“The writerly text is ourselves writing, before the infinite play of the world … reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages.”
~ Roland Gérard Barthes, literary theorist
I have a reputation I’m not wild about: I’m hard to get to know. People say I’m reserved. I never know how to take that. Like I’m a restaurant table with a big white sign on my forehead that alerts people to look elsewhere. Another rep makes me laugh: I’m shy. Maybe I’m quiet when I first meet people, but as my beloved Shrek says, “Yeah, it’s getting (her) to shut up that’s the trick!”
My difficulty comes in trying to merge everything together in the very public realm of writing. Opening up and laying bare the tender, soft spots that until now only those close to me have known. To be authentic and brave in ways that I never have before. To put on my big girl pants, and get real.
I remember hearing with envy someone mention that she’d never had anyone close to her die. Never had “anything really awful” happen. She had just injured her ankle, which was going to prevent her from playing a sport she really liked. It was incredibly important to her, and she was truly dealing with a loss and a significant lifestyle change. When she described it as “the worst thing that’s ever happened,” I bit my tongue. Hard. I know it isn’t a competition and I know that I have been and continue to be incredibly blessed beyond measure. I’ll move on now, before I get to the “but”.
So how does one navigate the line between opening up and oversharing after years of keeping things not only close to the vest but tied up with string inside a pocket with a zipper? I honestly don’t know. Which pretty much means that I’m going to get some of it wrong. Maybe a lot of it wrong. But I am tired of waiting, tired of feeling like I’m living in two worlds – the surface one most people think they know and the deeper one that I don’t share much. It’s time to get real and to get honest, regardless of how I feel. Besides, it isn’t my own courage I need to muster.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
I still don’t feel brave but if I wait until I do, I will miss out.
On Being: Honest & Writerly
My current project explores the intersections of loss & grief and how they merge onto the paths of hope & peace. I wandered those roads myself several years ago and sometimes still find myself detouring there without any warning.
Like those panicked moments of driving down an unfamiliar highway and suddenly I’m in one of those “exit only” lanes and I just know I don’t want to get off there but there’s no way to get back over on the main road. So now I’m barreling along, going what seems way too fast alongside all these other people who seem to know exactly where they’re going. I slow down out of what feels like necessity because I’m feeling completely vulnerable and I just want to know where I can turn around. How I can get back to the slightly-less-scary path I was on a few minutes ago.
Those roads are exhausting.
They’re exhausting because they are so often filled with dark, all-consuming pain and sorrow. Sometimes getting from one moment to the next seems impossible. And yet. Slowly, those moments eventually bring about God’s enduring promise. That joy comes in the morning.
But the morning can take weeks, months, years to grow into. (Here are some resources that have been helpful to me in this particular area.)
For me, I found that those moments of experiencing God’s promises came more easily when my mind was busy and my hands were even busier. Having yarn back in my hands again helped too.