I haven’t been blogging much lately. Maybe you’ve noticed, more likely you haven’t.
I love this space. My space to think, reflect, share, encourage, be encouraged. But I also love my ‘real’ life, the one with people I can touch and see and hear and interact with, without a screen between us.
Sometimes blogging alleviates the loneliness of being an expatriate because I find a community of people like me – between worlds, wrestling with cross-cultural relationships, being fundamentally transformed by our new surroundings.
But sometimes blogging accentuates the loneliness because I realize that the things making up my current world, my life, my passions, my griefs, my joys, are so far from the world I used to live in. I even start to question my sanity, sense of ‘reality,’ and wonder whether I am turning into one of ‘those’ expats. The kind that struggle to communicate with people in the home culture because our tongues are tied and our minds so thoroughly exhausted after years of balancing cultures and world views.
The internet accentuates the truth that the ways I am coming to see things like faith and justice or relationships and poverty or running and shopping do not line up, always, with what is popular or trending or even interesting to the people living in the place I used to consider home. Blogging reinforces the reality that I am far removed from who I used to be and some days, that feels lonely.
I sit down to type, at the end of a long day and I don’t know what to say about the things I’ve encountered or wrestled with, I don’t know what to add to the cacophony of voices on the internet. And sometimes I don’t have the courage to enter the loneliness and so I step back a bit. I eat Girl Scout cookies (thank you, US embassy) and watch an episode of the Cosby Show with Lucy instead.
Also, I’ve started writing for a few other websites that have deadlines and topic suggestions and as I (happily) work for these sites, I have less time to write exclusively for Djibouti Jones.
Also, real life presses in. In April my teenagers were home. I cried the day they came home and I cried the day they left, and a few days following. It gets harder every time, not easier, don’t let anyone tell you it gets easier. In April we entered the national championship season for Girls Run 2. In April a local friend faced multiple, serious, heart-breaking crisis.
In April I guarded the deep waters of my soul, half-treasuring them and half-afraid that if I tried to write about boarding school, the stories of the running team, about my seemingly daily tearful waverings between feeling at home here and feeling desperate to leave, I would be too exposed. Normally not such a private person, I retreated and found refuge in my family of five.
But now we are, again, down to three people in the house. I’m still helping my friend, still following the running club, still writing for other websites. I’m not sure how or when I will emerge but for now, as real life presses in, I am leaning into it. Living it. Not always writing about it.
Thanks for your patience with a quieter blog these days. I am always grateful for your visits, comments, and shares both here and elsewhere. (Like how last week you helped explode my essay for Brain Child: The Happy Middle Years.)
(if you’d like to read a story about one of these people I relate with not from behind a screen, sign up for my monthly newsletter. By signing up you will receive the free e-book Thirty-Four Paying Markets for Beautiful Essays. This month features a brief part of Medina’s story, a runner who had a thorn puncture her eye)