Out of the Mold

Pessimism seems to be my boon companion these days. I am afraid and yet I am eager, anxious to get into the middle of it—make a success of it—or become resigned to my failure.
— Flannery O'Connor, January 31st, 1944

This is most likely more of a confessional than an actual helpful post, although I am certain that I am not alone. As I continue to grow and just get older, I am acutely aware of the constant areas in which I don’t fit. All of my life, it has seemed that there is a certain mold that is necessary to squeeze into in order to be acceptable, to be accepted. Even among people who feel those same thoughts, I am not like them either, my writing unknown and grammar poor, stumbling about to even find my own voice amidst the cacophony of words that I read because I just can’t get enough. I’d almost prefer to find a place among the many cookie-cutter shapes, promising even slight certainty but devoid of true peace.

This is not a plea for pity, for sympathy. This is that heartened confessional, the cry of many who lose limbs, pieces of themselves that they so desperately are looking to have back, because the extra-biblical rules that we place upon many in order to make things a bit more simple can not contain the complexity of who God created us to be. We are human, and that is plenty complicated.

I am too loud and silly to be considered a follower of the biblical womanhood I’ve been taught my whole life, too unaware of the big words I love and use too often as well as too unrelatable to the many I am desperate to serve, and yet the “toos” are lies of satan that have spoken through real human voices using the kryptonite of the half truth. Why are we servants to false dichotomy? I am certain I am not alone.

Laying in bed, too late at night for intelligent conversation, or maybe the perfect time, sharing with my husband who feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere, that maybe this whole “fitting in” thing is a construct that was created and then bowed down to with our demise in mind; after all, don’t we all just long to belong? I’m beginning to finally believe in the type of belonging that doesn’t simply pigeonhole people into their roles, but to see them as whole. As we are drawn into the water, lifted back up again, we are bound and baptized into a new blood that seeps into our veins, thankfully, ever so slowly into stone hearts. Surely, the scales must fall off our eyes to see beyond the boxes, beyond the stereotypes, into a family that goes beyond what we thought possible.

This is not a piece in finding myself, but this is a short confession that has turned into praise. We are made for relationship, for connection, to be known. As it may seem that I can’t quite find a particular label to plop on me that defines me as a whole, I do know that the Spirit as seal has sang over me the words, “child of God,” the most broad and simultaneously pin-needle narrow path there is. He won’t leave me where I am at, new family as iron sharpens iron to not chisel off limbs but redemptive sandpaper for what I have always hoped to be refined. The gospel has no lack, and for the odd-one-out, this is good news.

Going to confession is hard. Writing a book is hard, because you are ‘giving yourself away.’ But if you love, you want to give yourself. You write as you are impelled to write, about man and his problems, his relation to God and his fellows. You write about yourself because in the long run all man’s problems are the same, his human needs of sustenance and love.
— Flannery O'Connor