I've been struggling. I'm anxious about the direction my life is heading. I'm consistently overwhelmed at work. I'm still getting over my breakup. My room's a mess. My dishes aren't done. My bathroom hasn't been properly cleaned in weeks. I'm just struggling.
It's really hard to admit all those things. With our ability to cultivate our online presences, it's increasingly easy to make your life look perfect. I know that I've cropped messes out of the background of an Instagram and only posted on Facebook the pictures from before the wind messed up my hair. Pinterest tricks us into thinking people have perfect, cutely decorated, Martha Stewart lives with just the right lighting. These days, a facade of well-being is all too easy.
When someone says "How are you?" I instinctively respond "Good" regardless of whether that's true or not. Even when it's someone who I would feel comfortable opening up to, I automatically put on a happy face. Sometimes when I'm having a really bad day, I'll go so far as to say that I'm doing "Okay." I think most people are guilty of lying like this without even thinking about it. Why is it so difficult to be honest about how we're feeling when we're feeling poorly?
I think this is part of why I've been avoiding blogging some. As a writer, I desire to write about what's going on in my life and admitting to the public that you don't have your shit together is scary. But, dear Public, I definitely don't have my shit together.
Turning 28 really freaked me out. For some reason, I always thought that was the age when everything would click. I would turn 28 and suddenly start consistently cleaning my room and always remember to brush my teeth before bed. I would turn 28 and my shit would magically get itself together.
Surprisingly, just waiting around for things to get better did not actually accomplish anything for my life. I'm as shocked about it as you are.
But, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. So, I'm here to tell you that I'm struggling and it's not going to get better unless I get off my butt and do something about it. No more excuses and no more waiting. But I can tell myself that all day long and nothing will change. I need my community to support me.
I have a lot of friends who don't go to church. I have a lot of people who ask me why I go to church when so few of my peers chose the same path. I'm still working on coming up with a coherent answer, but the best I can offer now is: Community. Part of what that means to me is having people to support me and keep me accountable.
At Oxford Circle Mennonite Church, where I attended before becoming a member of West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship, accountability was something that was stressed. It was not enough to show up on Sunday, you had to be open to relationships with other church-goers and it was understood that part of that relationship meant accountability.
To be honest, I kind of hated it. I was in my early twenties and wanted to make poor decisions and think stupid things without anyone telling me I was wrong. But that wasn't an option and people told me I was wrong. Sometimes they were right and sometimes they weren't; but I wasn't able to just keep doing something without thinking through whether it was a good idea or not. And when I said I was going to do something, there were people who invested themselves in making sure I accomplished it. As much I hated it at the time, my experiences at OCMC taught me how important accountability is.
But I've learned the only way to be held accountable, is to make our shortcomings known. So, friends, I'm letting you know that I'm falling short of who I want to be. That I need to make changes that are substantial and obvious to those around me. That I need to stop waiting for my shit to magically gather itself and DO something about it.
One thing I've always desired for this blog is that it be authentically me. I've been falling short of that lately. I've been trying to gloss over my cracks and rely on superficiality to hide any hint of struggle. But that is not honesty and I am dedicated to honesty in my writing. So, with this new layout I've built for my blog, I want a fresh start. A re-dedication to being open about the experience of my life - which includes my struggles. I'm telling this to all of you because then I know that you're expecting it. Because then I'll disappoint more than just myself if I continue to fall back into patterns of polishing my life so it seems better or more interesting. I'm grateful to have a readership that I desire to be authentic with.