I think I avoid writing because I’m not comfortable talking about what really matters to me. And I’m not comfortable talking about it because I’m afraid of the criticism and friendly “heart checks” I’ll get from my parents and the good people who knew me mostly during 2000 – 2008.
I am happy to either 1) let them think I haven’t changed that much and am a happy newlywed making home and love and reading her Bible and working a little and having a beautiful life, or 2) simply bulldoze them with long arguments against the tenets of conservative fundydom and leave them reeling.
There is no comfort in vulnerability for me. I want to be happily ignored or a force of reason to be respected.
And when I don’t have happy housewife blog posts to write (and really, I should just let the gushy poetic types with good cameras, etsy shops, and cute kids have that genre) or a new tour de force about feminism & grace or some such thing, I hide. I bury my need to write in absorbing a never-ending stream of information, blog posts, essays, and piquant news articles.
Upon reflection, I’ve realized that this is an addiction in the truest sense of the word: I self-medicate against my intense need to write (journal, blog, ponder) by numbing my mind with an overflow of words and ideas from others.
In high school, I used to think that I could be a good writer if I wrote regularly. But then I realized that I needed to read good books in order to write well, and I “took a break” from writing, which turned into a 3 year self-directed course of reading all the “classics” I could get my hands on (being in a conservative environment, this meant reading anything written before 1940 and the post-war cynicism of true 20th century literature), and eventually a degree in English. I still wrote, but it was a strange mixture of half-baked jabs at hard questions, platitudes, and detailed evaluation of little moments. I was sure I hadn’t lived enough or read enough to write well. (I’m still convinced that the good writer is a regular reader of good writing)
But I think this discipline-turned-habit has become a way to avoid writing, now. And I think I do have some things I can say better than I could before, but I’m afraid of the consequences. I’m too much of a people-pleaser.
This year for Lent, my husband and I stopped drinking alcohol. We do this every year (or have for the last three) and it’s a good idea, especially as we have family history of alcoholism and mothers who are concerned for us because of the simple reality that we think alcohol tastes good.
In retrospect, though, I think I should have given up reading my rss reader feed and keeping up with the various news outlets and social media hotspots I have on my browser’s bookmarks. I don’t think I’ll give it up completely, now that I realize this about myself, or that I’ll suddenly start writing honestly instead of finding something to distract me.
But maybe I can open up a little more, and be okay with the fact that I’m not really the goody-two-shoes who kept her parents and church friends satisfied with her behavior throughout high school and [most of] college. Maybe I’ll admit that I am normal and that’s okay. That I liked Hangover II and I like reading The Bloggess. That I write better when I drink whiskey. That yes, mom, I wear a bikini to the pool and that’s just fine. That I have an anger problem which is tied to anxiety which is tied to not being okay with letting go and not having control over everything in my life. And sometimes I like to use strong language, because I feel strongly. That I’m using birth control pills and think that’s an acceptable moral thing for a Christian to do, if it’s a careful, educated decision. That I really respect stay-at-home homeschooling moms with 9, 10, 11 kids, if that’s a careful, educated choice. That I’m afraid of being a mom someday, but I’m also really at peace with having a family with Kevin because he’s a good man. And so forth.
The funny thing is, none of that is “shocking.” I just tie myself up in lies, thinking that it is and trying to ignore it or laugh it off. I’m going to try to stop being an internet voyeur in order to ignore real life. And perhaps I’ll try to write more frequently (in general, not necessarily here).
5 thoughts on “Avoiding writing”
This expresses my feelings in so many ways, and I really appreciate your honesty. I have tried miniature breaks from my RSS feed, twitter and my string of bookmarked blogs that I check every day but I realized yesterday (partly after seeing this http://bit.ly/GDuz3P, which I thought was kick-awesome) that letting too many voices into my life, unchecked, has not been a good thing for me. I end up paranoid, confused, overwhelmed and – at best – just feeling tired and a bit lifeless. That may not be what you’re describing but the way you talked about using information overload to stifle the need to create struck a chord.
Also, as someone who knew you in that 2000-2008 period, I just wanted to tell you that I would much rather be a friend who gets to know who you are now (even though we probably have a lot of differences) than pretend that we know each other based on what we remember from our shared history. I’d much rather get to know the real you than simply assume you’re the same person you were a few years ago (and really — who is ever the same person they were a few years ago?). So, yeah. =)
maybe it’s not shocking, but it takes courage. i hope to have the courage soon to write a similar vulnerable, honest post myself. i love you and i am glad you are my friend.
yeah, you’re totally messed up. “the hangover” was muuuuuuch better than “the hangover II.” i’m not sure we can be friends :-/
and write away! we need more unalloyed, thoughtful nerve in this world.
i’ve only seen “the hangover II.” feel free to fix that. 😉
okay, yeah, you seriously need to see the first one. you and i might be having a movie night this summer.