Archive for The Reality Project

TRP- A Big Announcement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 6, 2009 by Whit.

Okay… so sorry, no post yesterday. (I do hope you enjoyed my venture into Not Me! Monday- I think it might become a regular event around here.) On Tuesdays, I usually write my post for Mama Speaks, and that takes up the majority of my writing time.

So today… I have an announcement to make, and you’re going to have to wait until I get this all out on paper computer screen before you get to it. So put on your mud boots and wade through some of this with me.

In my first “The Reality Project” post, I deleted a paragraph… mostly because I knew this post was coming and I thought it would fit better here. I was talking about hiding our failures… more specifically, not filling in all the blanks on facebook. I’ve learned that if you don’t fill in all the blanks, people just start to assume. We’ll get to that in a minute.

When I graduated high school, I walked into a fantastic opportunity. I had a free ride through college. My dad was (and is) on staff at Berry College- one of the most beautiful places in the world and I had a decent ACT score. College was not going to cost me one. single. dime. thanks to dependent tuition remission and a modest academic scholarship. When I got to Berry, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I took the entire opportunity for granted. God placed the entire world in my lap and I lollygagged and changed my major something like 4 different times. After two years of indecision, I dropped out.

The only thing I did know at the time, was that I was tired of being bounced around between my parents and that I wanted a life of my own. I wanted to stand on my own two feet, so I got a real job (making VERY little) and pretty much told my husband to propose to me. Six months later, we were married. A year later, we were pregnant.  Welcome to adulthood.

Back to the facebook thing, I’m sure that if you ask anybody I went to high school with- there would be no question that I have a degree of some form or fashion. I was always a “good” kid who made decent grades. I stayed on the high side of mediocrity. Since I dropped out of school, I’ve never filled in those blanks… When most of my friends were graduating, I was in labor. Ever since then, I’ve felt inadequate. For crying out loud, some of my classmates are doctors now! I guess it is some consolation that when they’re 35 and leaving a restaurant with a crying infant I’ll have a 13 year old and a 10 year old… 

Well, I tried to go back to school after Jack was a year old, but there was a major setback… I don’t think I was really committed. I went to a community college for a semester and all I have to show for it is $3000 in student loans. Now that I know that my identity isn’t wrapped up in whatever degree I don’t have… now that I don’t feel quite so inadequate… now that my heart has been forever changed…

I’m going back to school and I start in 3 weeks and I am SO excited.

(And I’m going to go fill in those blanks now… I’m just not sure if I’m strong enough to publish it to the news feed…)

Don’t worry- I’ll share more details later, mmmkay?

TRP- Church

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 1, 2009 by Whit.

My relationship with Christ began when I was 12 years old. I went to church when I was a little kid- but that’s all it was… going to church. The church of my early youth was the pew-typical Southern Baptist church with hymns and the non-existent 3rd verse. I had to wear dresses. We made leather embossed leather key chains and paperweights for our parents at vacation bible school, and there was always an Easter egg hunt.

Sometime after my parents divorced and we moved, we stopped going. I don’t know why specifically… We visited different churches sporadically, but that was really all there was to it. Then, around the 5th grade, I made friends with a really neat girl, Katie (who surprisingly was part of the “bad kids”), who I spent the night with on Saturday nights sometimes. She went to this really big church that didn’t sing hymns and it was okay to wear jeans. One Sunday, after I had visited a few times, my mom brought the whole family out. We walked down the aisle to join the church and I remember my mom telling the lady, “and Whitney wants to get saved.”

I did? I didn’t say anything about getting saved, but if all I had to do was say a prayer and get baptized, then why not? It all made sense to me intellectually and I never doubted that any of it was true. So that day, sometime in August, wearing some ugly denim dress with sunflowers on it with the converse high tops I had worn in my Dad’s wedding, I got saved. I remember feeling self conscious standing up there on the platform. It felt so awkward, but I know that I really was saved that day.

Then there’s that word again… “saved.” I’ve never been particularly comfortable with that word in that context. To me it seems hokey, corny… Yes, saved from “eternal hellfire and damnation.” But isn’t it so much more than that…

From that day and on out, I was a part of that church… and a part of that youth group. I like to think that I was one of the core, but I wasn’t. At the time, that church was only 8 or 9 years old and there were kids that had been there since the beginning… and I hadn’t been. I didn’t have the history there… my “faith” wasn’t “deep” enough. I didn’t know enough Bible verses. I felt like an outsider… but I went to church, and I went to camp, and I went to choir. I was trying to be a part of the “it” youth group at the “it” church in the area, and I didn’t fit in.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that it wasn’t all about going, or participating, or fitting in, or even Bible verses- but that’s for another day.

Fast forward to now… I go to a church that I think is pretty neat. I can’t necessarily say that I’m “fed” there, but I’ve always felt that it was my responsibility to take care of that myself. The worship is pretty awesome and for the first time- I see a heart for more than just writing a check. These folks get their hands dirty, and that’s encouraging to see. But still, I struggle with belonging.  I wish I knew why this was so difficult for me…

I had originally titled this post “Faith,” but then it occurred to me that talking about church and then talking about the real meat of my faith would be way too much to cover in one post. For me, church and faith have always been too very separate things. Yes… they feed off each other. Church is fueled by faith and the flame is fanned by church, but I still keep them separate in my life.

In one sense this is a good thing. Ryan and I have been burned by church, and I was able to keep from taking that out on God. But by keeping my relationship with God focused mainly outside the church walls, am I limiting my church? Weigh in… I want to hear your thoughts on this one…

The Reality Project

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 1, 2009 by Whit.

Aug18_0004 I think there’s going to be a new identity crisis for this generation- the technical generation. So much of who I am is wrapped up in technology. Having an online presence gives new meaning to being two faced, you know?  The internet and blogging gives you this opportunity to totally reinvent yourself. Are you the same person online that you are in real life?

I’m not talking like internet stalker- perverted 40 year old man posing as a 13 year old girl type of thing. I’m just talking about little “embellishments.” In what ways do we embellish ourselves for different people?

I’ve always had a multi-faceted personality and I kind of grew up with an inborn ability to be different for different people. We all want to be liked, and we all want to fit in, but I’ve always been really good at being who people wanted me to be. But maybe I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, because I wasn’t very popular.

I remember times on the playground like in the 4th or 5th grade- trying to be extra smart with my smart friends… and getting in trouble with my “bad” friends- and as disgusting as this sounds- bringing up the Bible an awful lot with my Christian friends. Am I really so different now?

I think the first step is to give myself a reality check up. What groups of people do I try to blend with? There’s church friends- am I the same with them as I am with everyone else… and since most of them are married- do I act “more married” around them? The saddest thing about this is the people I hang out with from church make up like 95% of my IRL (in real life) friends. I need to get out more. So many of my relationships have evolved into this business of keeping up with each other online…. either with the passage of time or distance.

So other groups: there’s the attachment parents…. the green people… the tattooed crowd… the super moms… there’s still the “bad kids” and yes, I still define certain people by their “Christian-ness.” 

My goal: to be the same person to all these people… to be one whole person all-the-way-around. Let’s call it “The Reality Project.”

Over the course of the next week (baby steps people)- I will attempt to share my struggles and wanderings through this new reality.  If anyone wants to join me, we’ll form a support group… as long as you don’t try to fit in with it, we’re cool.

This is going to be interesting…

I just finished this post and thought to myself- it needs a picture. I started to wish I had some very modern looking, artistic portrait of myself that made me look both deep in thought, but could be so much as a profile picture of my elbow. You know what I’m talking about? So I went digging through pictures of myself in our “family pictures” file and found this. This was taken at the Melting Pot after Ryan and I separated. This was one of our first “dates” again, and I’m not sure why I was wearing that tank top… but I remember being really cold.  I don’t think this is a very flattering picture of me- but I don’t think this process is going to be very flattering. I hope you’ll still love me in the end.