Tuesday, July 3

What I Do is This

Someone explain to me how one person saying I'm courageous + painting a room for an old friend + non-fluffy conversation with that old friend + Inheritance by Christopher Paolini + a hot shower can = knowing what I do (and therefore, in part, who I am).

Seriously. Can you explain that?

Maybe I can try. I'm going to start with courage.

I recently asked my friends, via Facebook, what do they think when they think of me? I got a little variety in the responses. But one in particular, the one that began with "full of courage" (and a few other things) took me by surprise. I thought to myself, What is she talking about? She doesn't know me very well, and she thinks I'm courageous?

It was a pretty insightful response for someone whom I hardly ever see and talk to, so I had to take it seriously. Maybe she knows me better than I think she does. Maybe she's right that I am courageous.

Now, the easy answer is a brush-off (whether sincere or false modesty--one of the things my friend and I talked about while painting). And another easy answer is to say, "But of course." I don't wish to go for the easy this time. Most of the time I do not think I'm courageous at all; I'm pretty chicken...and selfish. But there are a few times where I can recognize that I have been in a situation that took courage and I was able to exercise that courage. But mostly? As a defining characteristic?

I wish I was courageous.

How much bravery does it take to be in my shoes, really? To stay with my parents, fully supported by them, and mix life with writing, chores, doctors, prescription runs, barely keeping up with the dishes (sometimes), dreaming of making my room into a little haven, seeing friends, church, various outings (sometimes brief, sometimes long, sometimes alone, sometimes with Mom)...

I wish I could tell you I was brave enough to write this out. But everything in me is saying not to. It's not a "don't post this" it's a "don't write this." Why? Because I don't want you to know all these details. I don't want to admit my shortcomings. Honestly, I don't want to admit that I live with Mommy and Daddy. And I neither want to project false modesty nor smugness.

::deep breath:: Time to plow through.

I will admit I hate introducing "what I do" when I meet someone new. I let my best friend tell whomever when I can because she can put it in a way that it honestly sounds good. But I think it honestly sounds...well, small, childish perhaps, weak even. What I do is simply this: I write, and I fail at writing; I live with my parents and help my family and particularly my mom at home, and I fail at that too; I spend time with friends and try to grow relationships, and I fail at that as well. I follow Christ, and I fail at that. Everything I do I manage to both do well and to fail at doing well. Positive or negative spinning, either way, this is simply what I do.

When I do try to explain it to people, or mention that I'm not seeking a 9-5 job in order to continue doing what I do, I feel like the uttermost loser in the room. I can't explain it in a way that makes sense to others, I can't even understand why I think my choice is a wise one half the time.

And yet, there I am, painting the wall with a dear old friend and talking about life and anything that comes up, including somehow my writing and lack of income and trying to manage things...and follow my dream, really.

Do I want to support myself and live on my own? Of course I do. But I'm taking a year (1 month down, yikes) to work on my writing. Near the end of the year I will reassess again.

What of Inheritance? Well, in the story, the characters all have a true name, and I was recently reading the part where Eragon tries to and does learn his own. The true name is spoken in the ancient language which has magical properties, and no one can lie when using that tongue. The true name reveals the deepest, most real core being of a character, and with that name one can have complete power and control over the one named.

The true name is not biased. It covers both the good points and the bad. Achievements and shortcomings alike. Personal history, knowledge, and attitude. Anything and everything about a person. It is the fullest answer to the question, "Who am I?"

So, thinking over all these things--courage, painting, the serious conversations, and true names--in the relaxing shower, I realized, what I do is a part of who I am. It's not biased; it just is. I have good qualities and bad. I lack courage (to strike out on my own), and I have courage (to stay where things are not my own, and to imagine that my dream can happen). I am a grown adult, and I live with my parents. I do things, and I fail at them. I keep trying, and I postpone.

It's not exactly pretty. And it's not exactly ugly either. It simply is. It is what I do, a part of who I am. At this point, it's a very large part of who I am.

And, realizing that, I think I can step closer to accepting that. Someday I may even be able to do what I do to it's full advantage.

It's probably not what you do, and it's not who you are. I can be very similar to you, but I will never be you. And you won't ever be me. We simply are who we are. And this is who I am and what I do.

My best friend read this post (trying to help me determine whether or not to post it) and mentioned this verse. I think it fits pretty well.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  -- Philippians 3:12-14


  1. You're doing an awesome job at being who you are. (That was meant as a compliment, I promise!) :-)

    I had my own post kinda like this a couple years ago. http://samann1121.blogspot.com/2010/03/so-what-do-you-do-all-day.html

    1. Thank you very much, sister. I know it was. :o)

      I remember that post. It's a really good post. I see what you do and I think you're amazing. I'm glad you're a full-time mom.

  2. "It's not exactly pretty. And it's not exactly ugly either. It simply is."


  3. This is excellent! I read it back when you posted and wanted to comment but couldn't at the time due to being on my phone rather than my computer, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing. It was, on my part, a very timely read.

    1. Oh, Kyndra, I'm very glad! Thank you for telling me.