Crafting the story…

I have loved blogging this past month.  Its been fun to remember all the crazy things that have happened in my life.  It also has been fun to hear from a lot of people who read the blog, bringing up times when our lives intersected – couldn’t I write about “the time I dropped bombs in front of my sister and her friend” or the time we set the NHS parking lot on fire, or all the people who mentioned me hijacking their phones/computers and sending the message “I am in my underpants”.  Given time, I hope to tell many of these stories (although some of the best will need to stay under wraps until I can figure out a way to block all my in-laws from reading ;) )
One of the surprising things I’ve discovered about writing the blog is the pressure that surrounds it.  Now, I recognize that most of this pressure is self imposed, but it is there nonetheless.  How often should I post?  How much should I reveal?  Should I change my style a bit to be more traditional?  Should I tell this story at all?  Will this offend someone?  Should I post this late at night?  Will anyone see this?  Will anyone care about my grandpa/that I’m a teacher/that I threw down on Black Friday?
As mentioned, I’ve gotten a host of requests at this point as well, which I love, but also make me feel a bit of pressure.  Including what I had already thought of on my own, and these other requests, I’ve got a whopping list of tales I can regale everyone with over the course of the life of the blog.  I’m excited to share, but there has been something gnawing at the back of my brain as I write these blogs; something that won’t allow me to rest well at night.
Is my story good enough?
No, I’m not talking about the writing style of my blog.  I fully recognize that my “conversational” style of writing is not what you might learn in an English class (as some of my English teaching buddies can surely confirm).  I’m talking about my life – the Story.  I mean, based on your feedback, its entertaining, with just enough poignant moments to make it seem worth reading the few thousand words I churn out every few days.  But I find myself wondering about the pages yet to be written, and how the story so far will shape that which is to come.
If you’re reading this, you probably have read some of the other blogs, and you know I am speaking from the heart.    I want my story to be one of the classics.  But in all honesty, I think I need to live my life with a little more intentionality for that to happen.  I need to take the pen and make the ink flow.
When I was in my “business” life, I used to read self-help books all the time.  This was so I could learn to be more “highly effective” (isn’t it ironic, teacher buddies?) or make choices like a “rich dad” (who, it turns out, is a fictional character – who knew?).  These books never stuck back in the day, mostly because I didn’t love my own Story.  In fact, much of the time I hated my story… which is truly sad, because the characters and the setting and the plot were frequently fantastic.  But the problem was ME – I didn’t want to be in that story.
Now I’m in a Story I love.  When I graduated from high school in June of 1996, there were two things I wanted to be: a teacher, and a writer. It took me 15 years to accomplish the first.  I’m just now setting out on the journey of trying to accomplish the second.  Its going to take a while to get there, but that is a Story worth living, no?  Accomplishing the two things in life I am most passionate about?  Not many people seize those opportunities.  Now, I know without a doubt that I have a LONG way to go to be great at both, but I have repositioned my life so I can make a run at it.  It feels awesome to love the direction of my life everyday.
It is the passion I feel for my life now that creates need to pull the pieces of my life back together – I need to do many of the things the self-help books told me to do so long ago.  More specifically, I need to work on my own Story.  Moments like Daddy Daughter Day don’t happen all the time, but they should happen way more often than they do.So, in looking at my own tale, here are some things I’m hoping to work on in the coming days/weeks/months/years/decades:
My health – Here’s the thing.  I can’t write a good story if I am dead.  No, really, I can’t.  I know there’s this whole infatuation with Zombies these days, but when you’re dead in real life, you don’t come back, and you especially don’t come back and tell stories.  I’m 34 years old and the best way to describe my health is: crappy.  Technically, I’m obese (BMI of 31).  My knees and back hurt all the freakin’ time.  I’m an insomniac (as I write this at 1:07 am).   I’m fairly certain my blood is at least part Mt. Dew.  Vegetables are basically unknown in my diet.  I’m gonna die early if I don’t do something.  I mean, besides the proctologist trip in my 20′s, I’ve been in the hospital multiple times with chest pains, and I have a new knee that I didn’t rehab appropriately.  People often acted confused when I say how bad off I am, but I assure you – my health is horrible.  So, I’m going to do something – because the Story must go on for it to be worth reading.  (Please note: I’m not saying I’m giving up Mt. Dew.  Not yet, at least.  Oh, my sweet Mt. Dew…)
Religion – So, my relationship with organized religion has not been the best over the past few years.  While I’m sure I’m not hellbound, as a certain Mr. V. theBaptist claims, a bunch of stuff happened that has shaken my beliefs about how Christianity works. In fact, this very weekend marks three years since I was attacked with a garbage can at church, though it was somehow “my fault” that I was attacked… I’m not going to get into everything that happened, because frankly, it caused a lot of pain for a lot of people, and most everyone has moved on in some capacity or another. But for me, it’s an open sore that can’t seem to heal.  It happened right at the time in my life that I needed my church the most, and that area of my life crumbled.  Now some would point out, and rightly so, that my relationship with God should transcend church politics, but I guess I haven’t been mature enough to do that. The problem is that my family has struggled and I have struggled mightily in the spiritual side of my life.  This is an area that indefinitely need to rectify if I am to live the type of Story I want to live…
Friendships – This area of my life might be the worst.  Over the course of the last decade, I let almost all of my friendships fall by the wayside.  Luckily, my buds Chad and Dave have stuck around for almost 25 years, but the quality and quantity of my friendships has dwindled.  Some friends I pushed away, others I hurt, and still others just fell away from lack of tending the relationship.  Over the course of the last 2 years, I have attempted to break out of the hardened shell I had created around myself, but it has been hard to be who I used to be, and even harder to figure out who I am now.  The pattern from my youth persists – shy at first, then the funny guy who tries to keep everyone at arm’s length for fear of getting hurt.  Oh, I’ve made plenty of humorous (or at least attempts at humor) status updates, but I have always tried to keep myself away from real relationships.   I’m attempting to tear down those walls… I even received this fortune at P.F. Chang’s last night, which seems promising:
I have a feeling the quality of my story will directly correlate to the quality of my friendships – and I am I am trying to open myself to that fact.
Family –  My parents.  My sister and her husband.  My grandma.  My aunts and uncles.  My cousins.  My nieces and nephews.  They deserve more love and affection from me.
My in-laws (except for Virgie – I’M KIDDING!!!  You’re okay too, Christy Virginia!)  They are great people, and they deserve a better son/brother-in-law.
My kids – they deserve a way better dad, who ALWAYS puts them first and takes the time to make them know they are loved.
My wife – she deserves a husband.  A real husband.  Someone she can count on, not a whisper in the house that she occasionally thinks she hears.
My Story starts with family.  It ends with family.  This part of my tale has to feature the very best writing, or my will be Story an abject failure.
Now I know there will be plenty more to work on as I continue to write this story, but I think I have some ambitious starting points for crafting the rest of the my life. Remember – we have the choice to write our own Story, or allow the world to dictate our tale.  I’m taking control of making my life better – what it needs to be. I want to wield the pen in the creation of my life.  I don’t know what words will flow from the pen, but at least it will be in my hand again…  that’s a feeling I’ve missed for far too long.
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One Response to Crafting the story…

  1. J. Larson says:

    Just have to say you, your story is more than enough!!! There is only so much time in a day; don’t put too much pressure on yourself..You do plenty; just the moment. Think it was Dorothy Parker who said: “I hate writing; I love having written”. I know you don’t hate writing, but creative people tend to make tough demands of themselves. Go easy on yourself, as you let those words flow! BTW, I’m telling myself this too;).

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