I’m writing over at Defeating the Dragons today, contributing to her “learning the words” series. Hope you enjoy!
This post is inspired by Grace Biskie, Bethany Suckrow, Addie Zierman, and of course Samantha (who, when first starting this series and asking for guest writers, responded enthusiastically and favorably to my tentative proposal of this particular topic).
The past few years, I have been on an intentional journey into freedom from the panic, rage, and fear that has been the constant undercurrent of my young life. A big part of that journey has included the freedom to look at the horrible things in life and to say with confidence and conviction, “Fuck. This. Shit.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have written it. Maybe I should have kept playing along so I didn’t hurt anyone. Maybe I should have kept it all to myself for the rest of my life. Maybe the timing was bad. Maybe I should have consulted with anyone who would have been upset about it before publishing. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
I keep coming back to the same answers. I had to write it. Lying to everyone for the rest of my life would have been more damaging to us all than telling the truth has been. There was never going to be a “right time” for it. Consulting with those who would be hurt by it would have only served to delay then intensify the pain, because their displeasure wouldn’t have kept me from publishing.
That leads me to two questions that apply both to that post in particular but also to my entire blog:
Why did I write it, and why do I write in general?
Why did I write it publicly, and why do I write in public?
Happy birthday a day late! And let me just say right now that you completely and totally ROCK that hair cut. Seriously. Enjoy it. Don’t listen to people who tell you that they’re afraid that it makes your face look fat. It doesn’t. You look amazing. You won’t have hair that short again for a really long time, and you won’t find a style you like as much as this one for even longer, so savor it (even though you’ll get convicted in a few months that you’re disrupting God’s order by having short hair. I wish I could say don’t do that, but we both know that time travel doesn’t really exist).
This picture, ten years later, embodies for 26-year-old-you all of the sheer awesomeness that you possessed at that time in your life. Sophomore year of high school was your year, though you probably don’t realize it. You have a group of friends with whom you hang out regularly. You’re almost popular — at least, the popular kids no longer make fun of you. You are at your musical height — I wish I had your vocal range, and man do I ever wish I was as fantastic of a pianist as you are. Your biggest regret is not-quite dating that loser who swore to you that his girlfriend wasn’t actually his girlfriend and you believed him. You’re doing pretty great. You will look back on this year of your life with tremendous fondness and longing.
There’s so much I want to tell you. Like your current crush really isn’t worth it. (Really. I promise.) And homeschooling is not going to be a good experience for you. Even little things, like don’t get your cartilage pierced at Claire’s…twice. Seriously. Don’t do it.
But if there’s one thing and one thing only that I could impart to you right now, it would be this:
Today I’m guest posting over on Dianna Anderson’s blog, Faith & Feminism, in her “Account and Countenance” series.
This was a very difficult post to write. It is “Of church, feminism, and safety” in story form. It’s my experiences, the way they shaped my understanding of God, and where that’s left me now. I crave your gentleness and understanding — and if you cannot offer that, then I crave your silence.
After years of squelching doubts and emotions and fears, I finally began talking.
I began to tentatively share my questions, my problems, my fears with a small but growing group of people. They told me about a God who really doesn’t hold past sins over our heads to beat us with. They told me about a God who understands fear, anger, pain, and doesn’t shame or punish for those feelings but instead listens, loves, cherishes, and comforts. They told me about a God who isn’t abusive, who isn’t capricious, who isn’t cruel. I hardly dared to believe them.
But there it was, that seed of hope.
And God became someone I really felt I could wrestle with, because He might really want to engage my heart and mind, no matter what that meant. Even if it meant waiting until I was ready.
I am so hesitant to add my voice here. Surely abuse is too strong a word for the things that have happened in my life, I think to myself. No one meant any harm. Everything was done in love, everything was said in love. They didn’t know that they hurt me.
There is so much to my story — my life — that I feel unable to share. Or perhaps simply unable to share at this time. So instead, I’d like to share the bits of my story that I’ve already shared, until I can find my voice to describe the rest.
Please understand that in each and every one of these instances, I believe with all my heart that the people involved intended good for me. But as I am learning, good intentions don’t always mean good actions. And in fact, sometimes the people who mean the most good do the most damage.