"Don't judge my story by the chapter you walked in on."
When I started the Discovery series, I was flooded with responses. Readers, who are and aren't self-proclaimed writers or bloggers, were eager to share their process of how they discovered what it is they believe. I wanted to feature every single story I received. But for some, as the day neared for their words to be publicized, fear, unease, and/or worry - of being found out or judged, I'm not sure - settled in. Messages were sent to me in the wee small hours of the morning, requesting I not share their responses. I obliged. Theirs is not my story to tell in any format if they're not ready.
Sharing this process of discovery [of belief in God, religion, or the lack thereof] for most has been a declaration of what they believe out loud for the very first time. And I was reminded how very personal it really is.
Wrapping up with my husband's post, I feel like I want to box up everything inside and lock the doors to this room and just be done. I love this room, I just don't want to live here anymore, and I desperately want to enjoy the sense of completion, but I rarely allow myself to exist in that space, that feeling because I'm never done. "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end", right?
This story I've weaved through my blog has grown tired. There is much more to who I am than this revolving theme of "the woman, once a pastor's wife, exploring what it means to be spiritual outside of the Christian church (and religion in general) while actively changing her mind". I don't want to tell the same old stories anymore. I'm ready for the next chapter.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Stephen King, On Writing
Four years ago, I was introduced to the idea of setting an annual intention from a single word. Instead of making a list of New Year's Resolutions, messy with goals I'd likely abandon by Valentine's Day, a single word encompasses so much more for me because it takes on varying meanings as the year progresses and I open myself to new growth.
- 2013: Let Go - of things outside of my control
- 2014: Chosen - to be brave with my words as a writer
- 2015: Endure - major life changes without knowing what comes next
- 2016: Discovery - of what I truly believe about spirituality outside of organized religion
- 2017: This one's just for me, and the few IRL people I've invited in.
Growth can be a hard pill to swallow because it requires microscopic examination and a willingness to be held accountable. And for me, a blogger who writes her process publicly, it can allow too many outside opinions in. I'm "asking for it" so to speak. In light of that, I've decided to practice quiet reflection and write for myself - only myself - for an undetermined amount of time.
I'm taking a blogging hiatus.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
The expectations I have of myself are far heavier than those from anyone else. My commitment to keeping my blog active is an assumed expectation, a perceived responsibility, from an invisible, and mostly quiet audience that has weighed me down to the point of horrendous writer's block. I want to blame it on the age we live in: of social media and the fear of not being relevant or the pressure of consistently presenting fresh content or wanting to be viewed in a certain way - wanting to be known and liked - but I suppose I can only blame myself.
I shut down my email subscription option (for readers to be notified when a new post was published) six months ago because I don't like subscribing to blogs myself and hated offering something I didn't reciprocate - and no one seemed to notice. Then I turned off comments completely on my entire site. I didn't know then that I was preparing myself for this break. On January 1, I suspended my Twitter account because the truth is I've never liked Twitter either. I've grown weary of the noise of voices who don't matter to me while I'm still trying to figure out what I think about most things.
Making this decision didn't come easily. It took the expressed concern of my brother with me defending myself through tears before I accepted this reality: I need to re-center myself and remember the reason I write. I need to stop calling myself "a writer who is writing a book", and just be a writer. Writing is in my DNA. I don't need to keep trying to convince myself and everyone else I'm a writer.
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
I'll be back, I love blogging. I've done it on and off for 17 years now. It's therapeutic to express who I am through writing because I want to be myself in every space I occupy, be it digital or physical. But sometimes, even our favorite things require a stepping away from, a re-examining. This is me, resetting. This is me caring for my Self.
So for now, I bid you adieu. See you on the other side, when my new chapter is ready to be told - if it ever is meant to.