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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Who I am.

Every so often, I come to realize that I'm repeating the same patterns that I think are bad, but I'm not sure how I get into them or why I'm doing it, or how on earth I ended up here. Maybe I'm the only one who does this, so maybe this won't make sense, but here goes. Have you ever finished a project, time period, etc. and said, "next time, I'll do it differently. I'll do it better," only to find out at the end of that next time, you've ended up in the exact place you thought you'd do differently?

And that, my friends, is where I am today.

So frankly, I'm depressed. I managed to hold myself together, attend a group I belong to, go in to work to take care of one client, do some shopping, and head home. I fully intended to do the thing I always do when I'm depressed, didn't get enough sleep, and don't have the energy to focus on anything but how much it stinks to be where I'm at right now. But then, I opened my email, and found one from a friend that had me laughing so hard, I was crying.

I realized something very important from this silly little email. And trust me, it was silly. But that's why I love this person. My friend believes in me. But more important than that, this person "gets" me enough to send me silly messages to convey that message in a way I understand far better than people's platitudes about how great I am. (And frankly, when I'm in this particular mood, such platitudes make me mad because I think I'm being lied to, as irrational as that sounds.)

Much of my depression today was about this whole question of where I belong. I've always been "the weird one." To be honest, I've never known where I fit in this whole scheme of life. As I've gone deeper into the writing journey, God's made it really clear that being a writer... that's where I "fit."

Over the past couple of months, I've been asked to give up some things to help fulfill this whole "purpose as a writer thing." Still not able to share it all publicly, so again, bear with me. It's hard to give up things that have been a part of your life for so long. It's hard to say no to things that actually make me feel like a normal human being. It's hard to give up on things I think will finally define me as just a regular gal. Those are the things I've wanted my whole life, and even though in some ways, I find a lot of satisfaction in them, they make me miserable.

I am not normal.

For me, normal is abnormal to the rest of the world. And even though I can recite the Bible verses about not being of this world until I'm blue in the face, I still struggle with my frustrations of not being normal. I wonder why I can't walk into a room and be like everyone else. So I struggle, trying to be the person God made me, and yet trying to walk this tightrope of trying to fit into a world where I don't belong.

It's exhausting.

And I think that's why God has asked me to walk away from some of those things. He knows it's not good for me. He didn't make me to be some kind of mime walking the streets in an imitation of life. If that's what He'd wanted, that's what He'd have made. Instead, He made ME.

I am wacky. I am crazy. I am silly. I am creative. I am an artist. I paint beautiful pictures with my words. I do not understand the way the "normal" world works, even though I fake it real well. And sometimes, like today, when I am forced to face all the things I'm doing wrong because they have absolutely nothing to do with my writing, it all comes crashing down and I want to hide in my hole for a few weeks.

But see, today... today I did things differently. I did not go take a nap. I cleaned my house. I let the kiddos drag the neighborhood kiddos over to play. I made a nice dinner. I let That Man take me shopping for a new camera, even though I really wanted to go to the mothership, BN. I finished my work. I ate a bowl of ice cream. And then...

I wrote.

Because see, God made me for some important things. I don't know what they are. It could be writing the Great American Novel that finally made everyone open their eyes to the truth. Or it could be raising the glittery princess who finally manages to blow up the world. Or it could be raising the cowgirl whose love of animals mimics the love of Christ. I don't know. But I've got to do my best to remember the path God put me on. And to follow it wherever it leads.

I find comfort knowing that these struggles are not in vain. I know that some of the folks reading my blog deal with the same issues. You guys are such an encouragement to me because I am reminded that I do fit. I belong right where God put me. Which is where each of you belong. If you're the creative artist type, it's okay. Be weird. Encourage your wacky friends. Send them emails about having your photos taken at a wild screaming match at Sean Penn's wild Arbor Day party. Rip your heart out and expose it to the world, offering it up as a sacrifice to the Lord. Do whatever silly (or normal... if that's your gig) thing you're supposed to do because God made you that way.

Finally, because I couldn't find a good place to slip it in unnoticed (but maybe it's supposed to stand out), I encourage any artist types who are struggling with their artist identity to read my friend Heather's blog. She's got some incredible posts that encourage and inspire me in my journey.

Maybe this time, as I try to figure out how to do things differently, I'll remember that the best answer may be to just not do it at all and to trust God.


She Became a Butterfly said...

you and i are so alike. i'm glad we found each other's blogs! i too am abnormal. i could write a list of everything i am, but i decided last year that i was just going to be me instead of all those labels.

i've always had 1 best friend. we march to the beat of our own strange drummer. we have our own weird sense of humor as well. it gets us through.

i'm very proud of you for doing positive coping techniques instead of falling into the inevitable habits we all seem to have. i'm struggling in this area as well. hugs

Kay Day said...

I've been there Danica. The repeating old patterns thing. I hate it. It gets me down, too. I don't know how to stop the cycle.

As for being weird. I told my husband that I am coming to see that writers are a weird bunch of people. He said, "You should fit right in then." :)



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the hat tip.
To be an artist means to stand on the outside. I've come to not just accept that but to love that. I'm a misfit. My heroes are Rudolph and the dentist elf. That's okay. I've come to realize that my joy doesn't come from fitting in (which will never happen) but from doing what God called me to do.
It helps that online and through conferences, I've found other misfits, the Island of Misfits, if you will.
And I discovered when watching Juno this weekend, that apparently reading McSweeney's is the in thing. I guess I'm hip.

Danica Favorite said...

You know what's fabulous about being so weird? I have a bunch of weirdo friends! :) Love you guys!