“A fierce post.” My insides churn as I sit, staring at the computer, my fingers poised over the familiar “e” and “s” keys. “You’re an opinionated person. You have tough and gritty things to share with the world.” My stomach won’t sit still. I stand up, go to the bathroom, look into the mirror. My freckles stare me down. I blink back a few tears. “You can do this. You can do this!” I wash my hands a third or fourth time, scrubbing away at my cuticles like I can scrub off the insecurity. I go back to the computer, flex my fingers again.
I can’t get Anne and Jo out of my head. Those rich, aching-with-life conversations – Friedrich and Gilbert and their true, challenging words: “Jo, there is nothing in this of the woman I am privileged to know.” or “Maybe if you just let your character speak everyday English, instead of all that highfaluting mumbo-jumbo.” or “There is more to you than this. If you have the courage to write it.”
And I hear those voices too. The wise and fierce voices, who read my writing and push me. Tell us the other stories, the ones where you’re pissed off, they say. The ones where you feel that women and men are equal, all bearing God’s image, all preachers and teachers and sinners and it makes you mad to think we’ve baptized cultural stereotypes as the truth. The ones where you believe in the Clean Air Act, in driving a hybrid car, in solar power and healthcare and the need to reform education. And yes, even the ones where you sometimes think about whether universal salvation could be the right thing to hope for – to hope that Hell is real, and empty.
But my screen is still blank. I hover, type a word, delete it. I flip through the Switchfoot album that’s playing – listen to that same verse seared in my mind from the last week of school… But I’m not sentimental, this skin and bones is a rental, and no one makes it out alive… which I don’t even know if I believe. But I sing anyway.
I can’t write the edgy post. Maybe it means I’m a coward. Maybe it means that I’m here looking for sweetness and acceptance and all flowers and turtles in a pond, hiding from the days when I’m in a foul mood and I yell at my mother for no reason or doubt whether love’s real or possible or even worthwhile.
I can’t write it. If it’s either all sweetness or all edge, if I’m searching for a voice to fall pleasantly or harshly, I’m still searching for a voice instead of speaking with one. I keep holding this space up to the light, worried. Type, delete. Type, delete. The words about women in ministry don’t appear. The words about this election. The words about what I studied in college, and what it made me think about (the history of dating, for example, the history of birth control, plays about plagiarism or that paper I read about nanoparticles). Words for any of it.
So I write this post instead. I confess it: I can’t write it yet. The rain splashes through the edge of the open window, and I look at the sentence again. Not yet.
Not fierce or wild, but true. And that’s the most I have.
all my wild love, hilary