Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finding my Voice (by Helen of Random Musings)

If you don't know my friend Helen from Random Musings, all I can say is, "Sorry. It must suck being you." She is a fantastic person and I big pink fuzzy heart her!


Hi folks. Before I get started, I need to warn you, my blog isn’t called Random Musings for nothing.

Years ago, when I was in college and dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I was very focused in my writing. I won’t go so far as to say that I was good, but I was definitely good enough. Blogging for me has never been about being good enough. I started blogging because I had a dream where my dad told me to write something. I can’t say I started writing because I believed he was speaking to me and I had to obey. It was more like I felt that it must be something I was telling myself I need to do. And hey, if I’m wrong, and daddy actually came to my dream to talk to me, it’s not like he can be mad. I listened to him, didn’t I?

I knew blogs existed because I took a technology class about a year before, and we had to keep a technology journal on a blog. I am not going to link it. No. I don’t even remember the URL. The class covered little about blogging, but a lot of other stuff. It didn’t teach me to do cool stuff like post schedule and download pictures, or anything like that. The blog’s only purpose was to allow my professor to easily read my technology journal at any time.

I never thought I would actually use that bit of information. The existence of blogger was not going to affect me professionally because there was no way I would ask students to keep a blog for class. I knew kids were finding trouble on Myspace and stuff, and I wasn’t going to help them with that. But when I had the dream where daddy told me to write, I thought to myself, an online journal sounded like just the thing. It was obvious in the dream that daddy thought the writing should be public rather than private. I kind of felt blogging would be a compromise. In all the time of that class, not one person commented on the blog, not even my professor. I am not sure he read the darn thing. It was probably just one more thing to check off of a checklist.

Anyways, blogging felt like it was right because it would be public, yet no one would read it. In February, that not only didn’t bother me, but I thought that was great! By May, I felt like I was a crazy person talking to herself, but in February, it helped to be able to put myself into my writing. For me, that seemed almost an anomaly, since I had trouble putting me into my face to face dealings with other people.

My daddy was raised in Communist Hungary. Being “transparent” is what made him have to leave his home in the middle of the night and become a refugee in Austria. I was raised to ignore my natural tendency to be open, and to try to guard my most basic thoughts. I don’t resent daddy for that. Don’t you try to protect your kids from doing things that ended up hurting you? My daddy really believed that one day I might share something the government considered a dangerous thought, and I would have to flee to Mexico (I don’t know why not Canada, since most of it speaks English) and learn a new language, culture, etc just as he did. Add to that some very negative experiences in grammar school and high school, and I turned into a very quiet person. I don’t think that is who I was created by God to be, but it is how I became formed outside the womb…

So it takes me a very long time to open up to people. In fact, most of the time it has taken years. It took about ten years to share my humor with my coworkers at my old school. Funny thing, not so much with the children (or with Bob when I met him. Either he is like a child, or I was trying to annoy him with my me-ness when we met. You’ll have to come to Random Musings to find out which it is. Hint: type “nun” in the search box) . Everyone said that it was weird that my personality with the children was open and friendly, and with adults was not. I told people I was shy. I think I myself believed that that is what it was. Yet, I tried to be friendly and welcoming to new people. My personality tried to peak through. Sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.

Blogging has been great. The anonymity I started with helped me to be open. I wasn’t really worried that the government was going to care about whether I preferred Carrie Ann to Bruno, or enjoyed Mamma Mia. Actually, I never worried about the same stuff my daddy did. I started out just trying to be guarded to please him, and then I guess it became a habit.

My first commenter never came back, but Katdish commented the very next day. It felt good to not be talking to myself anymore. I didn’t change anything to the blog on her account.. She seemed to like me and my blog as is. Even if she didn’t, well, what could I do?

Gradually I met more people through SCL, Katdish, and Sister Mary Martha (she has a Catholic blog. That’s were Pip and I met.) Sherri, with all her writing about transparency, challenged me to put the openness I was learning in the blogging community to everyday life. Some of you know how my Church’s deacon commented (at least four times! Get over it, Deacon!) how standoffish I seemed the first few times we met, yet that’s not me at all.

I found myself in situations reminding myself that Katdish, Sherri, Beth, Annie, Candy, Steph and Mary Ann like me even though they know me. And if I am not in trouble sharing with the government for sharing my thoughts on Blagojevich over the cyber waves, it’s not like telling my husband’s cousins or my Sunday School colleagues what I think is going to get me deported. And if it does, my husband has suggested we seek refuge in Belize. They speak English there, and language learning is at least half the battle for a refugee.

Katdish, I don’t find you in the least obnoxious. Because you are you, I feel more freer to be me everywhere than I ever was.

For more of my dear friend Helen's random musings check out her blog, aptly titled: Random Musings

13 comments:

Stacey said...

This is great, Helen! I love posts that help me get to know people in a more personal way. I'm glad you came around to finding your voice and being you!

Nick the Geek said...

I noticed that you don't seem to think I like you ... that's ok though I got a great big Monkey butt heart for you. Now where did I leave it?

katdish said...

If I have encouraged you in any way to be more like you, then I'm so happy to have been of service. My world would not be as bright without you in it.

Billy Coffey said...

That was awesome, Helen. As a recovering shy and withdrawn person, I salute you.

I'm glad you found people like katdish. She's been good for you. And I can't believe I actually said that.

Carol @SheLives said...

Belize is gorgeous! I have no idea whether they have high speed wifi in their coffee shops, though. Let's go check it out!!

(p.s. So glad to know you better through this post!)

Marni said...

I've been needing to seek asylum from these people who call me "mom" and keep bringing me their dirty clothes and math homework. Like I signed on for that business when the hubs and I had that second bottle of Shiraz...

At any rate, if you're skipping the country, Belize is a great place to hide out. I'll meet you there as soon as I can locate my passport among the High School Musical CD's, softball gear, and 6.2 bazillion pony-tail holders...

Nick the Geek said...

Marni,

They should be called bunny tail holders since they seem to multiply like rabbits ... and they hide whenever you need one. Cleaning up they are everywhere 5 minutes till it's time to leave and your 5 year old absolutely must have her hair in a braid for school and not a single one to be found.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Helen,

Thank you for letting us into even more of your thoughts and feelings. I think you have a beautiful "voice." (But you already knew that.)

Always fascinating to see what experiences our parents dealt with that led them to raise us the way they did.

I pink fluffy heart you. (Just in case you're tired of monkey butts)

sherri said...

Helen- surely by now you've noticed- you've easily become everyone's #1 favorite bloggity pal! You top the list of all of us!

All I can say is I hope you never hold back in the "real world" because you would be depriving others of a true gift of God...You. In all your glory!
I love you like a pair of 7 inch shiny stilettos1

jasonS said...

Though the details are totally different, I feel we've experienced many similar things. I've been very shy and reserved, but then I don't feel that's who I really am. Blogging has left me more open to being me, vocalizing it at least.

Loved this post- nice insight into Helen!

katdish said...

I really feel I must interrupt this little love fest to say that while Helen is undoubtably frigintastic, lest we not forget who is the radiant glowing sun from which all bloggity goodness emits from. I'm not naming names, but that would be me.
(snort!)

Beth said...

Yay for Helen! Yay for Katdish! Rah, rah, rah! Yay for blogging! Yay for crawfish! Rah, rah, rah!

Okay, maybe I could have rhymed something better than Katdish and crawfish, but that's all I got right now...

Bradley J Moore said...

Helen, Helen, Helen. Why have we not met before? Yes, transparency is GOOD. I have been told that I am too transparent. Can that be possible? I just get tired of all the posturing that goes on, especially among Christians. It gets to stale and collosally boring. Oh well. What was I saying? Oh yes, Blogging is such a great way to journal and process our life, and just maybe, share a connection with someone else. Thanks for sharing!