A quick perusal of the last few months of the blog shows a couple of things.
First, I noticed that I have written something on here about once a month since I moved out here to Philadelphia. I’m not entirely sure why… Part of it may be that I have other outlets to help me with my processing (cough-Abby-cough), and am no longer bouncing ideas around inside my head until I either go crazy and explode or come to some sort of resolution… Part of it may be that I have been fearful of being honest – fearful of being entirely myself.
After all, if I am just me, I can no longer please everyone. I can no longer tailor my words to make myself look good, and please all of my readers. And even though I’d rather challenge and amuse and make you stop and ask questions, there’s still a part of me that wants you, the reader, to think well of me. “Please like me… be my friend…” is the plainative cry of 12 year old Ben, who wore big glasses and hairsprayed his hair and was shy and self-conscious and had to deal with being teased because of his age and uncoordination and the fact that he spoke Spanish and was just different… sigh… Don’t believe me? Just look:
This is still how I feel on the inside sometimes – the vulnerable, self-conscious kid who doesn’t really have any friends, and is desperate for someone to like him for who he is, in all his dorkiness and fear.
Second, for some reason I feel as if I’ve lost my voice. For the almost six years I lived in Rio de Janeiro, I was Ben, the missionary who worked with street kids and lived in the favelas and had amazing adventures every day – profound insights – tragic realities – prophetic truths – wacky mishaps… But take that away from me, and who am I? What do I have to say that isn’t being said by thousands of others? I have the tools and know how I want to say things: with truth, insight, humor, and curiosity… But what is it about what I have to say that will make others even want to read it?
But this brings me back once again to the purpose of this blog… Why do I blog? Is it because I am a narcissistic self-centered blow-hard who believes that what he has to say is profound and truth with a capital T? Is it because I seek validation from you, the readers: – looking for someone to pat me on the head and tell me I’m wonderful? Or is it because I have to write – because if I don’t, my thoughts congeal and turn to mush, my motivation disappears, and I know that I am not being true to myself – to who God has made me to be? Or some combination of all of the above?
Third, I am learning what it looks like to have boundaries. I sometimes vacillate between sharing everything, believing I’m being vulnerable, and clamming up in order to not step on anyone’s toes and overshare. I find this even more of a frustration when I am navigating a new situation (new friendships, new city, learning what it means to be in a serious relationship, etc.). I don’t like doing things if I can’t do them well. And I’ve just recently begun giving myself grace to try new things, to fail miserably, but to learn and grow. So maybe there’s space for this blog in the process. Maybe there’s space for it to be just me. Not a profound voice trumpeting from the rooftops. Just me – silly, ridiculous, thoughtful, confused, questioning, procrastinating, dizzy, laughing, and honest. There is some truth in the title of this blog – no matter how much I may want to pretend to be Super-man (or even Mr. Furious, whose power stems from his boundless rage), I am only human… and that’s OK…