My parents recently dropped off a huge bin at my house, busting at the seams with pretty much every single valentine, poem, class assignment, note, and trophy I accumulated from my birth until the day I moved out of our family home. Spelling Bee award? Check. Outstanding Vice President at the Sectional FFA Parliamentary Procedure contest plaque? Check. Research paper on teen pregnancy, quoting both Kirk Cameron and Amy Grant? Also check. And the Taco Bell employee handbook? Yep, that's in there too.
I've been feeling rather nostalgic sifting through my old letters and cards and certificates and ribbons--artifacts from a past that feels much farther away than it actually is. (Funny how seven kids will do that to you!)
One thing I'm surprised to be discovering is that I'm more or less the same person that I was in second grade...eighth grade...high school! Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but people? I've always been a bit of a nerd. I've never been an athlete. I even tried out for the cheerleading squad freshman year, and didn't make it. The truth is that I did a lot of public speaking and debate and writing in high school. And aside from awards I earned showing dairy cattle, pigs and sheep through 4-H and FFA (don't judge, it was awesome!), all my trophies and certificates come from the public speaking, assorted academic achievements, and my writing.
It's interesting because once I started college, I took a little detour from the things I loved. Life was far too busy to read or write for pleasure. I did wind up getting a job for a legislator where I did some public speaking, but other than that, I was simply immersed in the daily grind of school and work and church activities. Looking back I kind of wish I'd taken the time to pursue a creative outlet, but what would that have even been?
What a gift it was to get married (at the ripe old age of 20) and have some good old-fashioned time on my hands. I believe this is when I began the slow, messy process of rediscovering what I like to do and what my gifts truly are. Of course some of that time has been spent on the rabbit trail of attempting to squeeze myself into a mold where I really don't fit.
Like, you know, the day I bought a sewing machine. On which I've sewn a grand total of five things in seven years.
Those were some expensive baby blankets and pillows.
But you know what has really stood the test of time for me? The one creative outlet that has not only emerged but also proved itself sustainable?
Writing. Blogging. And ironically it's not the thing I would have chosen, not in a million years--I don't even usually tell people I have a blog. See I always kind of wished I was good at the sewing thing, or at decorating, or at quilting or painting or playing an instrument or styling hair. But alas, those things just aren't me. I don't even like to do them. So I'll leave those hobbies to the people who actually do them well.
And instead, maybe I'll start embracing my inner-nerd and, you know, actually accept the fact that the things that energize me and bring me joy are, simply, reading and writing. (And thrifting. But more on that another time.) It's not fancy and certainly not very exciting. But, it's me. And it kind of always has been. Because while I wasn't all cool and hip in junior high and high school, oh my goodness, I had a ton of fun. I got to travel and compete and I loved me a good spelling bee or discussion meet contest. And I had a lot of friends who enjoyed the same stuff and, quite frankly, we had us a blast.
Now of course I'm a wife and a mama and no, I don't really think there's any viable way to leverage my spelling prowess into a hobby. (Not that I'd want to. Oh okay, maybe I want to a little bit.) BUT, I've somehow fallen back in love with the written word, and I'm deciding here and now to just roll with it.
Which means I'm happy to admit to you that I spent my Tuesday evening engrossed in John Henry Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua. And that I loved every minute of it.
I'm happy to admit that I spend a lot of time on this here blog, and on other peoples' blogs.
I'm happy to admit some of my bestest in-real-life friends are people I met through this here blog, and on other peoples' blogs.
See, reading and writing are fun for me! I loved them as a child, and as a teenager, and yet somehow I showed up to adulthood believing I didn't have a hobby or creative outlet.
Even though I did--it's just that it qualifies me for some sort of Nerdy Introversion award.
But that's totally okay.
Remember my Kirk Cameron and Amy Grant abstinence quotes, and my Taco Bell employee handbook?
I've always been a nerd.
(And I feel the need to address the amusing irony of quoting Amy Grant about "abstinence" in the first place--what with her switching husbands and the like. But I don't think Vince Gill had happened yet, so I won't take responsibility for my paper being a scandal.)
All of this to say...
Embrace who you are.
Do what you love.
Don't buy an expensive sewing machine.
Now I do think everyone has the potential to be a lifelong learner, and it's fun to experiment with fresh things and discover new talents and hobbies. But, sometimes it's also important to consider what you've always naturally gravitated towards, and pursue that.
Because God has gifted each and every one of us with some type of unique talent or ability and each of them is useful in some way. And He wants us to hone what He's given us to build others up and to proclaim beauty and truth in the now. I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste any more time trying to snag someone else's gift, in the name of greener grass or of being cool and fitting in, when I have a perfectly wonderful gift of my own.
I'm so over that.
So allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Brianna, and I like to read, and I like to blog. (And I worked at Taco Bell for three months in high school to earn money to attend the National Future Farmers of America Convention.)
What do you like to do?