miscellaneous bloggy thoughts

I’ve been a little quiet around here, and I think there are two main reasons. The first is, I’m lazy, and the less I have to do, the lazier I get. The second is, I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog. I am a different person than I was when I started it, and the blog was instrumental in shaping the ways I’ve changed. It’s hard to describe, because it’s not a cause-and-effect, event-event-event kind of story. But now that I am headed to grad school, I have a definite sense that a chapter of my life is closing – not only in terms of where I am and what I’m doing, but also who I’m becoming. And this blog is a part of that.

So if only to get some of these thoughts out of my head (but hopefully to gather some thoughts from other bloggers), here are a few things I’ve learned/ways my blog and I are changing.

1. I used to participate,but I’m realizing: the progressive Christian blogosphere is that dramatic friend.
I skimmed over the Gospel Coalition “gag reflex” post, and it made me mad. Not mad that someone is wrong on the internet!, to be clear. Mad that enough people had blogged and tweeted about this post to induce me to read it at all. All these posts and tweets seemed to consist only of emotional responses to the words “gag reflex”, when the rational response was, this is a truly terrible argument. The guy (I forget his name, don’t care) destroys his own position by reducing marriage to sex and sex to body parts; obviously heterosexual sex is just as “gross” when you describe it the way he does. He doesn’t actually have a problem with gay marriage. He has a problem with bodies. It’s all very silly and Freudian and I guess a slow news day induced the outrage machine to gift it with thousands of pageviews; but I will never belong in that machine. I’m not a talk-incessantly-about-the-issues kind of person, and if I were, I’d be exactly where Rachel Held Evans is 98% of the time. So I’ve vowed to keep the progressive Christian issues blogosphere at a dramatic-friend level of arms-reach. If it’s not measured, insightful, or thought-provoking, I’m not reading it. I’m reading a book. Books make me happy.

2. I went looking for my “voice”, and I found it.
Here’s a thing: I’ve never loved the title of this blog. But I needed it. About a year and a half ago, I began a quest to learn how to speak the truth – to share my thoughts (and feelings [eek]) with other people in ways that I used to be truly incapable of doing. It might sound silly, but the first few times I tried to say stuff I’d been guarding for so long, it was physically hard. I sat in silence with people for fifteen, twenty minutes. I rewrote tiny short notes to people over and over. But then I started to break out; I gave a testimony at my church and I gave a goodbye speech to my improv team and I cried until my face turned all splotchy at both. I wrote the letter to my ex that I should have written a year earlier. I started saying how I was really doing. I told strangers they had nice eyes. I worked at a church and I said what I thought was wrong. I looked people in the eyes and said, “You are hurting me.” In February I yelled angry things at a priest. I preached another testimony and cried in very-public all over again.

I’ve carved out a space for myself and my words, instead of trying to contort myself to fit in the spaces between others’ words, feelings, and perceptions. My will-they-accept-me-will-they-like-me? filter has thinned dramatically. And this blog has been a huge part of that. I wish I could give a hug to everyone who’s ever read any of it, and I’m not even that big on hugs.

I know I’ll always be learning how to speak up and share my honest thoughts, but I think I’ve arrived at a place where I can be proud of myself. I’ve written a lot recently about self-acceptance, and it seems like a bit of an ending point that I never could have foreseen on this truth-telling journey. I am a much less fragmented person now; my inner and outer lives are closely aligned. I have integrity; I am more whole. And I’m able to love myself because of it.

3. I “found a voice”. A voice is a means to an end. I’m ready for it to not be so much about me.
I’m not normally a very envious person, so when I first started blogging I was surprised at how quickly I could become angry or jealous that someone was more “successful” than me. I’m still not sure why that is, except that writers bind up so much of ourselves in our writing. I rarely feel that way anymore; but I think I have unconsciously viewed blogging as a competition even when I try to keep it shoved into the “hobby” space it’s supposed to occupy in my life.

I also don’t think of myself as a person with a platform or any influence at all. Which is mostly true, but I’m no longer just a solitary girl doodling around on the internet alone, trying to “make it” in some way. This hit me when Rachel H.E. tweeted one of my articles(!), and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who congratulated me – who were invested in such a small success of mine. I’m a little bit afraid of technology, but I’m looking for ways to encourage and work with other people – find community – the way a small group of friends has cared for me. I’m so grateful to those people, including (but not limited to) cool reader Mallory Pickering, Facebook champions and IRL friends Anna Rich and Austin Young, and incredible incredible On Pop Theology editors Ben Howard and Sebastian Faust.

4. I’m going to grad school now.
I have no idea what that’s going to be like. I can spout all kinds of hopes and intentions about this blog, but I can’t know whether it will turn out to be a helpful escape or an exhausting drain once I settle into life in Boston. It may end up looking very similar; the subject matter may turn more academic; I may only post every few weeks. All I can tell you is that I plan to still be here. It’s sort of like a pet that I can’t really imagine getting rid of, and most of all I don’t want to lose the chance to connect with you. For real, thank you for reading. I meant it about the hugs.

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6 Comments

  1. “the progressive Christian blogosphere is that dramatic friend” — HA! Yes.

    I find myself struggling with many of these same issues w/my own writing. Esp. the envy thing — it’s hard to not to give in to full-on misanthropy when you figure out what kind of behavior is rewarded w/ attention in the Christian blogging world.

    I also want to second your kudos to the On Pop Theology crew. I feel so lucky to be involved w/you folks!

    I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your grad school experience but don’t feel pressure to keep up w/ the ephemeral online universe. It sucks to realize, after turning your life upside-down for grad school, that you could have gotten more out of it if you hadn’t wasted time “building an online presence” (which you can do at any time) — I know from experience!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the advice! I’m hoping it won’t be too hard to let the online universe fade into background noise most of the time – but I can be a terrible procrastinator, so I might have to be more intentional about staying out.

      Reply
  2. Mallory Pickering

     /  August 23, 2013

    I so want the thing about losing the “will they like or accept me” filter. Oh how can I get that??? I only read 6 blogs now b/c other things fill my spaces, and yours is one of them. I hope you keep writing! And thanks for the blog mention. 🙂 I also send a hug, though I’m not very huggy either.

    Reply
    • Maybe do/say things you’re terrified to do/say, even when you’re pretty sure they won’t like or accept you? Four years of improv got me started… I am a slow starter.

      Thanks for the hug! I feel so liked and accepted!

      Reply
  3. Morgan Guyton

     /  August 24, 2013

    “1. I used to participate,but I’m realizing: the progressive Christian blogosphere is that dramatic friend.” Oh yeah! I’ve been enabling my dramatic friend. I’ve been the dramatic friend too sometimes. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in scoring some hits off the evils of Calvinism, etc.

    Reply

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