It recently occurred to me--better yet I've always sort of known this--that people think that all of my writing is about me. They think that all of my writing is about some ex that I'm angry at or some friend that I fell out with. But I'm a pastor at my core. I hear stories from other people--in conjunction with my own stories, many of which have happened throughout my lifetime--and I put all of that together when I am thinking about what I'm going to write about for the day. A lot of what I write is stuff that I've already processed. For example, when I talk about relationships, many times I'm talking about that ex-boyfriend from 2014 who was a serial cheater or that ex-whatever from 2012-2015 who wasn't putting in the work to show up for himself or for me. I'm not necessarily talking about anything that I'm currently going through. But, on occasion I'm weaving those past stories in with present experiences. And so it's important to know that when you're reading anything, it may not be about what's happening in real time.
I say this because I want to caution people against making assumptions about who I'm talking about or what I'm talking about or why I'm talking about it. Yes, this is a life experiences blog. This is a public space where I am able to say the things that some of my friends can't say on social media or to their significant others or to their parents or maybe even to their friends. I'm able to say these things as a writer and because it's public writing, I am always working to curate the story in a way that is sensitive--in a way that is understanding, in a way that can transcend the individual situations that are happening and speak to a larger narrative.
There have been many times when people have been in their feelings about something I've said on here. There have been other times when people have tried to make assumptions about who I was talking about. For example, in one of my recent posts, For Colored Girls Who Are Tired of Mothering Men, the assumption was made that 1) I'm referring to something I'm currently going through, and 2) I'm talking about a specific person. There were a few men in my circle who were salty about it, feeling as if I were talking about them. However this story is a story that is universal. It is an observational opinion piece that highlights my experiences and the experiences of others, over time--not just currently. And frankly, if the shoe fits, WEAR IT! If you think something is about you, it probably is! Own up to why the title made you feel uncomfortable. Own up to the fact that you're salty because, perhaps, there is an element of truth in the post that rubs up against a wound...or your insecurities. 👀I'm not here to pacify--to always write things that make us feel good about ourselves. I'm here to call out the demons--the things people are afraid to talk about publicly, the things that make us uncomfortable and keep us from being our best selves.
When I write posts like "Guilty For Experiencing Joy"--which speaks to the feelings of guilt regarding experiencing the good moments in life because at any moment, one knows that the tower could come crashing down, the walls could crumble, a partner could break up with you, or you can lose your job--I'm speaking to a collective and global life experience that has surfaced in conversations with others. While there is some truth to that in my life, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's happening in real time, or that the clarifying examples solely stem from my life experiences. I feel that this is important to explain because, as a future pastor--as somebody who preaches--I get a lot of questions about things that I say in my sermons. People always assume that I'm talking about myself, but when you're doing pastoral care with people--with friends, with relatives, with congregants--things come up in conversation that inform your writing and your sermons. I feel that a good pastor is one who listens to what's happening in the lives of others and adapts their messages to that. So, when we're talking about losing jobs in a sermon, we're not always talking about ourselves in real time; we're talking about something that might have come up in the prior week of pastoral care. We're talking about something that might've come up in a side conversation with a friend or a partner; and you have to explore those topics in a sensitive way that doesn't expose the people who you've been in conversation with, including oneself. So, even as a writer, preacher, and songwriter--somebody who has a lot of public works of expression out in the universe--I have to always check myself before sharing this sacred act of expression with the world to make sure that I am still maintaining an element of personal privacy.
The bottom line is:
I write because I have to write.
I write because I have to write.
I write because I have no choice but to be free.
This is a freeing act of expression. There are moments when I feel the need to edit or censor my posts. There are times when I've thought about throwing in the towel on this writing thing because, all censoring aside, it is still very personal. However, I am charged with the task of healing others through my writing--of speaking truth to power through my words--and I don't take that lightly. Some of what I say may step on some toes. Some of what I express might aggravate some spirits. But if the shoe fits, slide on into it! There's no shame in coming to terms with oneself through the written expression of another. And furthermore, everything is not about you--Shocking, I know! Take what you can from these life experiences and move on.
Thank you for reading--for keeping up with me and holding me accountable to this goal that I've set for myself. I've successfully been blogging daily for 4 weeks and I'm so grateful for perseverance and the encouragement of those who read, even intermittently. Thank you.