Truth, Not Truth


June 22, 2016 by Julia

I’ve been a mess lately – and before you roll your eyes, just know that I’ve already rolled my eyes at myself a thousand times already, and it’s not exactly helping, so let’s you and me leave any snarkiness at the door. I am more sick of my issues than even you, I can almost guarantee it. I am not fond of repetition in general (“Too bad!” declares Life), and I am also not fond of general brattiness or self-indulgence, and I also hate the idea of putting bad writing into the world (I’m very, very unique that way). So I’ve been stuck, thinking about all the ways writing can be bad while staring at a blank page, which as you can imagine is really creatively fulfilling.


And the current discouraging political climate of America, with our insanely negative presidential election, constant mass-shootings, hatred and one-upmanship between parties and states, social inequality, lack of justice, bigotry, wastefulness, and so on…it gets to me. These issues are obviously a bigger deal than my writer’s block. I’m not trying to hitch myself to a cause in order to gain a compelling narrative for this blog post. I’m just trying to give you a sense of where my head is at, why I need a shot of faith right now.


And it’s officially summer break, now, and I worry, worry, worry: will I ever have time to myself over the next two months? Last summer there was no time or energy or solitude for writing. Am I okay with surrendering to the flow of lazy days and keeping the kids occupied and going camping and to the beach, and packing and unpacking and no routine? It sounds delightful, but again, I worry: who am I without time to read and write? Writing is how I root myself in my own life. Without it, I feel adrift. Even if I am having fun. I want both life and writing. Is it too much to ask?


AND, lastly, Jack starts Kindergarten in the fall. All of the expected bittersweet feelings are here. Excitement, parental nostalgia, relief, a little sadness, fear of the unknown. For more than eight years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and now the full-time aspect of that is going away (except for summers). It’s like a big career change. I don’t know what I’m going to do.


Thanks to Dennis’ hard work, the support of family, and sheer luck we have done alright on one income all these years, but I don’t quite feel right about continuing to stay home while both kids are at school most of the day. We could use more financial security, of course. We could also continue to make do as we have so far financially, and have less stress in our lives. I could be happier, less anxious, volunteer in the community, stay on top of the never-ending family chores, and be home when the kids are home – none of which would be likely if I got a job. Can I justify such a life in this day and age? Would I feel good about myself without contributing financially?


In an ideal world, I could make a career out of writing from home, but I have no idea how feasible that is for someone like me. I’d have to get over my fear of “selling out.” Surely there are ways to freelance, or write a profitable novel with integrity. (It’s hard for me to even write the words “profitable novel” without cringing a bit…and then laughing because the chances are so low.) Anyway. I am happy to start this new era in our family life, but the choices loom over me, too. I want to do the right thing, for me, for them. And I don’t want to feel any shame about what I end up deciding.


So, that’s what’s swirling around in my head. I’m sorry for the navel-gazing, but apparently not sorry enough, because I plan to post this anyway. You may wonder why. Well, because I know I’m not alone in my confusion about life. And putting it all out there is an act of faith that not everyone will judge me, that some will relate, and that we can all feel encouraged by what we have in common.


One of the worst things about depression is that you start to lose faith in…everything. And when you lose faith, you stop wanting to do anything, because why bother? Everything is bad, or sad, and there is nothing anyone can do to actually change that on the micro level (I can’t seem to write anything good) or on the macro level (American politics are beyond discouraging).


Sometimes that is true, sometimes it is not. There are a lot of half-truths we dupe ourselves into believing. The dangerous part is when they remain unsaid or unwritten, and we can no longer separate the lies from the truth. There is just enough truth mixed in to make the lies believable. You have to pull all the threads of your beliefs out and make two piles – truth, not truth.

Paper Birds by Daniel Caballero:

Paper Birds by Daniel Caballero

It’s at times like these that you have to lose your pride and let the crap flow out of you, whether it’s in saying or in writing, so that you can see your crap and get enough distance to make some sense of it. You can’t get all perfectionistic or try to polish your issues into nuggets of wisdom before you put them out there. Sometimes you just have to be wrong, aloud, in order to get the lies out of your soul. It can be humiliating, but also liberating. (I would know, heh.)


Also. Goodness can clear a path through the darkness, no matter what. There aren’t many “no matter what” guidelines in this world, but I can’t think of any exceptions to this rule. It won’t necessarily make you richer, more powerful, or more attractive, but it will give you clarity, love and meaning.


“Good” is a broad enough term to cover all sorts of personal qualities or redeeming actions: be kind, make beauty, show compassion, create inspired work, show integrity, generosity, dedication. When I am feeling low, I can still always be good right in this moment, to my son hanging on my arm, or my friend on the phone. The act of being or doing good fuels faith and hope. Sometimes the action has to come before the belief.


Just the idea of goodness lights me up inside, like a lantern in a cave of dark confusion and webs of half-truths.


Okay, that’s it for now. I know I’m all over the place. Thank you for hanging with me if you made it this far.


5 thoughts on “Truth, Not Truth

  1. vjthurston says:

    I’m hangin’ with you always, Julia

  2. Pamela says:

    I get you, Julia. I’m constantly asking myself ‘do I stay in a job where I’m bored and feel like I’m not contributing at all to society’ or ‘do I just stay home and volunteer and spend more time with the kids’? It’s like there’s no perfect solution. I always say… I don’t know how full-time working moms do it (although I’ve almost always been one of them!) I think some day the work world will be completely different with job shares and more part-time work. But for now, from my view, it’s either full-time or bust.

    Like you, I’d LOVE to be able to make a living writing. If there’s anything we can do together, I’m game 🙂 Or if I come across anything, I’ll definitely share with you.

    And like you, I LOVE routine. And I thrive on being busy and taking the kids to constant events. Hopefully, you’ll embrace this relaxing summer and enjoy lots of fun activities. And I hope you find some time to write. Sometimes I just wake up REALLY early to get a little quiet time.

    Hope we get a chance to catch up soon!

    • Julia says:

      Thank you, Pamela. I’ve always appreciated our conversations about working outside the home vs. inside the home. So much to consider. I think of you often and hope we can get it together sooner rather than later! Hugs.

  3. coffeejot says:

    “When I am feeling low, I can still always be good right in this moment… The act of being or doing good fuels faith and hope. Sometimes the action has to come before the belief.”

    I can totally relate to this…the last few months when feeling particularly down or anxious, I just stick to good decisions, things that I know are “the right thing to do” or compassionate toward others. It helps. You start to see the good you put out there and it gives you hope. Hang in there, sis. 😉

    Also, we need to do that sleepover at my place we talked about asap!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 531 other followers



--- A Return to Art Criticism ---

Radical Discipleship

A Joint Project of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World

Read Diverse Books

Let's Read The World


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Angela Barnett

Writer. Wig Wearer. Shame Buster.

Things We Like

a project by jessica gross

LaMonte M. Fowler

an indie author writing to stay sane

Kelsey L. Munger

writer & writing coach

Social Justice | Pop Culture | Black Girl Magic

One Awkward Year

wow, this is awkward . . .

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Joy, Lovely Joy

Writing through mothering

Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know

Kicking that pimp called Shame in the shins.

An Honest Mom

From the hip on mindfulness, parenting, feminism and homesteading.


small shares from Pronoia Coaching

James Gillingham - Long Arm Films

Thinking thoughts and making films

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

Laura Parrott Perry

We've all got a story to tell.

Ginger's Grocery

Come on in and browse. The biscuits were made fresh this morning, the Slush Puppie machine was just refilled with a new bottle of red syrup, and we have the biggest selection of bait this close to town.


some of us are brave

Music for Deckchairs

"In shadowy, silent distance grew the iceberg too": universities, technology, work and life

my name is elizabeth

stories about race, culture, and identity

Priss & Vinegar

Lawyer by trade. Writer at heart. Housewife by accident.

Angela Tucker

Blogger / Speaker / Educator

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Song of the Lark

Music, melodies, mutterings

Adventures of a Teacher Nerdfighter

Building a fifth grade classroom community around enthusiasm, creativity, and awesome.

Michelle Murnin Paulson

Evidential Spiritual Medium & Blogger

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

%d bloggers like this: