(Both my mom and my husband are probably going, "No kidding!")
It took me weeks and weeks before I started Thistlefish Knits just because my brain was filled with "what if's," and I realized I just didn't want the embarrassment of not knowing what to do.
I am afraid to fail. (whew, I said it; there it is.)
But I'm learning how important it is sometimes to just push aside fear and "go for it."
I'm also learning about how important it is to share your story and your life before you've figured out everything. Like, sharing it while you're in the middle, in that weird portion of the story when you really have no idea how anything is going to turn out.
I feel like I'm not the only person in a "middle." In fact, I know I'm not the only person in a "middle."
At first I thought it was just a natural part of being a college student, and not having a clue what was going to happen after school in terms of "adult life" and a career, because it seems like every college student I talk to has a shrug in response to the question "what do you want to do after college?"
But now I'm finding even adults - people older than me who I thought had everything figured out - don't always know what's going on. Life is a constant cycle of beginnings and ends, but between those two places - always - there is a "middle."
While there are times that "middle" is great, often they're uncomfortable. They can be long, spacious, heavy, confusing, disappointing, tempting impatience, and simply not fun.
"Middles" can also be happening during beginnings and ends, too. (i.e., I just got married (beginning) but I haven't finished school (middle).)
But middles are important to share, because you're not the only one that's in one. There is nothing new under the sun; we all may be unique, but we are all the same. We are all asking similar questions and seeking similar things.
All that to say,
I want to encourage you if you are in a middle.
If you are waiting, if you feel stuck, if you are frustrated.
If you feel like where you are and what you're doing doesn't even matter because you cannot present it to the world "wrapped in a bow."
If you feel like everything is messy and not "Instagram worthy."
If you feel like you are the only one that is in a "middle."
All of us are in a middle of some sorts.
Not one of us can say that we have everything figured out,
not one of us knows exactly how our story will begin, progress and end,
and not one of our lives looks like the perfectly-aesthetic Instagram feed every day.
I'm so tired of feeling like I'm the only one that feels like her life is messy on the inside. I'm so tired of feeling like I'm going to be even more isolated if I let on that my life isn't permanently pretty. I'm so tired of believing the lie that the only way to experience community or companionship or affection is to be perfect.
Jon was talking about community once, and told me that "transparency provides the opportunity for greater intimacy."
I've been thinking about that phrase, and I believe it's true. Transparency doesn't always lead to intimacy, because transparency also gives people a chance to leave, to change their mind about you, to decide that you're "too real."
But transparency also provides the opportunity for open arms, for forgiveness, for relationship, for a "me too!" for the invisible standard of perfection to be shattered and authenticity to reign as the new normal.
I experienced this first hand in my new friendship when I stepped out with a grain of courage and shared something hard I had been going through.
And the coolest thing happened! She responded with "I'm so glad I'm not the only one!"
What a sweet, sweet, thing to hear.
It's also a reflection of Kaitlyn's post about being discouraged seeing everyone's finished stories while she is/was in the messy middle, and inspired by a new podcast I found by Jacque Watkins called Mud Stories, where she talks about experiences in the "muddiness of life," or, "middles." (I recommend checking out both).
But it's also a sermon to myself, to be real, to share, and to stop believing the lie that I will only experience authentic relationship once I'm perfect.
Relationship doesn't wait for perfection; it waits for transparency and honesty.
And I don't want to present my life here on my little space of internet like I have it figured out. I never want ya'll to read my words and hear perfection. I want to be your girl friend that you can get coffee with and know that she is going to be just as real with you as you are with her; the gal pal that you can rely on to be real, and gritty-honest, and tell you exactly what she's processing.
Know that that is my heart, and that I'm learning how to share it more here. And I'm hoping this is a place that you can come and experience a sigh of relief, a weight off your shoulders, and a "I'm so glad I'm not the only one."
What has your experience been with "middles"?