intentionally unimpressive

I host a public radio show. In that role, I juggle various expectations, one of which is to not “have an opinion.” I am a Journalist. Impartial. Serious. Trying-to-be-polished. 

I love my job. Even so, I find that over the years a certain part of me has begun to loosen and slip away. Passionate. Joyful. Artistic. 

I don’t write personal essays or stories much anymore, and when I do they tend to hesitate, buttoning themselves into tidy little envelopes so as not to offend or challenge or distress. My job is to help other people tell their stories. I have forgotten how to tell my own. 

I tell my daughter to be thoughtful about the vocation she chooses as she makes her way into the world. Every job will change you, I remind her. Choose one that changes you in a direction you want to be transformed. 

My job has made me calmer and more thoughtful. I’m a better listener to every voice, except perhaps my own. I’m a faster worker and more skeptical. I’m more careful with my words. Some of this is good, some of this is soul-draining. The worst part, by far, is that I am less wild. I used to spend most of my days in some sort of creative wilderness —even writing that now makes me cringe. What will people think of such a foolish statement?  

But it is my truth. I wandered in the world far more often. Libraries. Bookstores. Trails. I took my notebook with me and plopped myself onto blankets beside rivers. I waded into streams and stepped over piles of books to climb into bed and write in my pajamas. On a Tuesday. 

I didn’t care what anyone thought. I had opinions then, yes dozens of them: The moon is glorious. Ice cream is divine. Rain is sacred. 

Earlier this week, I interviewed a pastor for our little radio broadcast. He came here from somewhere and he came to plant a church. The church didn’t grow exactly like he expected it to. He followed the directions on the seed packet only to find something else blossoming. No matter. When he saw it wasn’t working, he simply changed his mind about what he had set out to do. 

Now, on Sunday mornings, we are “intentionally unimpressive,” he told me.

And so I have changed my mind about what I have set out to do. As it turns out, I’d like to have a little more fun. 

The blog lotus & rabbit started, for me, as a online sanctuary. Now I just want a place to goof off with words and sometimes with images. Every time I post something here, I reclaim that digital-room-of-my-own. I now allow myself to be unpolished, unedited, uncensored. If you’ve found this post, you must have, at some point, made an effort to get here. And so I hope you too have found a place you can be yourself.

How is your job/career/vocation changing you? Which part of your personal wildness do you want to reclaim? 

Maybe we can be intentionally unimpressive together. 

 

Comments

  1. I LOVE this post. For me, being wild is having unstructured time when I can do whatever-it-is I want to do at the moment. That is the biggest luxury I can think of. I feel so free when I have time like this.

    However, my jobs and personality lead me to over-schedule myself. Most days, every hour is accounted for and has a designated purpose. When my days get like this too much, it gets depressing.

    But your post is a good reminder to me the importance of giving myself time to be free. Just reading that last sentence makes me feel lighter and happier. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This really made me think. I love it!
    Two things happened to me. I’ve been a freelance writer my whole life. I wrote, wrote and wrote my way into bigger publications until a couple years ago when I hit my top. Delta Sky Magazine published my article – 5.2 million readers. It’s as high as I could go – literally and figuratively. Then, I just stopped. Some 30 years of freelance writing and I was just done.
    Now I have the itch every now and then, but I’m in a new career. I work with college professors at a university. They’re “real” writers. They are the people I wanted to be. They write the books I read. They are the real deal. And now, I feel like I”m back in 1980-something,, having major anxiety over what the teachers will think of me. I mean, I’m scared of them.
    So, writing went from being second nature, dare-say easy for me, to being all out anxiety ridden thoughts that never get action. I get excited when someone tells me I wrote a great email.
    So, where does this old writer go now? Back to the beginning?

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