A guest post by Hilary Murdoch at The Gift of Writing, telling her own experience with journaling. Journaling is something I’d like to do a little more, and this really reinforced why — so many of these sentences could have been written by my own heart.
But for me there is another barrier to this vulnerability, in addition to the fear of what people think of me. In order to share how I truly feel, I first need to know how I truly feel.
And often I don’t.
Often I am blissfully unaware of my own emotions. People ask me how I am and I answer that ‘I’m fine’, or even that ‘I’m really well’. And I’m not lying. I genuinely think I am.
Sometimes I’m aware of some discomfort under the surface but I’m not sure what it is. It’s in my journal writing that I am able to access that disquiet; see it, explore it and hopefully face it and deal with it.
The Ploughshares Round-Down: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Its Backlash, by Tasha Golden.
As writers, we could choose to write only moralistic narratives, or to hold our readers’ hands into ethical resolutions. But by doing so, we would strip readers of the opportunity to exercise their own ability to respond imaginatively. And we may also strip the public of the productive (if contentious) discourse stimulated by questionable material.
Indeed, criticisms of The Wolf of Wall Street both devalue viewers—by assuming they can handle only moralistic tales—and esteem them, by providing immediate evidence of their astonishing critical thinking skills. The film’s critics affirm the necessity of moral-ethical conversations while simultaneously proving we’re capable of having them. This irony is ridiculous.
Abby Norman’s Swimming in the Deep End. Abby has been killing it on her blog lately. I identify with her on so many levels.
I have heard the calls of more real, more vulnerable, less safe. I have heard them from the women in my community. I have heard them from my own heart. I am doing this crazy thing in less than a month, where I invite all the people in my life who are usually carefully separated, to come and commune on my couch, at my table, in my backyard.
And if I am totally honest I am scared that by the end of the weekend, if my online people and my real life people and my I signed up for this on a whim and now I am here people all hang out, that no one will leave liking me.
Jenny Lawson [The Bloggess] with Strange and Beautiful.
If you’re sad or lonely or feeling like you’re one of the misfit toys, know that you are part of us. And remember that those misfit toys always were always far more interesting than the normal ones.
Tell someone that you love them, or that they’re important. And tell yourself. Because it’s true.
And to wrap us up this week, a recipe that I really want to make: Classic Lemon Bars from Joy the Baker.
Super tart fresh lemon juice adds all of the kick to these lemon bars. Fresh lemon zest is the very hard-working backup. These bars feature a wonderfully buttery crust, and a sweet and tart lemon custard. Topped with a generous amount of powdered sugar, these bars are exactly as they should be. Classic.
This month. Everywhere I go people are saying “Where did October go?”, and I have to agree — this month has flown by. Today I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer’s “What I’m Into” blogging link-up. I always find a few fun things when reading blogs linked up in this series, and since holiday shopping is right around the corner I’m definitely going to be reading up on what other lady-bloggers are loving. Be sure to check them out by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the post.
- My first ever Government Shutdown, which taught me that I’m not at all ready to be a stay-at-home person.
- Dinner with H’s Dad and an entire weekend with my family in our new city. Chicago is a great place for visitors.
- The Crate and Barrel Christmas Tree Lot email. Did you guys get it? Holy cow it is BEAUTIFUL. When I feel sad or need some inspiration I go back and look at it again. Click the link, give it a second to load, and then scroll down. Trust me.
- Getting up-close and personal with my old friend Ina. H and I have been eating some delicious delicious things thanks to the two Barefoot Contessa cookbooks on my bookshelf!
- Getting much better at painting my unbitten nails. It’s been a long time coming. Practice makes perfect, or so they say. We haven’t reached perfection yet but we are getting much closer.
- Choosing (I think) a new alternative career. During the Shutdown, I decided that once I’ve paid my debt down a bit and we are a bit more settled in a city, I might shift careers and teach government, civics, or U.S. history to high school students. I’d love to teach at the college level but let’s be real — what I really want to be is a real-life Tami Taylor. I’m also open to oh, I don’t know, working for a government that doesn’t act crazy and shutdown all the dang time.
- Reading the first few chapters of my friend Abby‘s book manuscript. It was a great read and felt really good to be a small part of something so important. I LOVE when my friends are successful and do awesome things.
Reading and Watching:
- Every show on Television. I seriously did watch every Fall 2013 television premiere (although some I could only handle for a few minutes before moving on), and I am going to break this down for you a little further very soon. [There is a mad case of blogger stalling going on here.] Like most American women I’m loving Scandal and I’ve recently gotten back on the Grey’s Anatomy bandwagon.
- Friday Night Lights. H and I had a lot of time together during my shutdown and since he’d never seen it, we’ve been watching it through from the beginning. He really connects with Coach Taylor and it’s kind of fun watching it from the perspective of a sports fanatic.
- Hilary Mantel came highly recommended but I think the first book of hers that I picked up was not a great place to start. I’ve been plodding along through Fludd without being swept up and it’s taken up most of my month. It’s all about the church so I thought I would love it, but I just haven’t been able to. Yet. I’m looking forward to finishing it up and starting my friend Elora’s book (which I received an autographed copy of, by the way! so excited about this).
Fashion and Beauty:
- Stitch-fix and I are struggling to find our rhythm with a few things, but overall I would be freezing my butt off up here if not for the cute sweaters they’ve sent over for me to purchase lately. I changed some sizes and gave different feedback after reading Anne’s tips for getting the fix you want, and am very excited about my November fix.
- H’s office Christmas party was scheduled for Nov. 9 but has been postponed for some unknown reason. I was excited for the party but really needed to buy new shoes first, so am glad for the delay. If you have favorite black heels you can recommend, please do leave a comment below! I’m in desperate need but always put it off.
- Makeup finds: Philosophy’s Kiss Me lip gloss in Soft Berry was a random purchase that I’ve actually loved. In the [just started painting my] nail department, I’m loving Revlon ColorStay in Stormy Night. I feel super cool when I wear this nail color, although so far the “Stay” part of the polish hasn’t been so effective on my pointer fingers. Just saying.
So, what have you been loving this month? Leave a comment or join the link-up to let us know.
Okay, first of all: it’s totally okay if you hate Valentine’s Day or think it is wicked cheesy or want to talk about beheadings or wear all black. Because I feel you guys on this one.
But seriously? This is my best valentine’s day [and weekend] yet:
- Space Jam valentines from the in-laws;
Vegan oatmeal cookies at work;
30 red and white tulips!!!!! (My absolute favorite);
A new necklace and bracelet from a cool new website;
Bruce WILLIS!!! I love you. We’re attending the 7:45 showing;
Nick Offerman tomorrow night;
Casino Night in fancy dresses and with cocktails and tiny crab cakes on Saturday night.
I mean, seriously.
I made a list of all the things I could have time and money for if we canceled our cable subscription. Ha. I’m currently watching Downton Abbey, 3.6, in HD. It is beautiful. This Ethel-the-rehabilatated-prostitute storyline is so good: people are terribly judgy and enjoy shaming “loose” women in a ridiculous manner. Even today.
I find myself perpetually too outspoken, doubting whether I “should I have said that” or if “that was too far.” And yet, when others do not speak up in similar situations, I find their lack of candor an indicator of weak character. This is quite a conundrum. I blame my evangelical upbringing — that trying to distinguish between the right thing to say in general and the right thing to say as a woman has confused me. But I digress…
Today was a weird day and, like most days, I have a lot of thoughts that just don’t fit together.
1. Bon Iver + Bella and the Flecktones on shuffle is one great combo.
2. Tonight’s dinner of homemade hummus and fruit salad with pita chips is more nutritious than last night’s dinner of a margarita. But equally delicious.
3. I remembered this week how great it is to have smart, political and interesting friends. And I was only a hermit on Sunday and Monday.
4. Last night i sat in the National Archives and heard senators and congressmen talk straight about our country. Today, I sat in the senate gallery and heard a senator speak empty shenanigans. Perhaps we should make laws at the Archives from now on?
5. I want to quit working and write a book. In a log cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. With a fireplace and high-speed internet.
6. I’m going to see Magic Mike on Friday night. Let the wrath of conservative Christianity fall on me, but I am an equal opportunity stripper-movie-watcher. And I only even knew it was a thing because of your Facebook posts about how you would never “let” your women/wives see it. I’ll let you know if it is really more morally repugnant than Pretty Woman…or every other movie ever made. Bring it on.
P.S. I have “permission” to attend from H. Like me, he has no idea what the big deal is.
Hello dear readers and random internet strangers:
I have written so many blogs to you, then forgotten to post because I’m too distracted or too busy or too lazy or something, and then deleted them because they were no longer current. I’ve even written a couple of posts beginning with “I’m sorry I haven’t updated. . . ” and then decided that I need to stop apologizing for doing what I want instead of what will sustain my blog readership (even though I also really love it when I have comments or high viewing stats, that is just not the purpose of this life I am living).
That’s a common thing in my life — apologizing for doing what I want instead of embracing it. Or at least, instead of apologizing, guilting myself into doing what others expect. For example, my youth pastor in 2004 sent me an email saying that good Christians do not support abortionists so I should vote for George W. Bush. And while today’s me would have said something along the lines of “good Christians do not intimidate young women into voting against their consciences,” I gave in and TOTALLY VOTED FOR HIM. I mean, seriously? And then I grimaced at every mispronounced word. . .
But, anyway, that is not the point. Like my friend C.A. would say, tangent within a tangent. :) So, here’s the thing. I’m about to tell you what I am really thinking about without worrying that I’ll look like a big nerd.
I really want to get home from work as fast as possible so I can read the third book of the Hunger Games.
There, I said it. I played it cool and didn’t read the books or care about the movie. But then, my friends took me to see it with them and it was AWESOME. The themes of the book are the kind of things that make my Christian-woman-leadership-sacrifice-Faulkneriansuffering-crazynerdface get so excited. I might have to read them again after I know what happens in the story and then get all nerdy and compare them to George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson or something. I mean, whoa, that’s probably a lot to say at once. Let’s bring it back.
I am very excited to begin the third and final Hunger Games book when I get home this evening. And I am not a crazy-insane-nerdface.
Except I totally am.
1. Thursday night: started attending a women’s Bible study/small group with a handful of pretty fantastic women. We are reading Charles Bridges’ antiquated commentary on Proverbs. I love the outdated phrasing. And Proverbs are very helpful in the workplace.
2. Friday: Had a great work-week finale and was pumped to get sushi and cocktails when H wanted … Dogs and Fries. I think that is literally the name of the “restaurant” we attended. Yuck-o. And, not healthy or delicious (except for the fries, which were at least par and probably good).
3. Saturday: Official Visit with my girls at Alpha Rho, lunch (Chick-fil-a, but I had fruit cup instead of fries!) and Ides of March with my special favorite friend, and then the TN-Bama game with H and a crock-pot full of short ribs. I fell asleep at halftime when we were tied with the #2 team in the nation and I refuse to acknowledge the way we fell down and died in the second half. Oh wait, there it is. Tennessee you fell down and died in the second half.
3. Sunday: missed church, but got a lot done. Bethesda Bagels + farm market, dropped our old table and chairs at Goodwill, 3.5 mile hike in Rock Creek Park, 7 loads of laundry and grocery shopping. Oh, and I ironed a huge pile of work clothes and squeezed in a little Mad Men. I am falling in love with Don Draper even though I also hate his rich-fake-cheating-lying self. And Peggy is still on my heart due to my love and respect for President Bartlet.