After accidentally archiving all of my blog posts from the last 5 years, I had put it in my mind that I would figure out how to fix it so they would repost in order and all that fun stuff. Apparently, though, it wasn't actually a priority for me because I never found the motivation, nor created the time to tackle it. Instead, I just avoided this space all together. Ha. Which, naturally, lead me to what was really going on: those posts, the things I talked about, etc... they don't need to come along into this present moment, nor the future, with me. Their season has passed, they've been returned to the soil in new form to nurture the roots and usher in fruits and it's time to move forward, move onward.
So, here I stand.
The last 3 months have been transformational to say the least. I lost one of my closest childhood friends, someone whom I lived with and considered a brother, early this year in a tragic and sudden car accident. He was only 33 years old. I'm staring at his picture now as I try to find the words, his photo sits just above eye level on the shelf above my computer. Hi Spencer. I'll never look at Huckleberry Finn the same again. I miss you brother. I don't think I'm ready to talk about this here yet. I'm going to hold it close for a while longer.
But that happened very early in the year, after the sudden passing of Adam's sweet grandmother, Dorothy. I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this... But death has a way of making you see life. And that's what these last few months have been for me: about LIFE. The living of it, the appreciating it, the experiencing of it. Breathing it in.
The last 10 years of my life have been a whirlwind: spiritually, emotionally, physically. A lot has happened and changed. When taking stock of it all, I noticed a pattern over the last decade: when I was in community with other women in my physical life, as in, real flesh, blood and bone before me, I was healthier, and I wasn't sharing as much with people long-distance/online. When I was without that community of women in my life, I was using social media much more and also oversharing in ways that were toxic to my well-being. Coincidentally, and I say that with deep irony, the periods of interpersonal peace and joy within my life always coincided with the periods of time when I wasn't as active on social media and/or getting a majority of my "socialization" (can we even call it that?) online.
You don't know people unless you're doing life with people.
And doing life with people requires physical presence.
Seeing their good and bad days. The way they express themselves. Their laugh lines.
I can think of a handful of women whom I've been in correspondence with for a long time now, and while I love them dearly, I know that our relationship would be that much more fulfilling and tangible if we lived in community together. We would know one another in a more real and organic way. No amount of text messages, emails, chats, "likes" can replace natural intimacy cultivated over time through shared experiences.
When we come online and find our only community that way, what we do is find community based on perceived sameness. And, actually, perceived sameness isn't typically a good thing. One, a perception isn't necessarily the truth of it. And two, too much of the same and you will find yourself in an echo chamber, no growth through mutual exchange of new ideas and friendly debate. It's a breeding ground for stagnation and ego. It's not healthy. Of course, it's no surprise that most of the time that I've had any type of drama in my life, it's been through these spaces or the witnessing of them blowing up.
I've really found my footing here, where I'm living. It took a long time. I thought since I had connections to a few people that I had to be close with them. But God has shown me to keep following His lead and fully surrender to where He wants me. I have friends here now. Some are connected to Adam and the life he had here before I came, but most are new, not at all connected to anyone or anything that came before. New growth. And I'm grateful.
As I anchored new connections in my community, I found myself picking up my phone less and less. Taking longer to respond to messages, not intentionally, but because I had so much happening around me. I realized I didn't need to use Twitter as much for my random thoughts because I had women in the flesh to share them with. So now it just sits there like a fossil to a former life. I am sure I will return at some point, but I haven't felt the call to do so yet. Publicly, I realized I didn't need to share so much of what was happening in my personal life because I had women to talk about it with, privately. I watched my social media presence bloom into a space of sharing beauty, and glimpses of my art and my work. The internet is not my main community, but a peak into the life I'm living in my community. And that feels good.
I feel incredibly fortunate, to be alive. To be here. To be with in this home with the love of my life. To have this family. To be rooting into this community. To be finding my way. To truly feel confident in myself and my path.
There's been a lot of other things happening that I'll share another time. But I'm healthy. I'm the healthiest, happiest and clearest I've ever been in my life. And I thank God for it every single day. I was in prayer a few days ago, in my car, a rare moment alone, and I was talking out loud to Him and I couldn't help but cry because I came from a very broken home, my life was painful and I never believed I was good enough for peace, for joy, for love: but I have it. In incredible ways. And I will not take a second of this life for granted. And I'm not going to lose a moment of it to the illusion of the internet, the illusion of a platform.
My platform is here. With them.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for the real.