|My personality in a single photo. Lol.|
“My goodness, I sound bratty and self-absorbed. This is probably the most ‘Millennial’ post I’ve ever written.” — Me, reading back what I’d written yesterday.
Have I ever mentioned that priests have told me I’m too hard on myself? Because they have. More than once. More than one. That inner dialogue I had yesterday, after publishing the post, is an example of it. I’m trying to get better at it, I promise.
I tried to figure out why I felt so strongly about “being myself” and having the freedom to do so online. I mean, it’s such a Millennial thing to do; the stereotype is there for a reason. But I had to take a step back and really see if this was coming from a place of self-absorption or from a legit place of concern. In the end, I think it’s a little bit of both, but I hope it’s more the latter than the former.
Some time ago, I came to the conclusion that the best way I can “evangelize” is to be myself and express myself authentically. I will never be able to do apologetics or sit down and explain a number of Church topics because my mind doesn’t work like that. I have a high intrapersonal intelligence followed by interpersonal and musical (I’ve done those tests, lol). I can express myself best through written word as well. But I can’t give you details and facts about anything I haven’t personally experienced or delved very deeply into. Even then, what I’ve studied for years? I can’t explain it very well. My mind doesn’t retain that sort of information. And that’s okay. There’s a reason why I didn’t become a teacher or do anything in the academic field despite me being a massive academia nerd.
I can explain simple things to people. For example, this morning I explained to my mother why annulments weren’t the same as a divorce. I can take things like this and find the simplest ways of explaining them because that is how my mind works. I try to process complicated things, figure out how they work, and then explain them in very simplified forms. This, however, won’t always do in serious conversations so I stay out of them for the most part.
No, my “strength” is in being myself and living my life as honestly as possible. That’s what I do here on this blog. I talk about what’s going on in my life. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful — it’s all there. That is why I was having an issue with how social media was affecting me and why I felt the need to start over and let myself breathe a little.
The best way I can think to glorify God and hopefully help His kingdom is to live my life honestly and let others see it. Not in a Truman Show / reality TV kind of way though. I don’t want to set up a YouTube account or a social media account that lets you follow my every move. I want to let my love for God inspire my words and actions and let those speak for themselves. I also know that God has given me a gift for words and a gift for understanding myself and others so that’s why I write… and why I keep this blog. That’s also why I need to be myself without the censoring I’d been doing on social media in recent years.
The thing about putting up a front and really restricting yourself is that you eventually get burnt out on trying to keep it up. I never presented myself in a way I wasn’t… but I also held back a lot because of comments and unrealistic expectations placed on me. Part of those were my own doing but not all. I had restrained my sense of humor, my “Emmy-isms” as friends have called them, because of the comments I’d received. It made me feel like I was actually hurting the Church, in a way, because I wasn’t fitting into this little mold of what a “good Catholic woman” is supposed to look like. So, y’all got me… but an “Emmy lite” version. And I didn’t like that. How was I supposed to try to show others what a joyful Catholic looks like if I wasn’t being myself?
Yes, I have gone through a lot it terms of medical and health issues but I’ve found so much beauty and even joy in it. Not in a masochistic way. I found beauty and peace in losing my eyesight. I found joy in my Addison’s disease diagnosis. I’ve been able to get through a lot with my faith intact and even grateful for it all… but, for a while, I also stopped talking about it because of the comments.
“No one cares.”
“You’re just looking for attention.”
“You just want people to feel sorry for you.”
“You’re too negative.”
“Others go through worse. Suck it up.”
“You’re just being selfish and egotistical…”
Those were just some of the comments I got.
But, as I said two posts ago, all of that changed me… for the worst. Not only did it change how I was with others but it greatly affected my spiritual life in many ways. I no longer found consolation during times of great physical illnesses because I got too preoccupied about how I had to keep this to myself as to not upset or burden anyone… and that unconsciously included God. I didn’t want to pray for myself or my health because I didn’t want to be selfish. I shut everyone — again, God included — out and it made me bitter. I didn’t like it. So, when I had the epiphany of how social media had played a role in that downward trend, I wanted so much to jump ship and get back to what life was like before social media.
I still stand behind everything I wrote yesterday… but I also wanted to share these thoughts for many reasons. Not because I wanted to explain and justify myself. I wanted to share because that’s what I do. I feel strongly about wanting to share something so I do. I’m sure I still come across as being self-absorbed and bratty… but that’s just me. Warts and all. I’m simply done not expressing myself as I’d like because of fears of the judgmental comments and burdensome expectations placed on me.
For the record: I very much have that sanguine side to my personality and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to balance it with the Benedictine lifestyle since there’s a lot said about laughter and silence in the Holy Rule. I don’t think St. Benedict would ask me to completely extinguish that side of me but I think he’s absolutely right in asking us to be careful when it comes to that; to make sure we’re not just telling amusing jokes and stories to put attention on ourselves. Yeah… wish me luck on that. Lol.
Anyway, just a few thoughts on the first day of autumn (“whoo!” for my tied-for-second-favorite-along-with-winter season) and the 16th anniversary of my reversion. Oh! And the feast of St. Pío of Pietrelcina (a.k.a. Padre Pío… a.k.a. My mom’s spiritual father). Since it’s Ember Friday, I’m going to try to spend my day in much needed silence… or, at the very least, trying to keep things as simple as possible in terms of entertainment.
I hope y’all have a lovely weekend!
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! 😊