Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm a Writer, Dottie.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.

I suppose I’ve had a lot of external reasons for that—good ones, too. I got engaged to a dreamy, dreamy man, I planned a wedding, I got married, I went on a big amazing honeymoon with said man, moved, painted my entire apartment (the living room, twice, because I need a couch and a nice therapist), Gilmore Girls came on Netflix (priorities), and don’t even get me started on the name changing process (seriously why is that so hard?).

But mostly, I’ve just felt kind of stuck. The kind of stuck where when you think about writing, nothing comes to mind. You wonder what Jesus has been doing in your life, or how things are taking shape, what life has taught you, and you know there are a million things you could say, but then you go write it down and you end up with N-O-T-H-I-N-G. It feels like I’m staring at a shoreline. There are a billion tiny grains of sand I could talk about, but it’s hard to pick one up and look at it for any length of time without deciding to move onto another. And the horizon is both in constant flux, and always the same.

Okay yes, I’ve gone through huge changes. The kind that took me from single to married, the kind that took me from living with my sweet, sweet roomie to living WITH A BOY, and even the little weird kinds of things like, I don’t drive myself to work anymore—I ride shotgun in my husband’s car. While this has made it much easier for me to apply makeup on the way to work (it was getting bad, you guys), it’s still weird for your daily habits to totally change, and that kind of stuff can throw a person off her game for a while.

I could say that all of this has presented good reasons for me to stop writing for a bit. But that would be a big fatty-fat lie.

Sorry. I know that was sort of a bait and switch. I’m tricky.

The real reason I haven’t written in months and months is very adult, and very mature. Because I’m an adult now. I’m married and everything.

The real reason is this: I’m scared. Also I think the Internet is stupid.

Yep. I have developed a new found fear of writing. Even the thought of publishing this feels crippling. I know. NEAT.

 Not too long ago, I went through the experience of having something I wrote become that week’s trash—the bloggers picked it up, twisted my words, and made me miserable. It lasted one week, and then it was (pretty much) over, but it really hit a nerve for me. The way blogs and websites and social media can be so used for hate and anger absolutely took my breath away, and suddenly, all I could imagine was more of the same. 

I began to see my own name in print as an embarrassment, and when I was asked if I was planning on changing my pen name with my marriage, I didn’t hesitate. YES. Yes, I would love to put that ignorant girl behind me. I would love to detach from that one blog post that made everyone mad. I wanted to be done with her...but then, I sort of wanted to be done in general. I stopped seeing how any good could come from writing something down and putting it out into the world. And then I started wondering what I was supposed to do with myself, if not write. Something anonymous, preferably.  

So I looked a careers, I hid behind editing, I complained to my lucky new husband, I watched a loooot of Netflix (why are there so many seasons of Grey’s Anatomy? I have to watch them ALL), I decorated my new apartment, and I sulked about my loss of purpose. Like I said, I’m mature.

This went on for several fruitless months, until the truth has finally settled back into my bones. I was made to write. I stare slack jaw into space, I monologue in my head, I’ve been writing in journals religiously since I was four-years-old, I read other writers and feel horribly jealous and anxious about how I will never be as good as they are…I’m a writer. I’m not saying I’m a good writer, I’m just saying, I’m ah writer. I just am. I can’t help it. And if I can’t do the thing God has called me to do, then I can’t fully be the woman God has made me to be. Apparently I can’t change everything about me and become someone else. I know. Lame.

When you hit publish, when you send it to your editor, when you see it “go live,” that’s it. You have to own it. It’s tough—especially when you’re a people-pleaser, a pride-seeker, a “be-my-friender,” and a bit of a bleeding heart. It’s tough to stand by something when you realize it might have offended someone—anyone.  But as my husband recently reminded me, the Gospel is incredibly offensive, so sometimes we end up being a little bit offensive, too.  I think maybe my husband forgets that I’m a pansy, but still, bless him.

So here I go.

I’m going to put one key in front of another. I’m going to write until it feels like it was what I was made to do again. I’m going to write until I start hearing myself on the page, until I can stand again on my wobbly legs—until I can believe again that writing is what God called me to. I’m going to do it for myself, because I love it. I’m going to do it for God, because He’s a deeply creative God, and this is how I process His love. And I’m going to do it for readers, because I want nothing more than for my words to give people even an ounce of hope, and a knowledge that there is a Jesus who loves them

Also I’ll probably write dumb stuff here too, like Bachelor recaps and odes to coffee. Just FYI.

I still can't believe I let one bad experience completely derail me. But maybe that happens to all of us at some point. Maybe this was just my turn, my time to take a break from myself for a little bit. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's over. I feel like I'm breaking a fast, and my hungry little fingers have SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT. That came out weird, but you know what I mean.