That I would be good

I have been thinking about starting this blog for a while.  It feels overwhelming and liberating all at the same time.  I’ve loved writing since I learned what poetry was.  My first published work was a book I wrote and illustrated in first grade called “The Elves.”  (Stay tuned and maybe I’ll track it down and share it with you some day! Pretty freaking amazing.)  I love the power of language.  And so I have selected this medium to return to my roots and to look for myself.

I thought it might be fitting for my first post to explain how I came up with the title for my blog.  If you are an Alanis Morrissette fan like me, you probably remember a particularly sweet track on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie called, “That I Would Be Good.”  This song was a favorite of mine back when it was released in 1998, but I feel like I’ve grown into it now.  I remember driving my red Saturn to my sister’s apartment down State Street in Provo, Utah, listening to this CD.  I had recently been diagnosed with cancer and given a prognosis of living only five years.  This song came on and it felt like she was voicing my literal fears: “That I would be good if I got and stayed sick…. Even if I gained ten pounds…. Even if I went bankrupt…. If I lost my hair and my youth.”  I wanted reassurance that I was ok, that I was good, that I was loved in spite of, or maybe even because of these things.  And I absolutely did not know where to get that.

I put the song away and it resurfaced for me occasionally, usually bringing up the memory of that short car ride.  Until this year I brought Alanis back to my regular listening queue.  Her music is like a familiar blanket.  The lyrics are still woven into my mind from years ago.  And I have learned to appreciate them on a new level again.  “That I Would Be Good” is about trusting in the innate and unchangeable divinity within me while acknowledging my own fallibility.  It is about internalizing that it is beyond my ability to alter God’s love for me.  That the goodness that he put in me will always be there.

So you’ve probably noticed that I swapped out the word good for the word free.  It’s just because the domain name was available! Ha! No, but seriously…I have been soaking up every bit of information I can about how to better understand and communicate with this inner part of myself (aka my higher self, still small voice, etc).  Elizabeth Gilbert did a podcast called Magic Lessons a while back and I heard an episode where she interviewed Glennon Doyle.  (The whole podcast was AMAZING–look it up!)  They were discussing a John Steinbeck quote: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”  Elizabeth said she heard Kristen Bell (not the one from Frozen) further evolve that to be, “Now that you don’t have to be good, you can be free.”  That spoke to my heart.  So much of my life has felt like a cage.  More than anything, I want to be free.  This is my quest: to learn what freedom is for me and to be free to be my most authentic version of myself.

I have two goals for this blog as I attempt to share this struggle with the world. The first is simply to be honest.  To tell the truth.  To bear witness to my experience.  The second is to hear the echo of my own voice, letting me know that I exist.  I want to be known, mostly to myself. I believe that if I can do these two things, then it might be of value to other women who are searching for the same things in themselves. So thank you for your patience with the mess.  I’m definitely under construction.

“We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love.”  — Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior