Saturday, August 18, 2012

the non-ergonomic me


I just watched the movie Blue Like Jazz and loved it. It's probably the best Chrstian-produced-type movie I've seen in a very long while. Can I just say I loved the guy who played Don's dad? I've seen him on the tween TV show Victorious and think he is such a brilliant actor. He was more than perfect for that role.

I remember the first time I read the book Blue Like Jazz . It was the first of that type, personal narrative with a point, that I'd read. I devoured it. And it spoiled me for all of my preachy women prose that I'd been reading up to that point. It was like watching TV in color for the first time.

I think I am seeing a definite theme in the message in this movie and in the book I'm reading. It's time to stop worrying about only saying what I think people want to hear. It's time to stop only saying what I think will get the reaction I want.

I am really good at that - at saying what I think other people want to hear. I was really good at that in Sunday School. I slowly realized that what I was saying was not just the right answer, it was the answer that the teacher wanted to hear. Maybe not the right answer but his or her right answer. I knew the right answer, I would say it, I would get praise. It's my brand. I blend.  I find a side of me that I think you'll like and I show that off like it's everything that I am.

When I'm with my people from the old days - well, really only my family now, because when you leave a small conservative church it feels like you are pretty much dead to them, but anyway, when I'm with them I hear myself reverting to a vocabulary that I rarely even think in anymore, but there I am saying "praise the lord" just like in the old days. When my friends were non-conformist I found a way to fashion myself into something I thought they'd like and started reading the un-church books. I have my super-spiritual leader-type friend and my laid-back mom friend and my new-mom friend and it's great that I have these different friends the problem is that I find myself being kind of a completely different person with all of them. Only in all of the people pleasing and mask wearing I totally loose me and I rob my friends of my self. Not like that's an enormous loss, but I do believe in God's sovereignty and that he brings people into our lives at just the right moment. But what if I'm that person that you need me to be right now but I'm acting like the person I think you want me to be. I'm robbing you. That's wrong.

It's wrong of me to only tell the part of my story I think you want to hear. The happily ever after where everything turns out okay. It's not like my life is at some sort of dramatic climax, but still - we all have mess. The mess that stays behind the doors of what I want you to believe about me. I like to leave that part out, gloss over, down play, talk about it in the past tense - because doesn't our mess sound so much better like it's a thing of the past?

It's wrong to hide the parts of my story that I don't fully understand and still struggle to process, just for the sake of maybe you'll like the simplified, streamlined ergonomic version of me better that the real life, messy me.

I'm not saying I should start vomiting my mess all over the internet or that I should tell the stories that aren't mine to tell. What I am saying is that I am done hiding. Done self-editing. Done with constantly worrying about who likes me and how they might like me more or less depending on what I do or say. It's time. It's been time for awhile I just didn't know where to start, I needed a little nudge in the right direction.

There's a voice that says "how can you have anything to say? how can you even assume you have the right to say anything at all when you still struggle with that. you know better, you ought to be beyond this, this shouldn't be hard for you." but there's another voice that says "speak anyway. speak from within your mess." and I have a feeling that from one mess to another - it's going to be okay.


  1. OH, thank you dear one... from one mess-up of a mother to a dear daughter... the God who made us, keeps us, and makes all the messes work out good.

  2. Ouch! I needed that. Thank you, that took guts!


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