Another aspect of my personality that I’m learning to embrace is my need to write in order to make sense of things- the world around me, my feelings, my story, my faith, etc. For so long, I’ve felt inferior to those who are able to speak their minds both eloquently and immediately, whereas I feel like I needed time to process and formulate my thoughts. I’ve convinced myself that I am less genuine because I write things out instead of saying them face to face. Sometimes that’s true, but not always.
Sometimes writing is a way of chickening out. Other times, it’s a way to fully express what I’m thinking and feeling.
Sometimes writing is a way of editing my true feelings. Other times, it’s a way to uncover what those true feelings are.
My mom was good with words in much the same way. While she had a hard time even saying the words “I love you” to me, I have letters she wrote to me on my graduation day and my wedding day. In those letters, she expresses her love, pride, and joy in ways she never did to my face. It’s taken a lot of time to appreciate them for what they are. I wish I had memories of her pouring out her love to me in daily affirmations and in three simple words, but I’m thankful for the letters and cards I have. I’m thankful for the emails. I’m thankful for the memories of the weekly phone calls we shared while I lived in Kansas City. We talked more about OU football than how much we missed each other, but that’s okay. More than anything, I’m thankful for the grace and perspective of my own motherhood, which encourages me to realize that my mother was an imperfect person with a story all her own that affected every single aspect of who she was and how she expressed her love and affection to me. I could live the rest of my life with bitterness that she never said it enough or said it in the right way or at the right time. It’s not worth it.
With my own children, I probably tend to over-do it, if that’s even possible. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t spontaneously tell them how much I love them. My younger son does it to me, and it touches an empty place deep inside of me. He is generous with his affection. He pushes the limit on my hugs and kisses threshold sometimes. That’s not surprising- he scores pretty high on the physical touch Love Language. My mom was a gift-giver. I am 100% words of affirmation. Knowing these things doesn’t excuse anything, it doesn’t discount anything, it doesn’t make anything perfect, it doesn’t even make loving others any easier. But it helps me understand myself and my people more fully.
And that’s exactly what writing does for me, too.