Lately I have been quiet.
I guess it's a good thing I'm not a "real" blogger or I'd have to offer all kinds of apologies for varying from my usual posting schedule.
Truth be told, my writing schedule pretty much consists of writing when I have too many words in my head and being quiet when I don't have much to say. I hope you'll keep in mind that this is really just free therapy for me, and that's the part that really deserves an apology. I'm afraid I'm not much help in the way of advice or direction. I'm woefully ill equipped to give tutorials with a high resolution photo of every step or bullet point lists of how to be a more incredible version of yourself.
I'm kind of a one trick pony, in all honesty, just one person telling her story. I'm just here trying to make sense of things by sifting through the words that pile up in my head before they clog up my thinking entirely.
Lately I have been quiet, and I'm not sure whether to call it writer's block because there are no due dates here. There is nothing I am supposed to write. There are no assignments to avoid. I'm not sure whether to call it writer's block when the silence descends on me, and I realize I have no words piling up, no pressure building and desperate to be vented.
But I wonder, I admit I do, if this season of quiet means more than I give it credit for. I wonder if it is meant to be a kind of taking stock, a period of reflection and review. I wonder if the quiet, itself, is saying something to me, and I listen with the hushed breath of reverent concentration.
Today is the first anniversary of These Square Pegs. Somehow this past year seems so much longer than twelve little months, and on this anniversary I cannot help but marvel at the imprint this year has left on me.
I started writing because I was feeling out of sorts, because too many of those words building up in my head can feel a bit like being slowly poisoned. In the words of this deceptively cheerful pop song, I write because "if I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to" (Anna Nalick, "Breathe").
The early days of the blog were soaked in the grief of loss as I limped my way through my first miscarriage, a wound that still pains me more than I ever expected it would a full year down the line. A few months later, I experienced another loss, much earlier than the first, and I kept that loss tucked close, a private pain too raw to be exposed so soon after the first.
But I also started writing because I was constantly aware of the friction of feeling out of place. The name of the blog itself itself speaks to the tension of being a liberal Christian feminist working mother raising a special needs child with a man who eschews traditional gender roles and loves to show off his prized cast iron skillets. I started writing because I was so tired of being made to feel embarrassed or ashamed of one aspect of my life or another depending on which group I was with at any given moment. I started writing because I was exhausted, finally, of trying to fit myself into all of these different boxes that get thrust at us. I was tired of feeling like a square peg in a round hole everywhere I went, and I needed a place that didn't ask me to be anything but who and what I am already right now.
And the most unexpected thing has happened since I opened up my big mouth here. I realized, really for the first time, how universal that feeling is of being a square peg in a round hole. People I barely knew sent me messages of solidarity, friends I see maybe once a year thanked me for what I had shared. People I once believed were deeply entrenched in toeing the party line shared their struggle unexpectedly with me.
Putting my messy self out there gave people permission to do the same. And I came out of this year seeing the people in my life with new eyes, seeing them as the confused, imperfect, hopeful, motley revelation they are.
So this anniversary arrives in the stillness of my recent quiet, and I greet it not with banners and balloons but with the wide eyes and open hands of one receiving a gift too extravagant, too rich to be believed. I am in a state of silent wonder over the gift this experiment has turned out to be. To practice honesty when it would be easier to practice conformity, to realize that you are not alone, to find your voice in this place overrun with noise: these are not things to be taken lightly.
Today I am humbled, I am buoyed, I am grateful, and I am hopeful.
If you have read anything I have written this year, if you have given any of the minutes of any of your days to read my meandering chunks of prose, please know that I am grateful for your time and your support. If you have left me a comment, shared the link to one of my posts, sent me an email or a private message, or told me in person over a beer that what you read has reverberated for you, please understand that it means more to me than you will probably ever know.
Thank you for this year.
Image Credit, used under Creative Commons License