Intersecting Identities

I’ve not been particularly inspired as of late. I’ve been bogged down, busy, overwhelmed I suppose. Flickers of light come from time to time but my mind wanders on to the next pressing thing. In the past I’ve written about my restlessness more often than not; my tepid desire to grow roots often consumed by my thirst for the nontraditional. Lately, though, I’ve settled into a sort of survival routine. It’s been quiet and antiquated and satisfying.

I’ve stood idly by as the events in my history books unfold in real time before me. I’ve watched quietly from behind a screen as my country’s culture has shifted from at least the illusion of progress and hope to the very picture of hatred and fear.

I’ve said for most of my life that I exist in the space between sides. I know a thing or two about extremism; it’s the way my heart is hardwired. I’ve called myself a walking oxymoron. I’ve labeled myself over and over again, desperate to package myself in a way that others can understand. “I’m a Christian,” I say, as if that tells the whole story. “I’m a liberal,” I say, as if to explain away my entire belief system. “I’m a feminist. I’m a student. I’m a writer, a musician, a daughter, friend, fighter…” There is no word, no set of letters strung eloquently together, that can present me in a way that is somehow two-dimensional.

I’ve long believed in “all or nothing” belief systems. I’ve been hit over the head with the notion that you can’t cherry pick your beliefs, you can’t agree with one faction of a theory and disagree with another. But I’m here because the long-searched for truth that I’ve finally come to accept is that dichotomies exist within all of us and they don’t have to oppose one another but can live harmoniously and incite abundance. We live in a world bursting with color – why should we believe that we are somehow the exceptions, bound to live in black and white?

I’m here because I’ve seen a lot of hurt. I’ve felt a lot of hurt. I’ve been criticized by those on every side of every impassioned debate. I’m not Christian enough. I’m not active enough in my political party. I’m not whatever enough to pass archaic cultural tests that have somehow come to define us. But I am enough, in my rawest and realest form, I am exactly enough. To believe otherwise is to disregard the intention with which God has – since before the creation of the moon and the stars – dreamed me up. Does this sound familiar to you?

I recently took a hiatus from social media because I was overwhelmed with contrasting subliminal messaging. We are so bombarded every day and in every medium with rules and regulations for every microcosm of life. How could anyone not be confused? The shows we put on, the inauthentic selves we become for our screens, have become our realities. It’s understandable, really, when we look at the state of the world. I think – I know – we are all just trying our best. Trying to be loved, trying to make an impact, trying to abide by whatever set of rules govern our collective existence.

I’ve wondered for a long time now what my mark will be. Recently, I’ve meditated on what acts of mine have had substantial impact – whether good or bad – on the world around me. I’ve combed through old journals and revisited letters from loved ones, searching for the answer to the question that’s been prevalent in my mind: how can I affect change? What gifts has God equipped me with to better this world?

The answer I’ve found over and over and over again is words. My words are my weapon, my impact, my soul in tangible form.

So here exists a place where I vow to use my words for good. A place where Christianity and liberalism intersect, where my struggles are penned openly and honestly, a place where you too can explore those different magics that comprise you. I challenge you to question with what gifts you’ve been equipped. I challenge you to wonder; wonder what could be your impact. Ask your loved ones how you’ve changed them – believe me, you’ve changed them. Ask God to call up memories of times you were acting in your destiny. Let’s do this together – messily and marvelously – let’s explore together all that we are.