As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve started 3 or 4 blogs in the past few years. I think my most committed achievement was 2 posts on one blog. And now they’re all floating out there in the digital abyss; my typed words that, to me, once seemed severely special, possibly prophetic, now filler in the voids.
That hopeless feeling of defeat before I even had a shot at recovery is what overshadowed my enthusiasm and passion and caused each of those attempts to fizzle and fade. And now, during what seems like my hundredth attempt at this, I’ve realized translating my thoughts to written ideas is less about my audience and more about myself. An easy assumption, sure. Obvious, one would think.
But it’s no secret that as emotional beings we’re all wanting validation, respect and appreciation from our contemporaries. When I was part of the “churched” demographic, just like any other sub-culture or social group, I took in sermons and studies and prayers dedicated to the real meaning of purpose and the value of your calling. “Let God use your gifts for His glory.” “That is your God-given talent.” So, naturally, I equated all that jargon to becoming a renowned Christian author. I’d have the edgy book titles, black and white thoughtful self portrait and plain front cover to show potential readers I didn’t buy into the marketing ploys of mainstream Christian consumerism. And it would all be for everyone else. I was looking at my dreams through the telescope of what I thought was right and what I thought was intended for me. I won’t necessarily say the church taught me how to shame myself or how to water down self-love because I wasn’t brainwashed. I was involved with some crazy shit. I’ve had people pray over me in tongues, my trembling body covered by their hands, shouting out to the Lord for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I witnessed a miracle similar to that of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 in Nicaragua when the people in a village we served ridiculously outnumbered our expectations. At age 11, in the first car wreck I was involved in, I was visited by a woman in white who came through the hoards of silent, still people gawking at my injuries and said I was going to be alright. I’ve got a lot of stories, plenty more that are testimonies to the spiritual but honestly, these days, in my post-churched, messy quasi-beliefs, I’m hesitant to share them because I understand how legitimately mad I sound. I get that. I myself think I’m partially as mad as people think I am.
Anyways. I say all that to reiterate the point of how I personified my faith and how I made every choice based on my own conjurings. The notion that my talents and passions were meant for the purpose of the church wasn’t outlandish for me. I was taught that love ought to be demonstrated in this order: God, others, yourself. I understand the intentions behind that and why it’s important to prioritize. It’s a poetic, euphoric concept. But, for me, after years and years of hearing this and trying to always further my awareness of humility, somewhere I understood this to mean losing myself was a necessary sacrifice. The less I could love myself and transfer that love to others, the more godly I’d seem, thus, the more I could help people. I think for years in my young adult life, I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted from life. My emotional growth was stunted and I didn’t identify with a sense of self outside of the Church. It was my life.
One day in a personal devotion while studying the ever-quoted “Do as to others as you would have them do to you”, something awakened in me. All of the sudden, I saw this piece of scripture as a beckon to love and find myself. It occurred to me as naturally as walking: how could I love others if I couldn’t love myself properly? How could I be authentic to others if I couldn’t be authentic to who I was? I remember that moment; sitting in my tiny college rental and thinking how vast this new idea, this new possibility seemed to me. And I was pretty terrified of what it meant for me. At 21, it was the beginning of me deciding to abandon my years of faithfulness to the Church and instead follow this rabbit hole of self discovery that, ironically, was shown to me through the supposed words of Jesus. Funny how that works.
Although I’m an entirely different, bolder person now than I was 6 years ago, I’ve realized recently that in my writing I still hold onto those notions of others before myself. I think that’s part of the reason me abandoning so many blogs over the years came so easily. I didn’t get much feedback. I didn’t feel like anyone benefited from my words. So I just gave up.
So maybe this blog will survive longer than this second post simply because now I know I’m doing this for me. I’m in the process of understanding my writing is more about my own benefit and my own inspiration than the readers. These words may not matter to anyone but me and so be it… Or, I at least recognize this fault and am working towards total acceptance of this. Probably the latter more so because I am human after all. So for this blog, I’m committed to doing it for me. For my own identity, my own story, my own rabbit hole of self-discovery.