Tag Archives: anxiety

A Not So Forever Ago Friday: #FaithCulture2014

This weekend I have the opportunity to speak on a panel of bloggers at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference. If you’ve been around my space for awhile you might remember how last year I was really nervous about going, in fact, if it hadn’t been for my mom, I wouldn’t have gone to the conference at all. So today, I’m looking back on what I wrote last March, and anticipating what will happen this weekend.

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the conference at #FaithCulture2014!

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I scanned the speaker and agent bios while I was on the phone with my mother. “Shit,” it slipped out of my mouth with defeat. “Mom, I don’t fit here. Have you looked at some of the books these people have written or the books these agents have represented? I’m not sure my story is a fit for a Christian conference. I don’t know if this is a good idea.”

“You’re going. It’s time,” my mom was unmoved by my hesitation.

Faith and Culture Writers Conference was happening, and I would be going. The credit card was entered, the breakout sessions chosen, and I was composed of excitement, apprehension, and even a little bit of dread. I shook my head as I wiped sweet potatoes from my son’s mouth. I’m already swearing and I’m not even there yet. I better not swear while I’m there. Shit, that would be awful.

Then I had to laugh. I was swearing again.

As I bathed my son that night, I thought about the past six years. I thought about how every year my mom would offer to pay for me to go to a writers conference, and I would always turn her down. There was no swearing involved in my answer. It was always a simple, “No.” I thought about how, throughout my twenties, I would scan upcoming events and consider whether or not it was time to sit down with an agent or other writers or published authors and talk with them about my story, my vision. I would fold up the flyers, close the links, and shrug my shoulders at every opportunity that came my way.

Now it is time. I know I am ready. I was finally able to say, “Yes.”

Maybe you’re asking yourself why I’m swearing about this conference. You might even be judging me for it. Or possibly you’re laughing, and relieved that someone else is admitting their sometimes-foul mouth; it’s okay, we do real life here on this blog. Here’s the explanation for the four letter words:

I’m swearing about the conference because deep in my bones that’s how I feel about sharing my story. There is redemption, beauty, and truth in my story, but nothing cancels out the pain of the breakdown. So, when I talk about what I’ve been through or write about what I’ve experienced, there might be an explicative involved; sometimes those words are said in private and sometimes they are public.

Please hear me, I’m not seeking to shock or offend with my language. Yet, I realize some of you may be offended anyway, despite my intentions, and that’s okay.

But know this; I’m not willing to share half of me or only the beautiful parts of my story. You’re not going to hear about my escape from a toxic, dangerous marriage, but not about the hell I went through in order to be free. You’re not going to hear about love without the frame of anger. You’re not going to hear my prayers without my cursing. There is peace and joy, but there is also suffering and strife. I’m still cracked, and I’m not going to present myself otherwise.

My sometimes-foul mouth, my love for Jesus, my messy story, yep, we’re showing up to Multnomah University on April 5th and 6th. We’re going to sit with other bloggers, authors, activists, and dreamers.

I’m going to get nervous as I walk into a predominantly evangelical Christian crowd, and I’m going to censor my tongue. I’m not comfortable with the idea of showing up to this conference, but my life ceased to be comfortable years ago so it’s really not a new feeling.

There’s room for all the feelings. There’s room for all the words. There’s room for my story, and there’s room for yours.

Throughout the weekend of April 5th and 6th, I plan to learn, to be challenged, and more likely than not, I’ll meet some great people. Hopefully, I’ll leave with a new energy and vision for writing my book. I don’t plan to go home singing a Jenny Owen Youngs song when I leave the conference. But I guess it’s always a possibility. We shall see.

{Thanks for taking a look back in time with me. Have a wonderful weekend, friends.}