Update: Excel did not delete my entire file. For reasons unknown to me, it didn’t open the recovered file when I went back to Excel on Friday, but it did this morning. Much to my surprise, as I was looking for one document to open and not three. Praise Jesus for small things like computers that work.
Notes on me: I’ve been going through a lot of process lately about what I want to be doing and how to get there. Mostly, it’s been about what I want to be doing because I don’t want to be going anywhere unless I have some inkling that it’s the right place.
I have always wanted to be a writer. This is the only thing I’ve wanted for so long, the only thing “I’ve always wanted to be.” So, last fall, I began to pursue it. I didn’t attack it aggressively (thank God that I have some sort of self protective impulses–I was also planning a wedding!!!), but I put some feelers out and chose a project from a couple I was offered. That project was Wisebread, where I’ve been blogging for a couple of months now about finance and frugality for people my age. I really like Wisebread–I like the people I get to work with and the discipline of writing a lot and the fact that it’s a fairly natural topic for me, being where I am in life and all.
But the other thing I realized doing Wisebread? I don’t want to be a general freelancer. A lot of people do it, and do it well. They write on a number of topics for a number of publications (and types of publications) and it’s amazing. But I don’t want to do that. Part of it is that I only want to write about things I want to write about, and not what will necessarily bring in the money. I see that even on Wisebread. I write about finance from a thoughtful, philosophical perspective (most of the time) and generally suck at “how to save money” posts. The other writers are so very good at those!! They get mentioned all over the Web and it’s really quite cool. But that’s not who I am. It’s not me, and I can’t do it very well.
So, while I hope to continue to write for Wisebread, mostly just because it’s fun and it’s experience, and I think it’s good for me, I don’t want to take on more projects like that. If I write, I want to write about the spiritual life, or about relationships, or something thoughtful and reflective, or something fictional. That’s who I am. If I could freelance writing only on those things, I would. In a heartbeat. But right now I can’t.
All of this was really disappointing–being a writer was something of an identity for me, something that I knew I could do someday, and a place I had thought I would find as home. When I tried it and it felt more like Mars, something died in me. I felt like I couldn’t do the one thing that had been steady, that I’d always wanted through the ins and outs of the other things that I’ve done. But I could tell, from just the little taste, that the path would kill me, would eat away at me as I tried to make it become what I wanted it to be because I couldn’t like it as it was. And I won’t shrivel up and die like that.
The other thing that happened is that Dave taught a class on…well, basically on sanctification…at his church. They scheduled this before the wedding, for the Saturday three weeks after we got married. When it came around, I didn’t want him to go, because I wanted to be with him. Instead, we both went. While it was very much his class, I got to do a lot of talking and sharing and adding to what he had, or putting it all in different words, and it was really cool. I liked interacting with people, helping birth new ideas of the mind and the heart in them. It felt right. It felt like me, like home.
This really surprised me. While this class was small, I felt while I was there that I would love to teach a larger group, a class, a bunch of people all together. But I’ve always been a small-group girl, a girl who could make compelling class presentations but who didn’t really enjoy them. But maybe, just maybe, it was the material I haven’t enjoyed and not the teaching of it. And maybe I’m bigger enough inside now that I feel comfortable with a large group. But it was still surprising.
From this experience, I took the fact that I don’t want to just write. I want to work with people, to teach them and interact with them and love them in that sort of relationship. This still felt like a loss to me, because…well, because it isn’t what I thought I wanted. It isn’t the me that I’ve built up for so long. It feels like it belongs to someone else.
Finally, yesterday, I landed on a piece that starts to pull these things together for me. I am a story-fiend. That’s why I always wanted to write: I love stories. I understand things when they’re in the form of a story that I wouldn’t understand in any other form. Stories appeal to my intuition, my subconscious, the part of me that can understand even when my logical mind is panicking and trying to run away with all the chocolate. I love stories, but what really came to the forefront is that I love people’s stories. I love to hear them and to tell them, to illustrate my points with them, to laugh and cry and watch people suddenly come to understand something about themselves.
Somehow, I want to tell people’s stories. And to teach them to tell their stories to others. And help people understand each other by hearing each others’ stories. And teach them truth and love through their stories and those of others. Which is all well and good, but how in the world does one do such a thing…
I will, I suppose, find out.