An Introduction

 

Celebrating two and a half years of blogging and freelance writing today, y’all! Here’s how it all began. . .

It’s suggested to bloggers that their first post tell readers why they peck at the keyboard and then click publish and what readers can expect to find on their blog. Makes good sense to me, so here goes.

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A year ago, a dear friend said I simply must read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.

This friend is a sommelier of books and when she tells you to read something, you read it. The force is strong in her and ignoring her book suggestions would be like ignoring Warren Buffett’s advice on investing in mutual funds. So I read Love Warrior and my world went fuzzy and out of focus for a beat before rendering itself sharp and crisp. I felt like Jason Bourne and as if someone had flipped a switch in me. I felt an immense gravitational pull towards Glennon and her writing. I felt a kinship with this woman whom I’d never met like you wouldn’t believe.

Glennon and I both endured the trauma of betrayal in our marriages and nothing bonds you to another human being quite like similar trauma. When she described her heartache in Love Warrior I felt like I was reliving it with her. I had, in fact, lived parts of her story myself. I felt her hurt. As much as anyone can feel anyone else’s pain and if you have empathic superpowers like I do, that’s a lot.

I Googled this woman so I could soak up some more of her and found her first book, Carry On, Warrior, and read it too. It was then that I realized I knew her! Virtually, that is. Glennon is the force, honesty and humorous wit behind the beyond lovely blog, Momastery.com. I realized I’d read some of her posts over the years but since I don’t have a lot of stick-to-it-iveness in many areas of life, I wasn’t a regular reader of her blog. Oh, the horrors, when I think of what I’ve missed.

Early in Carry On, Warrior, Glennon spoke to me when she wrote the following:

“If, anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write. Write as a gift to yourself and others. Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the “right” words. It’s just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you write your truth it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone.”

She had me at “please write.” But she went on to say:

“If you feel something calling you to dance or write or paint or sing, please refuse to worry about whether you’re good enough. Just do it. Be generous. Offer a gift to the world that no one else can offer: yourself.”

Word. Mic drop.

She isn’t the first person to tell me I should write. She’s just the first person I listened to. My husband has encouraged me to write for as long as I can remember. I just p-shawed him. What does he know? He’s supposed to tell me I’m wonderfully talented and encourage me to use said talent. I can’t put stock in his endorsement. He’s biased.

There’ve been others who’ve tried to encourage me to write as well. I paid them no attention because I’d made a mental list a mile long of reasons I shouldn’t write and that list is what I paid attention to. I know now that list was a liar and the reasons it cited to keep me from writing were inspired by fear and insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty, and a complete lack of faith. That fraudulent list duped me into believing I could never be a writer and I fell for it. I despise that bully of a list today.

My dumb, but maybe very common, reasons not to write:

  • I don’t know how. – Um, yes I do. But I was being technical. One of my biggest regrets is being a shining star in my English classes in high school. I passed my AP test in Lit & Comp and thus tested right out of having to take writing in college. I used the free time to add in science courses because I thought I wanted to go into healthcare. It turns out I don’t want to work in healthcare after all. But I do want to write. I let lack of formal training and “proper” instruction hold me back. Shame on me! No, shame is bad—very, very bad. Love on me, even though.
  • What if no one wants to read my writing or thinks it is any good? – What if. Oh, the what ifs. If ifs and buts were candies and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas. Or something to that effect, right? In Carry on, Warrior, Glennon explained in a way I finally understood that your gift is something that brings YOU joy when you do it, even if it’s hard for you to do. So that’s why I’m finally ready to call writing my gift, because of what happens to me when I do it. I become joyful. Not happy per se, but full of joy and joy is the bomb! I get it now. Your gift is for you. It’s from God–where all good things come from. Using it for the benefit of others can be a natural extrapolation and important to do, but we are the intended first recipients of our gifts. Sometimes it’s just hard to see our gifts for what they are because they can feel so ordinary. So it doesn’t matter much whether anyone ever reads my writing or appreciates it. Because I’m really writing for the sheer joy doing it.
  • What if I write something that hurts someone’s feelings. – Too bad, so sad. Seriously though—I would never write for the purpose of causing pain. Exactly the opposite in fact; to feel joy and to connect with others. “Sometimes you wanna be, where you can see, your troubles are all the same. . .” By summoning my bravery and telling my truths, I can quit hiding and begin to heal and if I share my stories so that someone else can see their pain sames with mine, then hopefully they’ll feel less alone. Author and seasoned warrior in the game of life, Anne Lamott, taught me I own everything that happens to me. That I get to tell my stories. And if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.
  • There are AMAZING writers out there and they are SO funny, wise, insightful, innovative, helpful, on point, relevant and creative. I can’t compete with them. Writing isn’t a competition. Well actually in 1st grade it was, and I won! I produced a lovely and effective environmental campaign featuring Hootie, the Tootsie Pop Owl. My tagline was, “Give a hoot, don’t polloot.” My prize was a pack of bubble gum and a pot of daisies. But in reality, writing is about expressing yourself and using your gift to relate to the world. As noted above, your gift brings YOU joy, first and foremost. If that’s all writing ever accomplishes for you, it’s still worth doing.
  • Fear of plagiarism. I read a ton of books, articles, blogs, posts, memes, emails, texts and order confirmations from Amazon. What if I write someone else’s words, and forgetting where they came from, I think they’re my own? This is still a valid fear. I’m a middle-aged mom and thus my memory cannot be trusted, it is shady as f@#!. Since it will never be my intention to commit petty theft of words though, I’ll work hard to give credit where credit is due and ask for forgiveness if I make a blunder. If I ever get to hang out with a bunch of experienced writers, one of the first questions I’ll ask them will be, “How do you know you wrote your words down and not mine?”
  • Is there anything left to write about? – According to the bible, there’s nothing new under the sun. My brain agrees when it begins to over-think writing. But maybe there are still new ways to write about all the old stuff. I go back to what Glennon offered. She explained we each have one gift to offer the world that no one else can—ourselves. And, sure, maybe my take on things won’t be that much different from so and so’s, but sometimes it’s good to hear things over and over again until they finally sink into our thick skulls. (Whoops, I was writing to myself there, not to you. You’re not in trouble and I don’t think you’re thick-headed). In addition, much of what I write details the story of infidelity in my marriage. And while adultery has been around as long as marriage and doesn’t appear close to being eradicated anytime soon, it turns out not many affected by this unthinkable horror are willing to talk publicly about it. But I am and so I do.
  • Our stories are not for everyone. – Thank you for reminding us of that, Brené Brown. Over-sharing is a concern. Being misunderstood isn’t just possible, it’s inevitable. There are people out there who may try to use my words against me. Not everyone is for me. Even so, I’m ready to push this fear aside just like all the others. There are enough people out there who are behind me and since God is at the top of that list, so who can REALLY be against me?
  • I’m busy. – Yeah, yeah, aren’t we all. I’ll stop here with this ridiculous list because I think you get the idea. All the other reasons not to write get really weak from here on out anyway.

The Why

So I will write, to clear my head and to make sense of my thoughts as they morph into written words. And then I’ll be brave and share the only thing of value that I actually possess, myself—in hopes of connecting on a deeper level with even just one of you. It’s my observation that life sucks. And then it doesn’t. And then it does again. But if we can grasp hands and sing, “We’re all in this together,” like we’re cast members of High School Musical, maybe we’ll feel a little stronger, a little better equipped, and a little less alone inside our stories.

The What

Perfect is gross. If you disagree and think Perfect is grand, then this blog and its Imperfect content will not be for you. But I know for certain that Perfect is not my friend, or yours. Perfect and I tried to become close in the past when we were young and we thought we needed each other and we were happy together for a time. Together, we felt strong and courageous. We thought we could conquer our common enemies; insecurity, anxiety, shame, and loneliness. Our too-close friendship hurt those around us, though.

When Perfect and I focused all of our attention on each other, our families and other friends felt less than in our presence. Once I recognized the pain we caused, I began to feel it too. Nothing hurts us quite as bad as when we hurt someone we love.

Since no friendship of mine should ever serve to cause anyone else pain, I decided to break up with Perfect. She didn’t want to let me go. We wrestled it out and for a while, we were at an impasse. Then something miraculous happened. I realized Perfect didn’t actually exist. And poof, she was gone.

Perfect had been an imaginary friend all along. I’d conjured her when I felt alone and misunderstood. When I felt shunned and unable to belong anywhere. I’d befriended her in hopes she would protect me and keep me safe. She was tough as nails where I was weak. My biggest hope was that she would make me feel worthy.

Instead, Perfect was sly and deceptive and closed me off to other people. She isolated me and made sure I was unapproachable. Her departure freed me, opening me up to others, and it was then that I met Imperfect. I was receptive to Imperfect and her gifts and she became my new favorite friend. I love Imperfect still today because she’s SOOOO real. We’re tight. We go everywhere together.

The best part about our friendship is I know it’ll last my whole life and nothing will come between us. I take that back, the absolute best part is we make everyone around us feel accepted. People feel normal and at ease around us. They feel like there’s room for them and they belong with us. Not all the time, because Imperfect and I don’t always get everything right. But even this makes people feel better about themselves. It’s funny how our friendship works to soothe others.

Imperfect doesn’t really make me feel worthy either, but she does make me feel like I’m enough just the way I am. That’s what you can expect to find here on this blog. Me, Imperfect, and room for you too. I do hope you’ll join us and subscribe today so you’ll never miss a new post.

 

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35 thoughts on “An Introduction

  1. Love love love this new journey, Jodie! Bravo to you for being vulnerable and putting yourself out there. Admired and appreciated! You’re a wonderful soul, my friend!! xo

    1. Jenna, I watched you and Lisa and Amanda the other night, sitting on the floor, sifting through your passion, your gifts, and for the first time in many moons I felt elated by witnessing other people offer value because I felt like I finally had something of my own to offer, to contribute, to use for good. I had a hard time not sharing with you then, but I wasn’t quite ready. Thank you for being an inspiration, in finding joy and in sharing it with others. It’s been fun to watch you sail. >

      1. Oh Jodie. You just made me cry. It’s been very soul filling doing something you love and are passionate about. It benefits all aspects of life! Knowing you can see it in us makes it even more valuable. I have learned bounties from you and quote you often.. my two go-to Jodie quotes are … “they are only young once” (which resulted in me putting in my job notice the next day to be home with my littles) and “parenthood is too much and not enough at the same time” (this is repeated daily in my head!!). Keep sharing your wisdom and insights! It impacts others more than you even know!! Blessed to call you my friend!! xo

  2. Wow! Who knew it? You’ve blown me away. I will be following and wish you the best. Thanks for sharing! Luv ya! xo

  3. Love this Jodie… you totally nailed it! Not a doubt in my mind that you are, indeed, a writer and I am looking foreword to your next blog. You’ve got this!

    ❌⭕️

  4. Jodie,
    Wonderfully put. You are who you want to be and it is wonderful. It was so good to see you and I have worried about you but I now know you are “perfectly imperfect” and wish you and your family the best. I will be reading.

    1. Ty, thank you. You were right to worry about me, I was worried about me too. Climbing out of that now though, moving on to faith and hope. Erik and I are so glad you reached out while you were in town. We worry about you too, and want you home. All in good time, we hope. Love you. >

      1. So glad to hear that and wish you continued success and happiness. Always good to see you and will always reach out. Love you guys and may God Bless You.

  5. Good for you! I love the truth you tell, we could all benefit from breaking up with perfect. You may be the next Brene Brown, keep it up. Keep inspiring others to be real and joyful.

  6. This is beautiful Jodie. Thank you for sharing. Maybe it will give me the courage to write again…

    1. Melissa, out of all the positive and encouraging comments so far, that I have so appreciated, yours melted me. I’m in tears. This was my hope, my exact hope, that if I summoned my courage and shared it, it would catch on, like wildfire. Thank you for being that first spark. I know I’m on the right track now. Sail on my friend. Do me a favor, play my favorite song of all time, Sailing by Christopher Cross, and think about writing as the “sailing.” I’m hoping it will fan your flame. Or you could think it’s cheeseballs cheesy. Or maybe both things will be true! >

  7. This is very exciting to me and kinda blows me away because I thought of you when I read her books. I look forward to your next post. She was similarly inspiring to me as I have been trying to write the truth. I have all those same hesitations.
    You have a story to share and I hope you will continue to share it without hesitation. I need to know it. Occasionally bits of memories come back to me from our time together…

    1. My best memory of you is when you let me drive your car all over town before I even had a license. I thought I was hot stuff thanks to you! Lara, sail, just sail. I need to hear you too. And, I am actually in the process of writing my story. I felt the need to share in a different way through the blog part way through so I got distracted with that for a bit. I will get back to my story soon, it’s taking all my guts and faith in God, that he can use it for good and to help others. Glad you’re with me for the ride. Love you, still. >

  8. “I’m a middle aged mom and my mind cannot be trusted…it is shady as fuck!” So absofreakinlutely true!!!! This piece is fantastic, it hit me in so many levels and I am inspired by your courage to share your gift. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Angie! I feel like I’m getting my own little, personal high school reunion in these comments and I am loving the nostalgia. Do not mistake me though, I would never want to relive those days and I’m glad they’re over. You though, and people like you, I miss. Thank you for reaching out and letting me know I don’t have the SAF memory out there! It’s fun and convenient to blame everything on our kids too, isn’t it? 8 ) >

  9. Your wisdom, honesty and imperfect perfection has always inspired me. What a gift to share with the world. May you be blessed as you are a blessing.

  10. This makes me so happy! You are so talented and brave and I love you! When I saw you at BSH the other day you were beaming and I just knew something brilliant was coming… now I know! Can’t wait to read all your words! Xoxox!

    1. I knew it would. I wanted to tell you so bad, I knew you would notice the difference, but I didn’t want to get busted for talking during class! Love you too Teej! THANK YOU, for ALL your support. >

  11. Amazing and beautiful. I forsee something great from this you’ve got Talent woman
    Your man was right

  12. Amazing and beautiful. I forsee something great from this you’ve got Talent woman, can’t wait for more.
    Your man was right.

  13. Your blog could not have come at a more perfect time for me. I have been struggling with just this very issue. I want, no I need to create something. I need it to help me heal. To let it out in a way that doesn’t hurt so much. Thank you for finding your courage to open up to us via your blog. I look forward to reading more.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Your words are part of the collective still small voice that I’ve found enough quiet and peace to begin listening to. And it’s how I know I’m on the right track. Since I started this blog, I’ve been told it was the first blog a reader has ever read, the first blog another reader has ever followed, that it might be the catalyst to make another reader courageous enough to start writing again and now that the timing was right for you in reading it and it’s helping you to recognize what you need in order to move forward. Sail on my friend, and when you find that “sail” please come back and share with me what it was for you. The sharing is part of it. >

  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, I could not wish for a better start of this day. I feel like if you talked to me personally, face to face, and I am so grateful!

    You see, I draw, and your words kind of allowed/encouraged/strengthened this joy, and fulfillment, and the little spark of pride to be and to grow, and maybe one day I’ll gather the courage to show my drawings to people too.

    Thank you, Jodie!

    1. Oh my goodness, Manuela, your words have made my day. How lovely we were able to do the same for each other! I write and share because someone did the same for me and it changed the trajectory of my life and speeded some healing I needed to do, and I want so badly to be able to turn around and do the same for someone else. So you, reading along with me, and then showing up here, is validation and affirmation of the highest order. Thank you, so very much. And please, please share your art with me soon. Your drawings are your LOVE offering to the world and I don’t want to miss out on that. I’ll be waiting here patiently, in respect of your timing and your speed, but I do so hope to hear from you again. Carry on, warrior!!! I’m at utterlyimperfectblogger@gmail.com when you’re ready.

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