop talk, burps, spitting, pretend wars, wrestling, screaming, tantrumming, banging – maybe even a minor explosion or two (wait, that’s the big boy in my house – don’t even get me started on the home improvement project noise). There is so much competing for this exhausted mama’s attention. Add in the invisible noise of pain, fatigue and emotional done-ness and my brain is on overload. I need quiet. I need to carve out moments of quiet in my day so I don’t slip away. I need to pray, listen, breathe…I need to be. Without it I have nothing to write. Nothing to say because my soul is starved. And isn’t that where good writing comes from? The soul? The God-part of us that longs to tell the story behind the daily chaos.
I want my life to tell a story. The story it was meant to tell. I want to be intentional and real. Messy and true. I’m tired of being dragged by the currents of life – bedraggled and spent. Disappointed. My circumstances may not be conducive to writing, but I am not sure I am going to survive if I don’t. I know no other way to cling to who I am supposed to be – to who God designed me to be.
So here we go… I write. Feel free to alert me if you see my nemeses of perfectionism, fear or noise creeping back in. I have no idea what this looks like. But I’ve got to try. Will you join me?
(And, yes, I only read through this once…gulp…time to push Publish.)