this is me

stand aloneed. . . and this is real.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is that makes writing powerful. What is it about a blog that would bring you back and leave you wanting more?

One of my favorite bloggers is one of most irreverent, vulgar, say-it-like-it-is bloggers on the Internet. His writing is awesome, but what makes him powerful is that he is REAL. He doesn’t hide behind a curtain of pretense. Oh, no — he owns his shit. (Pardon my french for those of you who aren’t used to cursing on my site.) He talks about everything from alcoholism to fighting for custody of his child to his religion (or lack thereof) to parenting to . . . And, what’s more, he doesn’t give a damn what others think. He would never apologize for cussing like I just did.

But I don’t just like him because he is real. I also like him because, despite the way in which his mannerisms go against everything I was ever taught was “proper” or “right,” he is a GREAT person. He is a thinking individual who doesn’t dish out bullshit and won’t tiptoe around those who do.

And I respect that.

There is a lot I’d like to say on this blog but haven’t for fear of what others might think. My parents and friends from my former church read this blog. What would they think if I talked about my parents’ divorce or the fact that I no longer adhere to my childhood denomination? What would they say if I challenged everything I’ve ever known and came up with different conclusions than they have? What if I talked about the things that have made me me, which, as I have discussed in previous posts, have not all been me?

boatI can’t say that, from all my thinking, I’ve come to any brilliant conclusions. After all the work I’ve put into it, I’m not about to abandon shift in order to start a new site where I could say anything I want. But I will say that I am determined to be even more open than I have been on here . . . even if doing so scares the sh** out of me.

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After all, this is me, and I am real . . .

Aren’t you?

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*The blogger mentioned above can be found here. (Thank you, LeClown. And you’re welcome.)

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Images: Pinterest

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97 thoughts

  1. I like people who question. You may come up with different answers than your culture but those who are important will love you for your mind and the depth and beauty it represents. Keep pushing the borders.

    • Thanks so much, Terri. Since you know and come from the same background as me, that means a lot! As Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that — fully. And I respect others who feel the same even if they come up with different conclusions than I do. That open discussion is *so* important.

      Anyway, thanks again! And, p.s. I see you’re a night owl like me! ;)

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if, as you grow older, you start to “shift” towards writing about some of the things you are hesitant about for fear of alienating some of your readers. One of the subjects some of the bloggers I follow have in common is the idea of writing what their “followers” want to read. I would say it all boils down to who you are writing your blog for. Is it for you, or is it for your readers? I write because I enjoy it. I’ve been blogging for three years now, and it took two and a half for me to actually start to get a decent following. And you know what? At the time when I had weeks or months go by with no “likes”, that didn’t bother me. I was writing because I am doing this for me.

    I like what you write because you are good at it. A couple of the bloggers I follow are dealing with divorce. One is using her blog to help her fight addiction. A couple just talk about daily life. And I keep going back because they write well. They can spin a story or can write a good poem. Even though the subject may not always be the most pleasant, they tell it well. They make me care about what they are going through.

    As long as you stay true to yourself and let that shine through, you will have people who want to read what you write about. I think if you answer the central question of who you are writing for (and maybe it is for you and others), it will help you decide the direction your blog will take. Regardless of your decision, chances are I will be continuing on that journey with you.

    • I think in the end it’s a little of both: I write for me *and* for my audience, and hence am sensitive to my audience. If I wrote anonymously, I’d probably talk in a little more depth about things like my parents’ divorce and how that has affected me, but since I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings… I will find other ways to express who I am that are also vulnerable but do not implicate others. I’ve done a pretty good job of walking that line so far, so I think I can continue to do so in the future….

      In the end, like you, I started this blog for me, and it is me to whom I have to stay true. Thanks for following, Dan. It means a lot. x jess

  3. Jess, I go through the same things. I will write how I feel and what I have experienced, but am concerned on who it may offend. I have many in my life that I went to church and school with that would be offended at a majority of what I write. I came to the conclusion that the truth outshines the hiding. I could hide much of what I have gone through and “fluff” the writing, but it would be lying, and I can’t lie. You have to write for yourself and not others.

    As you keep writing you will know that writing about personal experience will help you relate to your reader. There might be something you experienced that they can relate to, and that is what a writer is supposed to do, right? Plus, they will remember you because you now have something in common with them.

    Fiction writers state many times that they write from personal experience because they want the reader to relate. Just don’t make the mistake of making something up and pass it off as though you lived it. Readers are smarter than we think and can sniff out a lie when they read it!!

    • “You have to write for yourself and not for others.” No truer words have ever been said. I agree that opening up and being a little bit vulnerable can help readers relate to and remember you. I was a little vulnerable even in this post, and the comments that have ensued have shown that to be true. I know what you mean about making something up and passing it off as though you lived it. I’ve actually contemplated doing that a few times (with my Asia stories), but the words just wouldn’t come…. And that’s when I knew they just weren’t right.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Kurt. It’s always nice to hear from you. :) Jess

  4. Jessica,
    Thank you. I’m touched. Le Clown as a character didn’t come right off the bat when I began blogging. It’s when I let him out that the cussing and the transparency took the centre stage. And perhaps like you, if it wasn’t for Le Clown, I the author couldn’t have been this irreverent on-line. So I did need to hide under Le Clown’s make up to find my true voice on WordPress… There’s something to be said about this…

    If I can leave one piece of advice: this is your template, and your house. This is where you lay down your thoughts for others to read. Lay them to your liking, my friend, the way you would populate your house with what makes it you…
    Le Clown

    • LeClown,
      You’re absolutely right. This is my template, my house. And I’m painting it with my own colors. What works for LeClown would never work for me, and yet he really does inspire me… And maybe someday I’ll start a separate, anonymous platform of my own — I don’t know. In the meantime, though, I just have to say — and I really do mean it — thank you.
      Jessica

  5. There’s this great TED talk I listen to over and over again by Brene Brown where she talks about vulnerability and shame. Her main message is that we should dare to show up in life…be you and all it represents. That shame keeps us from daring to live greatly.

    So Jessica, like I’ve said before: be you. I know, easier said then done, cos I’m struggling with this reality myself. But honestly though, you’re pretty open and vulnerable on your blog. Dated a now catholic priest…interesting!

    P/S you’ve made it in the blogosphere when Le Clown is your friend, no?

    • That sounds like a great TED talk! I should look it up. Being a little bit vulnerable can be a very powerful thing… And worth it when it’s done right and in the right setting. You’re right that I’m pretty open on my blog. One of my good friends recently pointed out to me that, by not cussing and respecting others, I *am* being true to myself. And he was right. And that made me feel better.

      Yes, I dated someone who became a Catholic priest. It was of the most painful experiences of my life as we both still had strong feelings for one another when he took his final vows… But that’s life.

      And, yes! LeClown is awesome. I feel honored to call him “friend.” … And can I ask you a silly question? What’s your first name? I always want to use it but, using my usual tactics (looking at email addresses or whatever) haven’t been able to determine what yours is!

  6. My entire family and some friends read my blog. I run everything I write through a filter. I have to. I don’t want to hurt anyone. It’s just a blog and not worth wrecking someone’s day because of an offhand comment that I thought would be revelatory and funny but only served to make someone else feel shame. I like to think that I’m stripped bare to those close to me but out here in the ether, I am guarded.

    • I fully understand what you mean. Hurting someone close to me is not worth it. I am *very* sensitive to how others will perceive and react to what I say… And I would never crack a joke at someone’s expense, especially not publicly.

      And yet, at the same time, I have to be true to myself. In this regard, it’s funny because, for me, in some ways it’s actually easier for me to be honest with the “big wide world” than with some (not all) of the people close to me… After all, the big wide world is not affected my me, and I am not affected my it… It has done nothing to shape me, and I have done nothing to shape it. So there is just… empathy, or sympathy, or understanding based on universally-shared experiences…

      In any event, I am committed to staying true to myself while being sensitive to others, too. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. The world could use more people like you… Jess

    • A long strange trip… Isn’t it? I like that. It’s so true. And it isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. And you’re welcome for LeClown! Don’t say I didn’t warn you about his mannerisms, haha, but as you can see from his comment above, he really does fucking rock! :D

  7. Nicely done….When you speak about things like that is not only you or for yourself but in a way is for all of us who are connected through the blog world and for that thank you, this post means a lot :)

  8. There’s a remarkable freedom to find in disengaging yourself from the opinions of others. Those who abandon you when you’re true to yourself are dead weight anyway, and you find those on whom you really can count.

    • Aha. I’d agree with that, Matt, except for where my family is involved. No one is perfect, and no parent or child has ever been perfect. Some people are more open about their flaws and about how their interactions with others have affected them than others. And while I might gladly tell you everything there is to know — good, bad, ugly, and otherwise — about me, where who I am implicates others, it complicates things…

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s always good to hear from you. :)

  9. It takes some bravery to write the truth of what you feel in a voce that is free from the worry of being judged. Le Clown’s blog is one of my favourites. All you can do is continue striving to find your truest voice… I know that I probably have a long way to go find my own. But I can say that having been away from WordPress for far too long, it’s always good to come back to your blog. l look forward to seeing where you take it…!

    • Good to see you, Mark! I’d noticed you hadn’t been around in a while. I’m glad you like coming back to my blog. :)

      Yes, LeClown rocks. I’ve truly been inspired by his work. And I think what everyone is saying is true: You’ve just got to be true to yourself. In my case, being true to myself means saying who I am and what’s on my heart but being sure not to implicate others. It’s a complicated balance, but one worth striving for at all costs.

      Hope you have a great day! :) Jess

    • Thanks so much, Lianne! I’m pretty open about me; where I come into trouble is when who I am implicates others… Haha. But I’m not afraid to speak my own sh** — thanks for caring enough to tag along! :)

  10. I’m sometimes question my own real-ness too….when blogging but also in life. I’ve been a people pleaser all my life…there I said it!!!!! Now I just need to get off that train and be real! Thanks for posting about this!!

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Tracy! I’m definitely a people pleaser, too. Can’t stand the thought of hurting or letting anyone down. But I’ve definitely realized I have to be true to myself. I can’t do things just to make other people happy. It’s not always easy, but in the end it’s worth it to listen to my own heart…

      About blogging, though, well… I still don’t have a good answer. We are not islands living in vacuums, and we cannot write as though we were. It’s definitely a dilemma! But happy blogging! In the end, just remember you’ve got to be true to you!

      Best regards :)
      Jessica

      • Thanks Jessica! Yes, it’s definitely a balance in the land of blogging. My family reads my blog as well… So I often find myself holding back…I don’t want to hurt people or let them down either. Being true to myself is a lesson I’ve learned in my life, the hard way. But I will always listen to that inner voice now!!!
        Tracy

  11. Great post, Jessica! If we don’t question, how will we find answers? I began to truly live and when I decided to live out loud. Gotta spread your wings and fly.

    • I fully agree. Asking questions is so important. Without that, we merely float through life and never really live at all. Thanks so much for your feedback. I love hearing from you. :) jess

  12. Yes, you need to take a dive. You had me until you left with “priest…” One way is to tell the truth but change the names. Someone may want to sue you. I think if you show us rather than tell us, you’ll do well. And didn’t you say that: “Your favorite bloggers is one of most irreverent, vulgar, say-it-like-it-is bloggers on the Internet?” Well, he is the kind of friend you really want to have. He is who you respect. It says a lot about you. The rest of us can go to hell and we will if we are afraid of the truth. I can’t wait!

    • Thank you, Mario! But you have me a little confused… I had you until I left with “priest…”? What do you mean? Did I lose your interest at that point? Yes, LeClown has a style all his own, which is not mine but which I greatly respect. And I agree that the best writers explain by showing instead of telling. That is always what I try to do. Changing names is a good idea, except when I’m talking about family members who already know who they are. A simple name change won’t do me much good there. ;) Anyway, thanks so much for your feedback. I will continue to try to stay true to myself, and we’ll just go from there. Hopefully my readers will continue to want to come along!

      All the best,
      Jess

      • For some reason I lost interest after you didn’t develop the idea about the guy who became a Catholic Priest. I wanted to hear that story. He loved your mind, etc. Someone mentioned the importance of content in keeping the reader interested and I guess that was the content that interested me.

      • Ahh… I see. Thank you for the clarification. Funny. That is a story I have thus far avoided telling. But it’s definitely a big part of me. Stay tuned. ;)

        (Also, I agree. Content is key… I guess that my intent with this post was not to tell that story… But maybe it should have been, or else I should have set the post up differently. I recognized even while writing it that the intro did not connect well to the rest of the story… Grr. But no writer can be perfect all the time… So, seriously, thank you. To improve my craft, I need all the feedback I can get.)

      • “I recognized even while writing it that the intro did not connect well to the rest of the story…” Yes, that is what was happening and I feel like until you tell this story the rest will be half-hearted.

      • Well, it’s fixed for now… For this post, anyway. I will have to introduce the boyfriend/priest story at a later time. It’s a tale worth telling on its own terms. Thanks again.

    • I think they must know by now. The question is does he? Maybe you should watch the Thorn Birds together. I reread this quote today and it seems timely:

      “The renunciation of the world becomes an act of folly, like the total abandonment of the self to the obscure will of God, a mad quest that seemingly has no end, as the mystics had long acknowledged, p. 30, The History of Madness, Michel Foucault.

      • Funny… He probably knows more than his family. He was good at hiding his struggle from them. The last time I saw him was a few months before he took his final vows. I don’t believe his family knows about that visit.

        As for what he feels today, I haven’t a clue. That last visit was four years ago, and even if he knows about this blog, I imagine he’d have the self-control not to read it. I am now but a blemish in his past.

        That is a great quote, though, and, yes, perfectly timed. From my experience, I couldn’t agree with Foucault more.

      • I am glad you saw him. I am sure he loves you. I doubt he has the self-control not to read your blog, but then he might not act on it. You are not a blemish; you are probably all of his past and his present. Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

      • Mario, I’m so sorry for my delayed response! I hope you’ll forgive me. Yes, perhaps he does still love me. And of course I’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But as a priest he even changed his name, and I’m pretty sure the boy I once loved is becoming a smaller and smaller part of him all the time…

        In any event, whether he and his family read this or not, I suppose doesn’t matter. You’re right. I have no doubt that I’ll tackle this topic at some point — and maybe sooner rather than later, thanks to you. Thank you for the encouragement. I needed it!

      • Yes, I have to agree with you. Someone who loves someone else usually wants to be with them because it would be a truth he couldn’t extinguish and God is about truth isn’t he/she? Besides, I think being in a relationship about godly, withdrawing from society if easy. I don’t think God advocates a formal church, per se. But, yes this story is your story and as a writer, you’ll have to tell it if in not so many words, because it will/does come from you whether you like it or not.

      • I’m with ya. I think God is outside of church… And, yes, in some ways withdrawing from society and “normal” stresses — work, home, relationships, financial burdens, etc. — *is* easy. There’s a lot of sacrifice that goes on with that, too, of course, but… Anyway, you’re right. My story will be told — all in good time. ;)

        Thanks again for your encouragement and thoughts.

      • You really have a good story in this of yours. It is kind of important if you want to be a writer to tell it. Telling the truth is key. Just change the names and so forth so no one will know.

  13. Nice and powerful. I have been fighting with what I should do with my blog as well. I feel as though I made the focus a little too narrow but I don’t want to start another one. One can only talk so much about culture, especially when it becomes stagnant. Rock the blog and keep up the amazing work!

    • Thanks, Matthew! Yes, blogging is an interesting phenomenon. My blog is all over the place, and sometimes I don’t like that. But I think your blog is great! Really, you should just talk about whatever you want. Readers (like me!) will follow. I’d love to know more about Japanese culture… I’m sure so would you. ;) Here’s to more blogging adventures!

  14. Great post Jess. It has me thinking, and I do agree that it is necessary to disengage yourself from what others think to find your true feelings and express them in your work. From what I have read from you, it is in your nature to stay true to yourself and be sensitive for others, so you do have the talent to walk such a line.

    Your blog is wonderful, growing and very successful…so I would guess that ‘being more yourself’ will just increase what you have already created. Saying anything you want will be worth reading, if only what ‘you’ say is really ‘you’. It will be great for us all :-)

    • Thanks so much, Randall. You’re the second person who’s told me that since I published this post. You’re right that it is my nature to be open while respecting my boundaries with others. Even if I had a pen name and no one knew who I was, I wouldn’t ever cuss on my site. It’s just not who I am.

      Anyway, I always appreciate your feedback. Thank you. And I just *loved* your recent post on Ellinor. Absolutely stunning.

  15. We all tend to think too much. There’s no point in criticizing each other for it. I suppose the difference is the sort of questions we think about. Many, likely most, people as “what” or “who” questions. You ask “why.” Most writers do. Rather, it’s the asking of “why” that inclines one to write.
    So you know, I’m all for you venturing out, if you will. Of course, that’s easy for me to say.

    • You’re right. It’s the “why” questions that need to be asked, and those are the ones I ask most! I’m also always looking for connections… I will continue to venture out as much as I can. Some of the things that have made me me are events that happened to me that were not, in fact, my choice. My parents got divorced right after I moved to Taiwan three years ago. That phone call was not a happy one, and the events that have unfolded since then have greatly impacted the person I am today. These things are very difficult for me to talk about, however, since they implicate my parents. But we’ll see… I’m sure I can find safe ways to “walk the line” as time goes on. Lol.

      Thanks for your support as always, Lucas. Loved your most recent post about giving blood. Cheers!

  16. Just be who YOU are…..
    No matter what happens around you….
    This is You and only You and only You in these words you write here….
    The real YOU….and this is the only reason may be…………..!!

    • The only reason maybe what, Kazi? I am me. You know that. And anyone who reads my words knows that. I will find my true voice as time goes on, though it make take my entire lifetime…

    • Thanks, Mabel! You’re kind. Any suggestions as to what you mean by “wider variety”? Some people have suggested I write a weekly section, like “Friday Fives” or something like that. I may eventually decide to follow through with that. We’ll see.

      Anyway, thanks as always for your support and feedback! I really enjoy being in touch! :) Jess

      • I’ve always liked what I’ve read from you so far – travels, poems, reflective thinking on personal events. A weekly section sounds good. When I mused “wider variety”, I was thinking perhaps you could write a bit more about darker themes. Food. I second challenging your own ideas/beliefs. As we come across new things/experiences/texts, we learn and challenge ourselves. I’ve looked back at some articles I’ve wrote and have gone, “I don’t believe in this anymore” :)

      • Mmm, thanks for the feedback, Mabel. Darker themes. I could do that… And I’ll continue thinking about a weekly section. And food. Hmm. I’ll be thinking on that one, too. I’m glad you’re a thinker, too, Mabel. Honestly, I think we can’t help it when we get out of our own culture and environment. That helps to widen our perspective a lot.

        Cheers! :) Jess

  17. Being honest and open in a public way like this is terrifying. It makes you vunerable, but it can also make you connect with others in a more meaningful way. So I’m glad you’ll be trying!

    • Amen, Julia. Thus far I’ve been pretty open on my site. Not in detail, but in concept. Did you see my post, “i love . . . me?” In that post I talked about my insecurity and struggle to accept and love myself… Vulnerable, but not *too* vulnerable. Haha. ;)

      Anyway, so nice to hear from you again. I stopped by your site yesterday and loved what I saw. I will definitely be back! :) Jess

  18. I no longer feel the need to express my feelings in words, maybe I did when I was young, I have cringeworthy diaries somewhere in the loft (diaries were paper blogs only there was no internet so only yourself could read them :) ) I like the way you write with gentle care and thought and intelligence. I appreciate the anarchic style of Leclown, with ranting and swearing and in your face opinions, certainly thought provoking, but I find your quieter contemplation more compelling. Each to his own, and I can only express myself in pictures so who am I to talk! :)

    • I think you’re right, fragglerock. We’ve all got our own styles and ways of expressing ourselves. While I very much respect LeClown, even if no one knew who I was, his style would not work for me. We’re just… different. And that’s what makes this world so cool! How boring would it be if we were all the same!

      I really appreciate your compliment, though. Glad you find some of what I say compelling. ;) I LOVE your photos. Wish I could express myself that way, too! Best always, Jess

  19. I guess people say what they need to say, and say it the way they need to say it, in order to have contentment inside. Some force themselves to ‘say-it-all’ and end up feeling dissatisfied, and vice versa. Others are too afraid to ‘say-it-all’ and also end up feeling dissatisfied, and vice versa. It’s like a tree and a ripe fruit. If it’s not yet ripe, even if it falls or is brought down, it still won’t taste right. This applies not just to what people say, but also to the way in which they say things, and even also to whether it is time to say anything (e.g. keep a blog) at all or not. I guess what I’m trying to say is: you might think you say little because you think you artificially hold yourself back, but maybe you say much more than those who apparently say it all, because with your thoughtful words you still always made sure to get the message across. So I have no doubt that even if you ‘up the intensity’ of your writing, you’ll still do exactly what you’ve always done: pass the message across each time, to yours and the reader’s satisfaction. ‘Cause finally it’s really about the message, not the letter in which it’s written. :)
    Thanks for honestly sharing your thoughts.

    • Thank you so much, Aka. Your encouragement means a lot. Another friend of mine recently passed on similar thoughts. He said I *am* being me by not cussing and being sensitive to others; and, yes, somehow I have always managed to get my point across in my own way. Even if I wrote my work anonymously, I wouldn’t adopt a style like LeClown’s… Each to his own…

      Thanks again. That you’d read and share your thoughts means a lot. :) Jess

  20. The world needs more thinkers. More people who try to be or find who they really are and not be what others try to make them into. That doesn’t mean that one must tell-all on everything. Everyone has their boundaries. But so many are fake and even those that aren’t sometimes fear showing who they really are. I sense no fakeness here.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. The world *does* need more thinkers. If people would stop and think about what they believe and why they believe it, how different their actions might be… And, no. It doesn’t need to be a tell-all. We learn as we grow to be private for a reason… You are right in that there’s no fakeness here. I’m just a girl trying to take stock of the world and herself — whatever that means.

      Thank you.

  21. I am not suffering from any disorders but I feel like there are a lot of “me” out there. The work Steve, the home Steve, surfing Steve, writing Steve. But the common thread is that I am a person who sticks to what he believes in.

    As for my persona, I used to want to look cool like my friends who were into alternative music. I constantly tried to change my hair but I always looked like a fraud. Sadly, I somewhat resemble a tan Ken doll. So imagine seeing “punker Ken” in Toys R Us complete with fake chains and a poor tattoo. So I did the most radical thing I could and that was just to be myself.

    • That is freaking awesome, Steve. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve never been the “cool kid,” either. I don’t wear the most “in vogue” clothing or a lot of makeup or jewelry. Whenever I dress as such, I feel fake — like I’m pretending. The real me is pretty casual and classic — more Audrey Hepburn-like, I suppose. Anyway, I too have discovered that I’m better off just being me. There really is no sense in pretending.

      So you keep on being you. Because the real you is AWESOME!

      • Thanks Jessica!

        You know what…you wrote about your ex’s thinking that you spent to much time in thought about things in life. Well, in my opinion, that is what would give a woman the nod over another candidate. Nothing is worse than being with someone who is an empty package. So the problem is that the guys were not the right ones. The right ones would want someone with more than looks.

        If they complain about things such as this then you might want to show them the exit door faster!

      • Haha, thanks Steve. It’s funny. I’m a thinker and always have been, and usually have tried to pick guys as such. But sometimes relationships take off too quickly, and a guy I’ve *thought* I could talk to ended up being someone who wasn’t as “deep” as I’d first thought. The most attractive thing about a man, to me, is his mind. Not that I consider myself “deep” — I’m not prideful. I have philosophical friends who can talk circles around me. But…

        Anyway, your advice is good. I’ve always had a tendency to work at relationships longer than I should. Sometimes you just need to let it go…

  22. Two of my all-time favorite quotes are appropriate here and for you on your new-found courage…

    “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.”
    – Ray Bradbury

    “Patterning your life around other’s opinions is nothing more than slavery.”
    – Lawana Blackwell

    Much applause for you Jessica!

  23. Finally caught up with some overdue reading. I don’t think venting our dark sides makes us real. I think telling the truth that we have one as we change it to light is real because it speaks to our potential, not our obviously problematic status quo. Courage is not jumping off into one’s dark side and calling it real as some comments may imply (I realize you are not saying this), courage is facing it, letting go of it, and finding what is real beyond. That courage leads to freedom. There are those who will insist that their dark sides and their defects are good because at least they’re freely shared in the open. Some of those are fundamentalist atheists who act uncreatively on talking points, believing irreverence destroys faith. With cussing and bad hygiene and verbal fighting I guess that’s considered harmless error in today’s world, however, it is like littering rotten old food wrappers in the house with those the litterer supposedly loves. The thing is, I know that what a person majors in, they wire themselves for in their mind and body. And I guess they have to decide what they want that to be in that repeat wiring. Well, they are deciding. A custody battle is real, but it is enormously damaging, ugly, and numbing for children. After representing people in those, I’m convinced that they are themselves institutional abuse. It is actually one of the sickest, unnatural behaviors in a spectrum with personal abuse, the emotional, physical, and spiritual severance of a family. it is a mournful reality, yet sometimes necessary. However, I hope to see less and less of it over time, and I think that depends on facing those liars who say that our true selves are nasty (Calvinism’s total depravity), and that’s “real” and actually some good survival behavior because ultimately, we are no more than predator animals since we eat meat and prey on others. I don’t buy that, but that is the premise of those who leave a path of destruction after them. The charm of it wears off eventually, and I am writing something right now that will likely be unpopular with some. So be it. Health and well being are more important than my popularity, that’s for sure. Who am I?

    • Sorry for my delayed response, Mike.

      Hmm. You said a lot. Where should I begin?

      No, I don’t think jumping off onto a dark sides is “real.” In some instances it is actually people looking for sympathy, which is never good. I think being real is being open about our good and bad points, and not as a way to seek applause or sympathy, but as a way of connecting to others. Of being honest. I dislike cussing, too, and verbal fighting. You’ve probably noticed that I stay away from controversial subjects on my site. First off, I’m not an expert in any area, and secondly, I want to glean insight from others’ perspectives so as to better shape my own. This is a discussion ground of mutual respect, not a fighting arena, and I will generally shut down any arguments before they can begin.

      As for the severance of families, I agree that it’s not natural and is horrible, but sometimes necessary. I was blessed in that there were never any custody battles in my family — my brother and I were adults when my parents got divorced. But the brokenness of our home is still palpable all the time. It is definitely not the way things were meant to be.

      So do I agree with what you had to say? Absolutely. Thank you for reading and sharing, and I agree that health and mental well-being are more important than popularity. The most important thing is to remain true to oneself.

      • Makes sense. Well penned, Jessica. Thanks for making room here for divergent, thought-provoking content and comments.

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