Becoming Real

It’s a Thursday morning.  A writing day.  A beautiful writing day, actually.  My inbox is full of questions and recipes and catch-up emails from friends.  And with each one, I respond the same way.  I’m doing great!  Thanks so much for asking!  How are you these days?   And the conversations continue. 

And the truth is – I am doing great.  This point I’m at in my life right now is the happiest I’ve ever been.  Personally. Creatively. Everything-ly.  I have amazing projects coming up.  New stories and songs and a really amazing pumpkin pudding with sweet sour cream topping recipe that is calling my name.  I’m drinking an eggnog misto.  EGGNOG! Bing Crosby is singing Christmas carols. (Grrr…. Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas carols are a whole other post… but for right now I’m just going to enjoy it.) I’m going to see Melancholia in the morning. I am happy! 

But I realized that my standard response – I’m doing sooo great! – has always been my standard.  Positivity is my middle name.  (And one of my top 5 on StrengthsFinder, oddly enough.) But it’s also kept me from completely engaging a lot of the time…  Difficult times pop up along the way, and instead of saying, “Hey, this actually really sucks,” I don’t verbalize it very often at all.  I keep it inside or pour it into my writing.  Anything so I can look at everyone around me and say, “Oh yeah – things are awesome.” Even when they’re not.  

Honesty and authenticity are also my middle names. (I have a lot of them, apparently.)  While I don’t want to ever just emotionally vomit on anybody, I also want to be more intentional about sharing the hard moments in life.  I’m frustrated by this.  I was disappointed when that happened.  There’s still a way to have hope and find joy, even in the worst moments.  And I think I need to trust that hope and joy will actually be there after I admit that there are difficulties.  

I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ short novel The Great Divorce, and I can’t get over the image of these ghost people finally being in this place called heaven, this place that is so powerfully real and alive that the only way you can interact with it is to be real yourself.  At the beginning, the ghost people are too insubstantial to even bend a blade of grass.  They just end up in a world that is too much for them to handle, with cuts across the bottom of their feet. Sometimes I feel like I edit myself into a ghost-like state, and the real world is calling me. I need the other half of life in order to become real. 

And so, today – onward and upward with hope and joy and dreams that even in the worst of times, that tomorrow will be better than today.  It will be real. 

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