I’ve taken a little over a month off from writing and social media, but it was something about the sun shinning on this randomly gorgeous Saturday in February that inspired me to turn on some worship music, crack open an iced cold diet coke, open the sliding balcony doors so my dog can bask in her favorite spot of light and start writing… It might sound silly, but I can’t deny that today feels randomly sacred, so I suppose today is as good of a day as any to let you in on the radical transformation that this blog has been silently undergoing while I’ve been away.
You see, what prompted my writing hiatus was a hate-hate relationship with social media. Almost the very moment I decided I would get more “serious” as a writer, a desire to narrowly brand myself began to emerge. I started to scroll through Instagram on a deliberate hunt to find other bloggers who had a similar aim and capture their magic formula for social media popularity. Maybe emulating an aesthetic that already seems to be working is how one establishes a following? By posting posts that look like this, by writing in a way that sounded like that, and avoid certain topics that would be deemed “provocative”. Within a few weeks of playing copycat, I started to sense a nagging voice in the back of my head that was calling me out for my inauthenticity. This voice in battle with my constant need to troll social media, post daily and compare myself to those accounts and blogs that were more popular than my own was nothing short of exhausting. It was a mental game that after a couple of months, I was flat out tired of playing. I could no longer ignore the fact that the reason I started this blog– to truthfully share my experiences in a creative way– had vanished. I was now more motivated by the validation of a like or follow than geniune connection or creative catharsis. So, I took a break. I had to find my voice again and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t say a single word until I had something authentic to say.
Now, I think I’m ready to take the leap into new territory. There’s definitely a real risk that I’ll lose readership, but I need my readers to know the true source of my strength, my joy, and my hope in the midst of my day-to-day struggles. Yes, yoga, meditation, and having a creative outlet are all things that I’ve preached about as essentials in self-care and developing a healthier relationship with oneself. And yes, I believe that everyone has their own North Star that guides them through tough times and that looks, sounds, and feels different for all of us. But no, I will no longer pretend that my North Star is simply a combination of a good book, a pint of Halo Top, and a meditation app. Those things help, but my North Star and the source of my hope for tomorrow is Jesus. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus when I started this blog six months ago, but I firmly believe that He planted the seed for me to begin this journey all those months ago even if I didn’t have the foresight that this writing project would become my unique way of honoring Him…
Honestly, I have been a noncommittal Christian on and off for the last four years or so. I felt a surge of Christ’s love in the summer of 2015, right before I left town for my first professional acting contract, and was promptly baptized after only having attended church regularly for about 4 weeks… Since then I’ve changed in a thousand ways, lived in four drastically different states, changed jobs too many times to count, met many influential personalities (for both better and worse), and ultimately fell out of relationship with the only one who could put the bleak, shattered pieces of my heart back together. Without the glue of Jesus’s love, I began to do life my way and revert back to my old habit of using relationships with other humans (particularly romantic relationships) to mask the cracks and conceal the brokenness in my personality that I was ashamed of.
Fast forward to Oct. 12th, 2018– the day I woke up on my friend’s couch after the future with a man I thought I loved and wanted to spend my life with was unceremoniously ripped out from under me. I woke up that day with the sinking feeling that the lie I had told myself all my life–“You’re unloveable”–was actually true. I was shaky on my feet when after what seemed like hours of staring blankly off into space, I finally stood up and decided I needed to take action. Something possessed me to reach out to a friend that I didn’t know too well outside of work. Normally the last thing I would have done was accept help from someone I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, but I knew she lived nearby and I had to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to move myself out of the house I used to share with my boyfriend alone. God’s grace intervened where I was stubborn and ashamed and in a matter of a couple of hours, Alex was standing in the driveway with a protein bar in hand– ready to help and concerned that I hadn’t eaten. We packed up all my belongings and then to prevent me from having to spend time alone, we both went over to our boss’s house. Our boss, Nicole, runs a princess party company and by my estimation, was a literal Earth angel. Nicole radiates beauty– not just because she’s physically beautiful, but because she’s just that kind and generous. A true princess. But as much as I admired Nicole, I definitely resisted the idea of coming to this perfect person and admit that I was ruined. Spoiler: God’s plans were bigger than my limited assumptions because on Oct. 12th, 2018, Alex and Nicole accepted me. They showed me that Christians are not perfect. They reminded me that I was loved. In all ways, they invited me in. That was all I needed to reestablish my relationship with Jesus. And you know what’s so cool about Jesus? Even if you forget to talk to Him for a while– He’s that friend that when you do eventually reach out, it’s like no time has passed at all. And just like that– our connection was as overwhelmingly intense as it had been in the summer of 2015.
I’m going to try to resist the neat and tidiness of a label. Therefore, I’m not suddenly deeming this blog a “Christian Women’s Blog”, but rather a space where I can come to you as who I am– a flawed woman who is fiercely loved beyond imagination. As we all are, I am wonderfully and fearfully made, but as we all do– I need to be reminded of that truth on an almost daily basis. I struggle, I laugh, I cry, I celebrate victories with red wine and chocolate, I question defeats and make assumptions. I am far, FAR from perfect and though revealing the messy, dark corners of my mind terrifies me, I am willing to do so if it means that I will be known, you as my reader might be known, and that He will be known in all His glory and grace. Maybe acknowledgment of my faith is too “provocative”. If it is… I don’t care. It has cost me too much over the years to deny God’s presence in my everyday life– in the whimsy of the acorns I pick up along the trails I hike, in the perfectly timed warm summer breezes, in the magnificent twinkle of frost when it clings to the windows of my car. And then there’s the unrecognizable strength in moments of defeat, the gentle nudge in the right direction and the unfathomable knowledge that this life I live is all for something greater than myself. Because there’s simply no denying it… here’s to new beginnings and authenticity. I hope you’ll stick around– there are so many wonderful things to come.
A special thank you to my dear friend, Johnna. Your openness and encouragement over Panera beverages was the final kick in the butt that I needed to start writing again from my real voice.