Friday, January 16, 2015

plain jane.

When I started blogging six (six!) years ago, it was a secret and I didn't capitalize and I mostly wanted a space besides my regular old journals to spread out my thoughts on a page.  I posted cryptic messages about Chris, pre-dating, which I later labeled with a topic category of romantic angst (feel free to read and chortle at twenty-year-old college Sarah).  I posted song lyrics.  Even when I casually mentioned the existence of a blog to friends or family, I continued to prefer the vague, the poetic, the hazy.

Six years later, I suspect this has something to do with a fear of being truly seen, truly known.  If I hide behind vagueness, no one can reject me or dislike me or disagree with me.  There is no risk of being misunderstood, or even perfectly understood and nevertheless disliked.  Instead: stay hidden, take no risks, don't confess or admit to what you're about or what you like or believe.  For many reasons, I tend to believe being mysterious and unknown is safer than being seen out in plain sight.  Despite the web of fear that surrounds this belief for me, I'd like to start taking small steps to remedy this.
I'll hit the pause button and add: I've written before about my desire to conduct my social media behavior in a healthy and authentic way, and I don't believe it's healthy to share every thought, belief, or experience on the interwebs when some thoughts and conversations are meant for face-to-face settings.  However, I do feel tugged in the direction of sharing less fearfully, in a less controlled manner, even if I ultimately conclude I want to share less, and not more, on social media.  Why do I feel afraid to share certain posts about racial problems on Facebook?  Why do I leave huge sections of my life in the shadows?  Why am I so secretive at times?  I want to make sure I don't answer any of those questions with the answer fear.  

With that in mind, here are a few real-life happenings:

I've been playing with a community orchestra since last September.  I originally committed to playing only the first autumn concert with the group, but found I really wanted to play the next concert, so...I am.  I bring my viola to work with me during the week and walk over to the music building nearly every day to practice during my lunch break (and it's mostly wonderful--and just a little bittersweet--to be back in those familiar old practice rooms where I sang my way to a vocal performance degree in undergrad).  In the process, I've remembered how much I enjoy the routine of practicing classical music--it provides structure and even relief for this anxiety-prone mind.

I've also discovered how much I loathe playing viola in band settings, even at church, because it's stressful to try and write parts to play with a pop-style band--especially if those musicians are the sort who are quite talented but have trouble talking in key signatures.  If I were a composition major, this would maybe be a task I enjoyed more, but I wasn't and I don't.  This has been an important realization; post-college, I felt such pressure to continue identifying as a musician that I forced myself to say yes to every opportunity that presented itself, and frankly it made me miserable.  Being a musician does not mean I must enjoy playing music in every setting, and it's helpful for me to identify what I like and don't like, and to not feel guilty or ashamed for those preferences.

I watched The Good Lie and I felt wrecked by it--what am I doing with my life and why am I not making dinner with and making space in my home for refugees?  I want to allow myself to be uncomfortable and listen closely to the stories of those who are marginalized or dismissed as unimportant by society.  Truly, refugees are the least of these.  And yet--I also have this tendency to feel horrible and debilitating shame over not being good enough, not bringing the Kingdom fully enough in my life because I'm so white and privileged and educated.  How do I let myself feel the weight of what's wrong in the world, in a way that moves me toward change, without believing my shortcomings or blindness or failures will cause God to love me less?  Might a confidence in God's love for me actually be more motivation toward change than shaming myself over how far I still have to go?


Chris and I are talking about moving, but we are slow and cautious in our discussions.  We don't want to fool ourselves into thinking a new home would be a safer home, post-robbery.  There is no way to guarantee against robbery in the future, period.  That being said, we've been disappointed with the way our building management has handled the situation and find ourselves wondering: perhaps our next home can be under management that inspires slightly more trust?


And on a lighter but still-in-the-spirit-of-sharing note, my favorite Golden Globe looks:

Love, Plain Jane Sarah J

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