I am allowing myself an hour to write before I hit publish.
Only a handful of people know the following confession: it takes me three hours to write one paragraph on here. My desire for superiority irks me.
I've never attempted to write a book aside from "Esther's Extraordinary Life" in 4th grade, but I imagine if I did, then perhaps 180 minutes per paragraph would be acceptable.
But I'm not writing a book, and even if I was, I would hope to not make every sentence a rigorous case for perfection. If that happened, there would be no joy in writing and I might as well quit the task altogether.
And I'm not ready to quit.
From an early age, I have tried to make life look as effortless as possible.
Being in the arts industry, it was second nature to me—this performing and masking. As a ballet dancer, the goal is to move with such grace, ease, and strength that the long-rehearsed steps would appear painless and simple to an audience. The more we practiced, the easier they could be convinced. Sadly, this belief did not just remain in the realm of ballet for me.
My last performance onstage was in 2010, but the critiquing and rehearsing on some studio version of myself has not ceased.
I learned a lot about determination, craft, and team work in those years, but one thing I wish to unlearn is the fear of being myself.
If you know me, hopefully you know I am an advocate for honesty, truth, confession, and repentance. I don't set out to hide who I am—but I do need direction on how to be myself, unabashedly.
We all want to be ourselves.
We want to know those selves will be accepted, loved, and welcomed in.
Our lives are not painless or simple. They are complex, profound, painstakingly beautiful, and worth something good.
They will not fit into 90 minutes of choreography or be illumined with soundtracks and bouquets and applause. As long as we are here on earth, these lives will not be devoid of glitches. Sin, hurt, and brokenness have been part of the deal since Genesis 3. At some point, we have got to get honest with ourselves, our people, and most importantly, God.
We cannot make it our goal to prove how our practicing finally attained perfection.
We'll never achieve it.
I don't know about you, but I am so tired, friend. I am tired of carefully curating struggles, tweaking and editing words, withholding thoughts and opinions due to fear, and being ashamed with what goes on behind-the-scenes.
During that final 2010 performance, I was in intense amounts of pain. I sobbed backstage and skipped warm-up because of the injuries. Once the music began and I got to the stage, I put on a smile and played the part.
Isn't it so easy to do that in our lives? We play the part, because that's what we believe is both expected and accepted.
Writing and sharing about living with sickness is not difficult for me. It seems brave, and I like that feeling. But it's not.
The day I get brave is the day I confront my unhealthy attachment to food. My struggles with body image and weight. The crippling fears I have of loved ones taking their lives or being sexually abused. My thoughts on the church or theology. My desperate pleas for the world. Or that "d" word called depression.
I still desire perfection. I don't like mistakes.
There are certain sins, insecurities, and lies I am tempted to make you think I never wrestle with. But here's the thing—I am not always going to get it right. I cannot hold a pose forever.
As the Holy Spirit guides and exposes, I am taking stock of wrong belief systems, thought patterns, and heart idols. I am going to believe, every day, that although God could have made someone else, it's us that He chose.
My "hour" finished up awhile ago, so I will finish here.
I want to walk away from this staged way of living, and live well behind-the-scenes. If that means brokenness, questions, or doing the hard things, so be it.
I want to be myself. I want to be bent and spent for the glory of God.
Will you join me there?