An Extroverted Feeler's Cry

Find Others Who Get It

Tears tonight.

I want tears, just not what comes with them.

Feeling the fear.

The loneliness.

The fear of loneliness.

The longings.

I want touch and connection and to feel passion and to know through tangible attention that I am loved.

It's not enough to tell my mind that I'm gonna be okay.

It's not enough to tell my mind I'm one of the lucky ones.

My heart is still hungry.

Craving, actually.

I'm an adult. I get it. I study it. We're wired different. I believe it. We're each uniquely and wonderfully made. 

We're each fighting our own battle. And my battle is not yours. But yours is not mine. And I need to talk about mine.

I need to talk about what it's like to be an extroverted feeler that has turned off so many people and felt rejected because I've been like this all my life.

Extroverted feelers get this. And that's the killer. Because we're sometimes the creatives, the artists, and been called the unstable. "Write drunk, edit sober," that famous writer said. You know that one that had four wives, but won the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize for literature? Yeah, him. The younger ones might have it easier. They understand blurry lines, the need for art. They're still young enough for emotions to be okay. 

I hope. 

I, however, am scared of living alone all. the. time.

I am scared I don't have what it takes in our culture and society that does not honor lament.

I am scared of not doing it right all the time. Because I have known so much rule-following. 

It was the way I was raised. It's about the time of history when I was born. It's the way my religion has done things my whole life. It's the way the new paradigm is constantly being judged by those I want to trust. 

I believe in the power of art to heal. I believe in the power of those who need to wear our hearts on our sleeves. But for whatever reason...in my story...the most important people in my life on a day-to-day basis are not wired this way. And I ache for more.

I am hungry all the time. It shows in the extra 30 pounds my personality put on at mid-life.

I am not there yet. I want to say it doesn't matter. How I look doesn't matter. What I make doesn't matter. What I'm recognized for doesn't matter. That I need to cry often and not alone doesn't matter. Oh, but it does. It does so much. 

Tears tonight. 

A new job tomorrow.

Another introverted thinker to try and connect with.

Here I go.

You? I get it. You are welcome here.

Listening to My Gut and Getting a Job

Hi.

For many months I have not liked it when people tell me something to the effect that my gut will know. 

Because once we came home, I scrambled. It was a YEAR for our family. First graduation, college apps, girlfriend, and leaving the nest. Second son driving. Third child turning 13. iPads and Pods and Laptops were prolific in our cerebral life. "Celebrating" death do us part 20 years in. (People lived much shorter lives when the church introduced that phrase to the traditional wedding vows. Not that I want to live day-to-day with anyone else. I'm just sayin', it can get tricky.). In other words, our family passed many milestones last school year. 

I feel like I treaded water personally while making all the things happen.

You might not have known that from my online presence. 

See, I've been working really hard to build something from scratch. I applied for a job at my place of worship last year at this time. I came in second. It felt like a dodged bullet. It wasn't meant to be. I am not one to run things as they are. I want to create, innovate, move mountains. That isn't what they needed.

So I spent last school year #workingthedream. What does that mean? It means I spent a year thinking about what I really want to do. Networking with others asking the same questions. I am in AWE of women who are trying to carve out non-traditional work as entrepreneurs. I spent daily time with them. I built a new website. I found my niche. I want to make a difference. I always have.

"I provide insightful programs of self-discovery for young adults and women from religious backgrounds."

Yet, today I accepted a job. An entry-level job. A job that will pay what my teens earn. It feels so strange to think that after 15 years, I will have a schedule that someone else besides myself dictates. 

But it feels so right. So right, I'm surprised. 

Did I want to build a business? Yes, because I want to matter. I want to count. I want to make a difference. But I can do that without building a business, too. Just by regularly showing up and (!) getting a paycheck.

The grind is something so many of us want to be free from. But I think for me, it will be freedom. To network with others in 3D in my hometown. To serve. To work among flesh and blood again. 

And you know what? I miss blogging from my gut, too. I like blogging. It's so fun for me. But blogging to build a business, not so much.

It is really exciting for me that all my years of homeschooling have opened doors for me to provide administrative support in alternative education environments.

Celebrate with me?

 

September: A Dry Harvest (?) of Hope

“The true harvest of my life is intangible—a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.
— Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday, I attended a formal worship service for the first time in August. It was the 12th Sunday after Pentecost on the church calendar. We call this season, "Ordinary Time". It stretches from the festival of Pentecost, the point in time where we recognize Jesus ascended into heaven to the beginning of Advent, when we begin to anticipate his birth.

In my mind, I'm thinking this. THE LAST TEEN FINALLY BEGINS CLASSES TOMORROW! I wish TWELVE WEEKS of Ordinary Time had not already passed! Routine, FINALLY! (Excuse the shouting.)

Until Fall break. Or Thanksgiving, Senior Son's first trip home. Or Christmas where Mommy still makes the magic. (How, I miss Santa Claus.) And then there's the whole, "I might get my first regular job in 15+ years", thing. Oh, and wait. Can I invite a stranger to my family into intimate celebrations the first year one is away from home?

IS there such a thing as Ordinary Time?

My standards for Ordinary Time are quite high, actually. Build a business. Nurture. Work on health. Love always. Learn. Clean. Earn and spend money well.

You know the drill.

The true harvest of my life is intangible...

Today where I live, I celebrated the calendar turning. A fresh start in the budget is one reason. We celebrated like good Americans and went to Target to buy All. The. Snacks. for the teens to pack their lunches. I celebrated with two rolls of Washi tape.

Weather. Foothills of California: Sunny and high 80s. Water the chrysanthemums and wear a skirt. Clean the kitchen. Plan the meals. Wipe down refrigerator shelves. Shop for groceries. Fix a chair. Encourage the homework. Feed and walk the dogs. Stay out of the wine. Love and listen. To their heartaches and mine.

The true harvest of my life is intangible...

Plant the seeds. Only God can cause the growth, they say. Some say that California in a perpetual drought is what science can't help but predict. Even men and women of faith I know say this. I, instead, try to Keep Calm and Pray for Rain. Because I don't want all this planting to be in vain.

I long for color. Even in the dry days of a long California summer. Let it rain. 

What do you want to harvest this September?

 

A Little Honesty Today

What's the date? Do I have to eat? I really need to vacuum up those nail clippings. But I hurt from head to toe. Dragging the vacuum upstairs is something I can do, but do I deal with the broken dishwasher or walk the dogs? Maybe I need to just get dressed.

Today. Call a friend. Go to a job interview. (DO I want to live more traditionally? CAN I live more traditionally?) Chauffeur my teens. That's all I can do. I guess doing my laundry will need to wait another day. Will the dogs wait another day?

This is where I spiral. This is where living a creative life and helping others feels as far away as the stars I forget to see. I know what I need to do. Practice consistent and gentle exercise to help with the pain. Avoid wheat and dairy. Ask for more help. Rest when I can. Say no to guilt, obligation and duty. (g.o.d.) over and over again, even at the expense of my perceived reputation.

If I write of the real feelings, what will happen? And yet, if I don't, they stay locked up in my joints and muscles, crying for release. What if I'm the kind of person that needs to cry it out everyday? What if a part of my call on this earth is to cry from the broken-heart? And I wonder how. Who with? I have lost friendships and family over this tendency. I may still. What if I never "make it" in a traditional way? Can I live with that? Can you?

I've eaten. Now it's time to take a shower. Maybe I'll get around to calling the plumber, the doctor, and scheduling the long overdue haircuts. Maybe I won't. What I do know is I don't know how to create unless I cry first. But I'm not very good at doing it alone. That is my real question today. I am so thankful for the small handful of friends that let me cry. But I am asking, as I have before. Where in our culture can we cry?

I wish my religion believed in systematic confession.

I wish when our culture asked, "How are you?" it was only when they had time to listen.

I wish we weren't so scared of the quiet, the humble, the non-veneered life. I think if we weren't, we'd all cry more.

I am a mother and wife. But this morning, it's only the yellow lab at my feet and the finches outside my window. I know they would listen to me cry. 

Why are you sad, Jenny? How are you? 

I'm sad because I hurt and struggle to take care of my beautiful home. I'm sad because I am struggling to create. I'm sad because I've gained so much weight over the last five years. I'm sad because I long for deep connection, but gained weight to numb that desire instead. I'm sad that I still don't know my niche, where I belong, what I'm supposed to do. I'm sad for estrangement. I'm really, really sad about the California drought as I look out my window at my gasping plants. I am sad because I'm scared I just don't have what it takes.

Writing that eked out a few tears. Thanks for listening Yellow Lab, Finches, and Reader.

This is my attempt today to live #conformityfree. To take a little time to be honest. For my sake and need.

Time to shower.

 

 

Risking to Write a Better Story

One of the cruelest things we can tell one another is: I’ve heard that story before.
— Dan Allender

Last week, I experienced a powerful rewrite in my life story. 

I've written of The Shattering here several times over the last five years. Last week, I risked and experience a major plot twist.

I want to try and tell you a story. It is mythical to me. It is the story of two young boys, two teenagers, and two men. Please excuse me as I stumble to find language. 

One of the teenagers in the story is me. The other teenager in my story is my first-born son. If you follow me online, you've heard a lot about him lately. He left for college last week, you see, and I have wept, saying good-bye to being needed, bittersweetly celebrating his chance to fly. But I don't need to talk about that very much today.

I tell you that part of the story again, instead, because I want you to know that when I was his age, I was trying to put the pieces of my life back together. The pieces included a recent and powerful conversion experience. An experience with a God I believed could do anything and call me to anything. At the time that meant immersing myself in a Christian community of so many of us trying to start over again, including a 27-year old father of three. Yes, the main character in my story of The Shattering.

Oh, he was handsome. He played guitar. He studied martial arts and had been in the military. His brunette mustache and curls added to his bad boy image that drove around in a jacked-up Chevy Nova. He breathed intensity, including intensity toward me. It was a passion that eventually led me to wonder whether I, a 20yo whose God could do anything and call her to anything was meant to be a stepmother to three boys, the oldest who was only 11 years my junior.

My friends and family were patient. I'd already lived a lot of life with men by then and it wasn't too surprising that this one might catch me in his spell. I was so torn, though. We were from different social classes, different backgrounds, different responsibilities. Every Friday night during his swing shift when he had custody of the boys, I fed them and tucked them into bed. My heart ached for all of them, but especially the youngest, barely three. If I could be a mother to any of them, it was him. Only seventeen years separated us, but it was his potential, his innocence, his blue eyes and blonde hair I longed to swallow up and nurture in all the ways. Was it God's will?

It took so much push and pull, the break-up lasting longer than the relationship, but I was finally able to say good-bye, graduate from college, and marry a man my own age, a man I could have children with, a man I could grow as a parent with, while learning to mother from scratch. We have parented well (not perfectly) and continue to.

And so I cannot grasp the irony that the same week I had to let go and watch my son drive away to a life that will not include me the same way ever again, I spent hours looking and listening to another pair of blue eyes. His eyes were still the three year old's and a man's, all at the same time. The piercing blue eyes live on the streets, never in a college dorm. And they're the same age eyes as his former father's once were when I looked into them with so much of the same question, "Oh, God! What might you do here?"

Except they are not the same eyes as his father, at least not the father I knew. The man I knew gave him over to the state at only 14, a story I did not know before, because that man when we met again five years ago would not tell me. It took five years of waiting, but last Friday I sat with the three-year old I had ached to mother and listened for hours, letting more of the pieces of the puzzle come together. It made my heart ache with a mother's longing to protect and nurture.

Two young boys. One I was able to grow and nurture from his first days. One I could not. Both men now. Both holding parts of my heart that have left me as a mother asking, "What can I do?". My tears of late are partly because I know the answers will continue to not come easily.

Two men. One I thought I might be called to marry when he was 28. One I can now embrace at 28. Both men I wanted and longed to make a home for. How much am I allowed to love?

Two teenagers. One whose parents have poured into, done everything they've known to do to provide and stretch to give him wings. One who might have heartache on his horizon as most, if not all of us do, and yet has all the opportunity and potential allowed for this season of young adulthood. 

And another teenager. A teenager who 25 years ago at my son's age did not know that kind of opportunity, no longer knew innocence, or youth. A teenager who believed in a god who could do anything and call her to anything. 

Blind faith and the promise of youth will never be mine again. Nor is it available to the young man I met who lives on the streets. But the coincidences of time weave something through my heart that tells me a story is still being written. For all of us. 

Oh, God! What could happen here?


I write around the details of this story to honor the new main character. If you want to talk with me about it further, I'm happy, even aching to talk about it more. Please feel free to message me.


In the last five years of practicing living #conformityfree I have taken several risks I never would have taken before because I believed my community forbade it. Where do you need help or a listening ear about taking a risk? Leave a comment, message me, or sign-up for my mailing list. You never know how taking a risk in the fear of what community might think could rewrite a major part of your story. #writeyourstory