Can you guess what it is?
Four little letters that were very intentionally placed at the top of everything from the beginning as I know well the temptations of both full on embellishment to the point of fiction and conspicuous avoidance of encompassing events I would rather not address. Now while I don't want to create a random stream of consciousness common glut for absolutely anything that crosses my mind, nor do I want to bog readers down in thorough and detailed public confession, there are topics that have been highly influential in my present day life that I have been extremely hesitant to pen (or type) that an altogether true story would not neglect.
I had a theory at one time about how to engender trust in other people - reveal something that appears to be very deep and private about yourself, and they will prize your openness with reciprocity. Information with high shock value or general social discomfort worked best, but required a degree of callous to form over my genuine feelings in that area, and I then further hid the depth and width of what I was really experiencing. This was a distorted protection method that I had developed, after being very much hurt from true revelation left in the hands of unkind or immature people, however it proved to be highly effective provided I could keep the social net wide and some semblance of control in other life areas.
But then I became a wife, and later a mother, and the inherent fissures of partial truths do not age well in the environments of long term relationship and life stress. Things that I had never even considered becoming difficult did, and my perceived ability to control things seemed to be slipping. I wanted to hold on to an idea of myself that became equally imagined - how I "had been", and what vast wells of potential were in my personal possession prior to this or that change of events. Thankfully I grew, matured, learned giant life lessons in surrender and love straight from God Himself, but still clung to the desire for someone out there to remember me as everything I ever was or thought I would become.
There were three specific areas in particular that seemed to surface, in which I wanted to steer clear of admission. The first one was my marriage. While there is wisdom in choosing not to publicly air every issue and complaint with your spouse, I felt so much consistent pain and confusion surrounding that relationship and I chose for the most part to hold everything in. Very few friends had any idea of the depth of our struggles, and we both were miserable. The last line of my post on our 11th anniversary was what I wanted to say and feel, or maybe believed I "should" be feeling, but even as the letters left my fingers it felt excruciatingly untrue. So I decided to wait and write again when I would in truth. I had no idea at the time what all that truth would even entail, but miraculously through my husband's leadership by humble admission of his struggles, a renewed understanding of genuine intimacy, some serious twelve step work and commitment on the part of both of us, and the all encompassing transformative Grace of God we today stand together a new creation. And I will likely share much more of that in things yet to come.
The second thing, which on reflection is kind of silly but is on my previously unmentionable list nonetheless, is that we homeschool. I never, ever, envisioned myself being a homeschool mom. I saw myself solidly as a business professional, and anything otherwise felt sidetracked. I wanted to wait to have kids, loved the achievement and gain of progressing through positions and companies, and was completely stunned by the turns of events that motherhood introduced. I was nearly as stunned at the introduction of the idea of homeschooling - thinking largely of how "they" are weird, unsocialized and wear denim jumpers. And that was exactly what God was clearly and without question calling us to do. So I did it, but only talked about it in homeschooling circles. I started a large support group (for socialization?) and learned that, at least in our beachy corner of SoCal, there aren't that many denim jumpers and that "their" weird matches mine pretty well. But still, I wanted to keep it on the DL so that we were never assumed to have those same characteristics, or for anyone to misconstrue why we made that choice for our family. (We do not believe it is the "only Christian" or "right" way of educating.) But homeschool we do, and that will weave its way into the Bedlam's future as well.
Third and finally, and most currently painfully, is my ongoing struggle with weight. Clearly, this is not anything newsworthy or hidden from anyone I come into contact with in person, but I wanted so much to appear only the most lovely online. I have repeatedly begged God to simply make it all go away, pleading with Him that it was entirely unfair in the way it got out of hand (extreme illness/hospitalization with both pregnancies) that I literally got up and saw a completely different person in the mirror one day. But He has lovingly responded that no, this is something that I will have to WORK through to change, that there will be great blessing in the end...and that I am to write about it. If there is anything tangible that the last two years of work and growth have instilled in our family is the change that can come through obedience. And I have hesitated to obey.
So, going forward, I am going to update weekly with true transparency the transpirings of our Splendid Bedlam. Including, especially for now, the weight-y parts that I have so vehemently resisted. It is my hope that there may be at some time even one person who is helped, who may see a mirror of their story in ours and ultimately in that gain hope for what change can come.