an absence goes unexplained

I want to write here. I want to write in this space more than I want to do almost anything besides bake and take walks and visit with friends (which is what I did today). But it’s too hard.

I used to write about my curious life in The North for some people I knew back in Georgia and Tennessee. As time went on, a smattering of Syracuseans added themselves to the bunch. But now, beginning my third year far from home, I find myself writing more and more for my seminary friends, too, an esoteric, eccentric and eclectic bunch of people who are way too smart and sensitive (and sexy) for their own good. As we are all being shaped into new ways of looking at things, I am constantly reaching back for my own identity, to know what I believe – back and back to the things I once took for granted but are strangely absent here. A culture, a family, a land, a school that call out constantly from within me to be remembered, to be heard.

To explain a thing, you have to unlearn it. If a two-year-old (who somehow had never seen a photo) asked you what an elephant was, your first instinct might be to tell her it’s a gigantic four-legged grey animal with real big ears and a hose for a nose, that lives in Africa and Asia. But then you’d realize that the words “Africa” and “Asia” mean less than nothing to her, and maybe more importantly, that to her you are gigantic. And she has no way of imagining a nose-hose that’s not a green garden waterer.

So of course it’s a condescending analogy, but the point is that, to explain a thing, you usually have to explain a lot of other things, and coming up on three semesters of seminary, a lot of things have been explained to me that took allllllll that time to get through my thick head. Now, to try to tell you what I’ve learned and what it means to me… I think it can be done. But learning how to do it comes slow. Making sure I’m not a little deluded from lack of sleep comes slower. Grad school has its own agendas, which sometimes have little to do with becoming a human who has any relevance in the world we’ve all been sitting around explaining to one another.

In the past, I’ve liked to trot over here once I’ve figured something out, bringing a leaf I’ve found that you HAVE to see, or the perfect black rocks for our snowman’s eyes. But lately there’s been little I’ve figured out, and more I’ve come to question, and even more I can only consider but am losing the urge to analyze.

I have rarely felt more in-between; in between times of life, between places and spaces and people who make me who I am. It is a fruitful, but an uncomfortable space to write from. So I wait another day, another week, to see if any of this swirling mess will solidify in time – to see if I’ll glimpse the woman I want to become, through the fog, beyond the flailing character I see n the mirror so many days.

I think she will not be a person made of ideas, but made of songs and stories and moments and feelings; she will not chase the accolades of this world but the hearts of those she loves. Sometimes there will be energy for barely more than a string of phone calls and a wandering confession zipped to a webpage –

but surely we’ve all been there. No need to explain.

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