Every time I move residences, my skeletons get dragged out of the closet. My last moving crew unearthed quite a few items of interest. The list of discoveries included a book from Carnival cruise lines on how to make towel animals, two antique baby sweaters in my closet, and a clipped out picture of a wedding dress shoved in a book on my shelf.
On that particular day, the growing evidence of my secret life led to the start of a personal phrase, fitting for many moments in my daily life. I can best define it with anecdotes and examples; it must be spoken with a slow cadence and lots of sarcasm…
“Very revealing… ”
Amy or Victoria spoke the words first in response to a pile of brownie crumbs they found next to my bed. It became the chorus of the day while artifact after artifact of the life we keep under our bed and off our Instagram feeds was unearthed, boxed up, and moved to my new apartment.
That phrase, very revealing, is the heart of what I want this blog to be. Very revealing has come to describe the moments I am laid bare for the world to see. Sometimes it is hilarious, sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s depressing, but most of the time, the vulnerability is not easy. The moments of revelation don’t expose some shocking secret, but instead, the mundane realities of brownies ate in bed while watching through the entire “Cheers” series or the searches Google predicts when you start typing in the search bar. “Very reveling,” encapsulates that feeling you have when looking across the movies suggested for you on Netflix or when a guest shows up at your house before you’ve had a chance to clean. You are lower case r revealed, seen in the every day fluorescent lighting.
For me, vulnerability means the loss of control. I prefer to carefully curate versions of myself, tailored to meet the needs of my current group of spectators. Vulnerability means letting go of something I am talented at—social chameleon-ism.
It is what terrifies me most about marrying Drew this September. I’m not ready for someone else to launder my underwear or hear what happens the morning after I eat a Chicago style pizza. Even today, Drew’s incredulous reaction to the Mardi Gras beads, Chicago Marathon magazine, and mini Christmas stocking I keep at the bottom of hamper was a lot to bear. I don’t know where else to stash these random items, but suddenly, I’m questioning my whole system for storing stuff without a place.
Mostly, I am tired. I am tired of trimming the little hairs that sprout from my right cheek, I am tired of tending to the flatness of my abdomen, I am tired of lying to my hair dresser about how often I blow dry my hair, I am tired of giving funny disclaimers that hide what I truly love, I am tired of the way my heart races before having to order a beer or pronounce the word “Rooibos” at a tea shop where they steep tea at specific temperatures, and I am tired of racing to my iPod to skip over the show tunes when certain friends are over. “Pshhh, weird, how did ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’ end up in my iTunes library, and why are there so many plays…pshhh….pshhh.”
So many moments lately, during a particularly sweaty and sore spin class or while continuing the unsuccessful search for any shirt that will look good with the overpriced Anthropologie splurge I bought for myself on my birthday, I long for a culture of more vulnerability. I want to shout out, “Am I going to have to keep this up for the rest of my life?”
There have been many blogs that have inspired me to lean towards this type of material, but I must admit, that like so many place in my life, I’ve had the notion that I need to clean my life up first, can more of my peaches and wear more patterned tights, before I’m ready to start this blogging venture.
I have learned a lot of things from blogs, good and bad: I’ve learned that cloth diapers are next to godliness, babies are born in bath tubs, I’ve learned that there’s apparently a thing called a bad shoe week, and that there is a type of foundation that one wears to the grocery store. I’ve learned from my mom’s generation that there are a lot of things people wished they knew before they got married and that good husbands are the type that clean up puke in the middle of the night.
For this blog, I’ve decided, I am going to write from a place of exhaustion—a place of hands up surrender, a “what gives?” time in my existence. I’m starting a written catalog of my journey towards vulnerability that at least my mom and dad will read. I want to continue to encourage a culture of vulnerability in social media, where we don’t push things under the rug so much, where we can talk about our messy marriages, but also our honor roll students without fear.
I do have full intentions of being an amazing human every day, the type that pushes through and grits their teeth, shows up for the pilates class, sends the love note to the boyfriend, spends a good hour on preparing my lessons for the next school-day, turns down the lure of the cupcake shop, and fits in an hour of quiet time and meditation while listening to a religious Pandora station. But then things happen. My mom gets cancer, my body chemicals are totally imbalanced, I get my lip bit off by a dog, it’s freezing outside, and that queen mattress I bought is so comfortable.
However, I don’t want to throw out the highlight reel with the bath water, rather, I want to watch it along with the bloopers. It is important that we notice, isolate, frame, the beauty all around us. However, I covet the whole story–the parts that have you at the edge of your seat, and the parts where my sister leaves the theatre to go use the bathroom. Let me be clear, if I ever do can peaches or give birth to a baby in a bath tub, you will hear about it, because I’ll be darn proud. I’ll also let you know if I haven’t worked out in a month… like this month for example, or the last two.
This blog is also an experiment in writing. From the earliest days of my 6th grade lap top diary, I’ve had a hard time finding a writer’s voice that fits me. I oscillate between naval gazing Jane Austen and a less witty Tina Fey; I want to find how these two voices come together. Thank you for bearing with me as I try to unify the disparate parts of my writing and me. I’m on a journey to include my sense of humor in the middle of my reflections, laughing and breathing.
I also want to be up front with my readers. I come from the Christian tradition, and I definitely see this journey of imperfection in light of a rescuing gospel, where I am not enough, but I am only enough through Christ who rescued me and perfectly loves me. That will definitely come through, but I hope that it is not alienating or non-inclusive. Please tell me if it is. My aim is to be narrative, not didactic, offering my story alongside all of yours.
Well this has all been… very revealing. And I hope it continues to be.