Writing. It’s especially frustrating and rarely rewarding. At least for me, that is. I peck away at my keyboard when I can carve out free time, and most of the words I write no one will every see. At this stage in my “career” I’m a minnow in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Every now and then I feel like I might be able to make a real go of this writing thing, but then my self-doubt creeps up, life gets busy, and I start to lose hope.
If this were just a hobby, I would have abandoned it by now. Along with the running shoes, boxing gloves, golf clubs, cookbooks, and Star Trek collectibles (I have unique hobbies), my blog and laptop would be collecting dust. Yet, there is a compulsion to write. Sometimes I literally feel burdened to write. The emotions, the thoughts, the feelings in my brain have to be processed through the art of writing, finding their way from my brain to my fingers to the little digital letters staring back at me from my Chromebook screen. It usually doesn’t do enough for me to just scribble them in a journal. No, for some reason I have to blog them.
I’ve talked to my therapist about this this on multiple occasions. I’ve asked, “Is it a bit narcissistic to feel like you have to share your words with the world?” She mostly assured me that the fact I’m afraid of being a narcissist is a good indication I’m not one. I swear, if you don’t have a therapist, you should. I love mine, and she’s worth every penny… despite the fact that she often just says things my husband, my mother, or two of my closest friends tell me. I just like hearing it from a professional. And seriously, she has helped me over the past 3 years.
Lately, I’ve been playing around with writing a novel. I’ve had several ideas in my brain for a while for a couple different types of fiction, and the exercise of writing characters and dialogue and conflict has been really fun. And for a few short weeks, I was going to abandon blogging to solely pursue writing about my two characters, Jules and Christopher (names subject to change as characters are developed).
But then… then this dang election descended into the ninth circle of hell, and I was compelled to write again. And this time it was the most raw and personal piece I’ve written in years… since I used to journal about my miscarriages. So, I wrote a little blog post entitled “I’ve Met ‘Donald Trump’ and I’m Tired of You Defending Him.” I figured it would provoke a little thought among my 10 regular readers and that would be it.
Nearly 1000 views later and dozens of messages later, I was wrong. It seems my being open and honest with readers about my own experience with sexual assault was cathartic to other survivors. I started getting messages like this:
Mandi, thank you so much for your excellent article on sexual abuse. It is spot-on what you go through for years after a rape. Mine was X years ago when I was 23 years old. The idea that it stays with you for a lifetime is so true. You don’t let it control your life but it stays pretty close to the surface. I certainly hope that all who read it will benefit from it. Thank you again and bless you for the service that you perform for humanity!!!
Thank you for writing this for all of us. Thank you for expressing this for all of us. We all have experienced this in some way. Some of us can’t even talk about it… Some people need to hear those voices to know they’re not alone even when they can’t speak.
And then, the private messages from a few others that just said, “Me too” and “Thank you” and “You gave me a voice I can’t find.”
I sit back and I can’t just abandon blogging. If anything I need to make time to really pursue it regularly. I need you to pray that I can find the balance in my life to do this. But I still want to write about Jules and Christopher and the world they inhabit. Blogging is like bleeding at times, but fiction has been invigorating.
I will continue to blog because every time I pour out myself on this screen, when I’m honest and raw and show my faults and failures and struggles, I hear from the few of you who read me and you need it. You need to hear that you aren’t alone. If you’ve been the victim of assault, you aren’t alone. If you think you are a bad mom, you aren’t alone. If you struggle with depression and anxiety, you aren’t alone. If you find yourself struggling with your faith, you aren’t alone. If you are desperate to live a life of justice and love, you aren’t alone.
In trying to make something of this blog, I keep thinking, what’s my focus? And I don’t have a single answer. I don’t have a singular focus. I’m not a mommy blogger, I’m not a faith blogger, I’m not a political blogger. I’m Mandi. And I’m going to take you down this weird intersection of motherhood, faith, and current events. You aren’t always going to agree with me, and I’m going to eventually be okay with that fact.
I’d love to hear back from you about things you’d like to know about me. I’d love to know what it is of my writing that you like. And I promise, I will finish my series on talking to your kids about sex. I’m building a little blogging community, and those of you that read regularly are blessings to me. Always feel free to share my posts and my blog with others. And one day, maybe I’ll get that book out or another book… I hope to at least.
I do appreciate all of you. And know that I’m here, plucking away at my keyboard because of you. If I can give you the words that you can’t express yourself, then my writing has reason. Peace friends, and try to stay sane during the rest of this crazy political season. We’ll make it through to the other side, I promise.