Yes, And. Also no
We trip-wired back to 1997. There’s this thing called a weblog. Store it in your memory pocket for when we return to 2019 and you see this. If you want to sound more pop, you can abbreev to “blog.” Heard of it, a “blog”? Check the box, yes or no, and pass the note back.
Since the Oughts, I have read & wholesale appreciated blogs from friends. Me though? I had always been ambivalent about me keeping one [insert all reasons in Comic Sans].
Last fall, I joined a wild Rebel, Rebel Memoir Lab. In three measly months, I wrote the first draft of my next memoir. That’s 71,071 words AKA [slides abacus beads carry the one cash register ch-ching] over 275 pages. My first memoir, Itchy Brown Girl Seeks Employment took five years to write. It’s taken me thirteen years parenting to understand that I understand…nothing. As the Rebel instructors Alice & Tanya promised, this Lab provided a “sacred container” & “quantum time.” Shorthand: bonkers productivity.
I learned so much. (Stating the obvs b/c I haven’t yet decided if I’ll have “lifelong learner” tattooed in Sanskrit, Hebrew or Aramaic…erm…I prolly should choose Baybayin since it’s indigenous Filipino.) Unearthed, ongoing learning: this focused writing & publishing is very different from creating in raw form. It’s ultimately JOY-ful (especially because I love the world-changing people I met through it and am convicted story-telling is a calling) but it hasn’t been F-U-N.
In the few months post-quantum leap, I have come to see that I need to write—to create—without the should-n-have-to pressures flogging my brain, swiveling its “think of your target market” neck, crookwagging its finger at me. I do belong in that and will fluff up my yellow gown to do the beautiful beast zumba [hint: I am both Belle & Beast].
I am not created for Either, Or. I want to align with improv, Yes, And.
Right now though, it feels like if I don’t let myself create (stories, art, jokes, questions, food, bitcoin, transparency, connection) I’m choosing “Neither, Nor.”
I don’t want the pressure of writing that is consumable (if it’s imagined, it’s real to my stress sensors). I want to express myself with the confidence of the 90s before Blog Comments sections and doxing were armed, and the Pulpit & Politics Power People given the nuclear codes.
The 2016 Election has led to a lot of unmasking, of pulling off sheep’s costumes to the glint of snarling wolves teeth. Mainly, for me, this duplicitous pack runs in Church (capital “C”). I have broken up with the Church. It’s better for us right now, maybe in the long run if things within it don’t feel safe for a woman of color like me.
I still follow Jesus. Still meet with faith families in homes, on hikes, making art, loving neighbors. Still pray and raise my hands to worship musack.
But no institutional “four walls” for me. It’s like I was rescued from living in a fake Village with my benevolent kidnapper (nods to M. Night Shyamalan). Got symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. I’m in a so-slow-it’s-barely-visible re-entry. I’m trying to detox from any/all of the poison I ingested while being passive in the Church. I’m determined not to “throw the baby out” with the Kool-aid. Tricky reckoning.
Off and on, I feel more ‘off’ than ‘on’.
Like I have an IV drip of Peets coffee jittering through me.
Like I flew back from a magical Platform 9 3/4 trip via London and can’t resolve the jet lag delirium.
Like I’m cry-screaming bloodshot but in a mirror see that my body is swaying hips to hula or teaching class downtown or pouring coconut milk into carrot curry soup.
Like reading astounding words from beloved writer-activists, I defibrillate my arrested heart, raise my fist, then see my own brown knuckles box me about the head and neck.
On the daily, these bursts feel different but have the same truth underneath. Recovery? Reconciliation? Red Dawn <–legit vote
I’m in between, on a bridge, floating above canyons, suspended among valleys. (Does this count as ‘standing in the gap’ too?) I’m trying to get to some destination but not sure where, just know I’m walking away from the last place.
I can already feel myself curating this no-stakes, free-style post. This is really two or three topical posts. Be wary of word count. You didn’t preview what you’ll be posting about. What if mentioning faith stuff so early makes friends feel akward/pity/confusion say they’ll pray for me? Good! I’ll take prayer! This is not a ‘soft landing’. Think of a better way to end this.
Resist! Persist! I’ll pause here and