Why I Write

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You have been offered “the gift of crisis.” As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift,” as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.

Glennon Doyle, Carry On, Warrior

A little over ten years ago, I was living in poverty and trying to raise my two babies born fifteen and a half months apart. I had no college education, and my marriage was in complete shambles. We were on every type of government assistance we qualified for, and we were still barely surviving. I’ll never forget digging through couch cushions trying to collect enough change to buy diapers and re-washing bottle liners over and over again because we couldn’t afford to purchase more. To put it mildly, life was really difficult.

It took what seems like forever, but one day, it dawned on me… My life did not have to be this way. Just as I had made choices that got me there, I could make different, better choices to get out.

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July 2013 | image: followell fotography

Within five years, I was free from a terrible marriage, had earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, owned my own home, boasted three years of exceptional teaching in one of the most impoverished and gang-ridden communities in our state, and was enjoying a safe, beautiful life with my two incredible boys.

Now, I didn’t do all of this without help. I could tell you story after story of people who showed up for me and helped me accomplish my goals. From buying me lawn equipment after all of ours was stolen out of the shed in our backyard to paying my attorney’s fees so that I could get a divorce and start a new chapter, hundreds of people (yes, hundreds) stood in the gap for me and encouraged me as I fought my way out of the hole I had dug for myself. If it weren’t for them, I might not be here today.

And all of it started with me making a decision to do something different. It was terrifying and nerve-wracking. I bawled my head off into my pillow more times than I can count. But that at that one moment in time, everything shifted. My mindset was changed and there was no going back.

Since I can remember, writing has always been a kind of therapy for me.

Since I can remember, writing has always been a kind of therapy for me. Putting a pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) helps me navigate the beautiful and messed up parts of life and everything in between. Last year, I started writing more intentionally as a practice of self-care. I wanted to stop numbing the pain and struggle and instead sit in it and let it shape me, let it soften me, let it embolden me.

I will never admit to knowing it all or having everything figured out. I believe that life is fluid, that we should be ever-changing, ever-growing.

But here are a few things that I do know for sure:

I know that every voice matters.

I know that we have a say in how our lives play out.

I know that we are all worthy of love and belonging. (Thank you, Brené Brown.)

And I know that we need each other.

For me, writing is a way for me to filter the experiences in my life and the experiences I witness in other people’s lives through these beliefs. It’s a way that I make sense of things around me and try to share lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Thank you for caring enough to read about what I’m about and what motivates me to do this work.

20800064_882120261946834_2926537243303759955_nWhether it be as a parent, a member in your church, an educator or simply as a human being, I believe that we are all uniquely equipped to do holy things, to be game-changers in the lives of the people that surround us. More than anything, my prayer is that something you read here resonates with you and inspires you to action.

I’m thankful that you took the time to read part of my story. Now I want to hear yours.

What are you about? What are some things that you know for sure? What are some experiences that have shaped your life? Send me a message or comment on a post, and let’s start walking this road together. :)

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