Category Archives: Personal

Even If It Shakes – Even If It Changes

I am afraid I have defined myself by my crisis.

I’m good at writing the hard things in my life, the mental illness stories, the angry at church rants, the declarations of rebellion and feminism. I easily find the words to talk about hurt, pain, struggle, and loss. I’m at home when writing about vulnerable, raw things. It’s what I know, where I have lived, and the emotions of it sit near to my skin, easy to show their faces.

Crisis times, these raw and wounded words are not all that I am.

I am much more than the accumulation of my hurts and scars. I am more than raw emotion and anger. I am made of more than mental illness and deep wounds. I want to show up and write from the more that I am. I want you to know me not just in times of crisis, hurt, and struggle, but in my joy, in my adventure, in my laughter, and in my healing.

I fear that the time I have spent and the words I have spilled over the bloody, wounded, crises times of my life has marked, branded, and nitched me into something that is not fully me. I fear that you reading this have come to expect something only raw and visceral from me. I fear that if I don’t keep writing these hard things, these wounds and messy places, that you will stop reading my words and I will become forgotten.

But if I am more than my hurts and my mess, if I am more than crisis and struggle, then is it fair for me to hide the rest of my life from you, even if i fear you won’t embrace the easy things in my life?

Write Happy

I’m probably being melodramatic, but what I say is true.

To put it another way: I don’t want to alienate you, my readers, by sharing beyond the struggle that many of you are in the middle of. Yes in many ways, I am in the midst of the struggles of life too. I don’t think I ever won’t be. But my struggle is not the whole story. I am still afflicted with a bipolar mood disorder, but I am finding help and healing. I am still angry and hurt by church culture, but I am finding healing in ways I didn’t expect. I am still riddled with self doubt, hurt, and uncertainty, but I am learning to show up and embrace myself.

You have come to know me from my writing about the hard things in my life. What happens if I learn to write happy, about the joy of seeing my son grow up? About my beautiful wife and my attempts to be a decent husband? What about if I find myself reconciling with the church? What if I write from the good places? Will you still read? Will it seem like I am out grown the struggles and fears and hurt that you still have, that we bonded over?

Still Showing Up

The truth is I am growing up. I’ve been angry and hurt for so long. I have lived in crisis, scrapping by, for most of my adult life. Things are changing now though, and I want to share the new stories with you without making you feel marginalized or alienated for not being at the place of life I find myself now. It’s not that I have things figured out, at all really. It’s more that I am tired of being defined by my hurt and sorrow and anger, and struggle.

I am more than that.

You are too.

So I will still be honest and raw with my words, but they may not have the sting of hurt and bloody mess to them all the time. Sometimes the most vulnerable thing I can say is admitting the good days I have, the joys I am rediscovering in life, the healing that happens. Sometimes the most vulnerable thing  I can do is to show up in the process as I am growing up into a wholehearted me.

But I am still me, and I will still show up with all my words and feelings and thoughts and joys and fears.

Even if my voice shakes.

Even if my voice changes.

Of Changing Faces

I am writing a book proposal. I met with an agent and pitched my heart, my dream, my first book to him. He said he was intrigued and wanted a full proposal from me. So here I am, writing no longer just a book, but a book proposal. A way to maybe see my bookContinue Reading

To be Gentle with Myself

I am struggling to uncover words to write these days. One would think that coming back from a writing conference – even one I spoke at – would result in an overflow of words from the cauldron of my mind. Instead, I have been wrestling with given writing prompts, topics, and hearing the story IContinue Reading

What if I didn’t (a poem)

What if I didn’t What if I didn’t doubt myself worth and my strengths? If I could reach the stardust in my atoms The magic in my marrow? If I leaned on my strengths, believing they wouldn’t Crumble, that they wouldn’t fall and I wouldn’t crash -Again. What if I knew my intrinsic worth, TheContinue Reading

Harm

[Trigger warning: I am talking about my own issues and experiences with self-harm. This can be a triggering topic, and simply hard to talk about. I get if it's too much, but I invite you to sit and read with me if you can.] It’s been months since I’ve cut. I still have the scarsContinue Reading

It’s Just Sex

I was lied to about sex. Somewhere in my past there was a concerted effort to hype up sex and at the same time present it as the most dangerous thing in the world. Purity cards, abstinence based health courses in my Christian schools, all those damn books about the lust machine that men are.Continue Reading

Loser

I feel like a loser. I feel like a loser because my wife had what amounts to an emotional affair. I feel like a loser because the last church I was part of didn’t miss me when I left. I feel like I loser because there are too many days I can’t go to workContinue Reading

Oh the churches you’ll go- guest post from Sarah Smith

My wife (Sarah Smith) wrote this Seuss-ish poem about the church being a safe place. This is something we talk about often, and something very personal and important to me. The church should be a safe place, for everyone. Enjoy her bit of lightheartedness , and dream with us: what does a safe church actually look like?Continue Reading

My wife speaks honestly

My wife is the most honest person I know. She decided to speak up and share her experience with being a survivor of sex abuse. What she wrote started out as a guest post, but quickly became something more, something personal, something raw. It is a beautiful, honest, hard, truth-telling post she wrote. I wouldContinue Reading

A Post About My Wife

TRIGGER WARNING: this post deals with the sexual abuse of children and it’s effects on my wife, my self, and our relationship. I invite you to read something that is meaningful to me. I understand if it is too much and you can’t. My wife gave me permission to share this, and encouraged me toContinue Reading

In Treatment

I want my medications to work. I want them to work now. I want the myth of the happy pill to sometimes be the reality. I want to know that when I walk up to my pharmacy with a prescription in hand, they are going to give me something that is going to do exactlyContinue Reading

Jesus Feminist & My Story: Eunice & Lois

I am three chapters in. It’s only three chapters. Three chapters shouldn’t make me fall in love with a story. There haven’t even been any arguments about pro or con feminism. But what I am reading reminds me. It reminds me of my own history, of my days as a charismatic kid, of the womenContinue Reading

To the Goal

I had goals this year. There were things I wanted to accomplish, success I wanted to brag about. This was going to be the time when I did instead of talk, finish instead of start, when I would begin reshaping my life and times into the dreams I was going to catch instead of chase. IContinue Reading

Shame and Antiphychotics

Antipsychotic. I am starting on an antipsychotic to help treat my bipolar. There is a hole in my brain that I am trying to heal. It’s a hole serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine should fill, but I guess my head just doesn’t want to produce enough to make a difference. I have too many highs andContinue Reading

Sometimes it’s wordless

Work the Words- Guest post at Andilit

I used to write lots of poetry. Poetry was what first drew me into the dream of being a writer. Poetry is my writing mother, and at her breast I nursed on the words of Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, and Kerouac. It’s been years since I have really written poetry. I have missed it. My friend Andi Cumbo askedContinue Reading

When It’s Not Enough

It’s was a hard Monday. The crazy thing about having a mood disorder is that sometimes your mood swings out of no where. Some days you wake up, and the weight, suffocation, pain, and exhaustion of depression is already on you like a wet blanket at the bottom of a swimming pool. There is noContinue Reading

Writing prompt: Bees

There used to be a mass concern about the bees all going the way of the buffalo. There was even a shitty movie starring Marky Mark (minus the funky bunch) that used the bee disappearance as a story device. Even M.Night Shama-lama-ding-dong’s regular plot twist couldn’t save that movie. Seinfeld “Bee Movie” was better. TheseContinue Reading

Make Your Self

I watched a video this past week where Hank Green muses about our concept of the self. In it, he said the phrase, “you make you”. I’m kind of captured by this idea. I realize I’ve always believed the opposite. I’ve always thought of my “self” as something hidden away, something that I must discover,Continue Reading

I Value My Words

Last night, I posted this to twitter and Facebook. I value my words, my words have value. I value my words, my words have value. If I say it enough, I’ll start to remember to believe it. This is something that is getting easier to say (some days anyways), but it remains hard for meContinue Reading

New Start

I keep looking for a new start. Eternally, I keep trying to leave behind the failures of my days and weeks, to turn over a new leaf, to have a clean page, promising that this time I’ll make the most of my time, do it right, finally succeed. I seemed determined to make this new step, this new effortContinue Reading

The Faith That Fails

I’m tired of my faith. I grew up thinking the quality of my faith carried some sort of mystical weight on an eternal scale. The quantity of faith wasn’t the issue; it was never about having more. I mean if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can cause earth changing events. As longContinue Reading

It will be Messy and Hard

I’m not going to try to convince myself that I can write one post each day this entire month. I’m not going to commit to attempting a frenzied novel (with crappy dialogue… seriously, I can’t write dialogue at all); I don’t want that pressure. I am however going to find my heart, and the process is going to be messy and hard.Continue Reading

It takes work; or a half formed thought

Just sitting down to do the work is hard sometimes. Writing doesn’t come easy. Inspiration may flash and spark, and hit you like the kiss of a muse, but sitting down to put it into coherent words, with a start and a finish… that is hard. Then again, things that are worth doing are always hard.Continue Reading

To You

I don’t know who I’m writing for. It is important to find your writing voice. “How do I say this thing?” is an important question to ask… but it’s not the only question. At some point, we have to ask who we want to read what we have written. Who do we want our importantContinue Reading