For days, weeks even, I have tried hard to persuade myself to write.
“I have so much to say”, I told myself again and again.
At this point I couldn’t tell you what prevented me from taking to my computer and seeking to make good on my self-promises. Armed with my keyboard I could weave together my words to accurately dress up the mannequin of my circumstances with decadence – and hopefully derive a moral out of it all somewhere along the way.
Even now, I find myself typing with hesitation, editing in the midst of sentences – something my high school english teacher considered a sin on par with murder.
In the past 30 days, I would say fairly remarkable changes have taken place in my life.
First off, I got a haircut.
Before you write this off as trite and shallow, you should know that Coco Chanel once said that “A girl who cuts her hair is about to change her life”. That was my aim in cutting the long, straight, boring locks that I had previously stubbornly refused to do more than trim. “I’m growing it out,” I had grown accustomed to telling those that inquired. It got longer, slowly, and most of the time just hang around my face like a pesky fly that for some reason I took pride in. With Alexa Chung as inspiration and my hairdresser Mike wielding the scissors expertly, in flurry of determination and wild abandon my hair shrunk 3+ inches.
The reason for this dramatic change is the second point I’ll make:
Secondly, I turned 20.
The past couple years I have absolutely dreaded turning the next age. Something morbid accompanied my birthdays, making me hesitate to celebrate. I wanted to cling to the good I’d known of the previous year – not only cling to but to live inside. Growing old meant letting go to me. I wasn’t willing to let go of the memories, of the feelings. 17 felt good. 18 felt incredible. Why be 19 when I could be 18? Too bad age works linearly.
20 was different for me. 20 was a golden age, the age of opportunity, second chances, hope in the new.
In some regards I was more than ready to shirk the awkward age of 19. At 19 I straddled the line of adolescence and adulthood, not quite regarded as an adult worthy of that consideration and somehow expected to take on undesirable responsibilities. 20 felt like rebirth.
So I cut my hair. I dreamed of doing something truly terrifying, like getting another hole in my ear or putting ink in my skin. I set my radical expectations down for the day I feel more willing to adventure.
My 20th birthday glowed with the warm brilliance of the sunset the moment before the sun plunges into the horizon. Friends of all genres: co-workers, roommates, professors, and family came together to express their love in beautiful ways. Truly nothing says “I love you” like stepping forward to give of yourself in the crush of life’s unrelenting business. Invest in the people around you. Tell them “Happy Birthday. Praise God you’re here”.
Over Christmas break I read Fitzgerald’s genius “This Side of Paradise”. One of my favorite quotes says this:
“At fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4pm”.
I hope to embody the melancholy brilliance of the moon this year, radiating maturity and a passion lost in today’s societal norm of apathy.
20, believe it or not, has already treated me well.
Thirdly, to return to my preexisting list, I have changed trajectories.
This is more dramatic than cutting my hair or turning 20. This means a release of dreams, a grasping at new straws, a fore-coming moment when the car is spinning in slow motion as if on a sheet of ice and I am sitting behind the wheel watching wide-eyed, unable to act one way or the other.
Since 15, since I was that innocent boy-crazed girl singing along to Rihanna and Taylor Swift in the back of the school bus with my punk friends, I’ve had my eyes firmly fixed on this dream of managing artists for a living. Ask anyone who’s talked to me for more than 2 minutes and they’ll tell you about my elaborate dreams I’d declare were “God-given”. Who knows if they were, but something January taught me is my God is not one to give us such a straight path to follow. He stretches. He pulls us in a direction – and hard, too. It’s not as simple as I made it.
He isn’t safe, but He’s always good. (C.S. Lewis)
“Where are you going with this?” I know you’re wondering.
Recently, for the first time ever (and after a year of doing this seemingly with no real intent of pursuing it as a career) I am considering the possibility of being a radio DJ for a living.
Folks have come out of nowhere in uncanny ways to move me in this direction – people I trust and love. For the first time, I feel like I’m losing my grip on my future.
I guess this is what happens when you radically pray “Not my will, but Yours be done”.
If you don’t follow me at all, in the last year, radio, with an increasing intensity, has become my job, a hobby, a place to find solace and peace from the things that haunt my mind and numb my fear of being alone. Talking on the radio is a salve to my tired mind, it makes me feel as though, even with one solitary listener, that I’m not the only one. Whether I’m hitting that microphone and talking about something embarrassing that just happened a class ago or spilling my guts about a spiritual issue there is something relational that happens when my voice goes out over the internet to whoever’s listening.
See, I don’t think I’m good at talking. I’m not eloquent. I don’t have the archetypal best radio voice, the greatest skills at storytelling, or the most excellent communication skills. I got to the place I was at this station because I worked hard. I never took pride in the art. I just did what was asked of me, and whenever possible, went above and beyond.
I realize now that God uses our insecurities to broadcast (no pun intended) His strengths. It is only when we are utterly humbled that God can use us.
Who knows if I’ll end up in radio. Maybe upon graduation I’ll be back down in Nashville as if nothing had changed.
As someone I admire very much once told me: “You don’t have to do anything. You just need to lean back into God and settle in for the ride”.
My favorite journeys are always the ones sprinkled with misadventure and certain danger.
To God I say, Your will be done. Let’s go.
til later & with much love in Christ,
***Sophomore Year Part 2 commences.