Addressing issues of “tone”

I hate this class. Look familiar? That’s because I’m here again and really really hate it. Surprise!

We’re working on essay structure. You know, if I didn’t detest this course, I would be perfectly cool with writing and editing and re-editing my essay, even with a peer critique involved. Instead, we’re treated as incompetents. It might seem that way, honestly, because no one talks when she asks a question, except occasionally Pat or Paulina. Sorry if my brain’s shriveled from lack of coffee inhalation. Sorry if you’re standing there, “teaching,” with your arms crossed and voice dry, critically mentally labeling us all as dumb music students. We can see it.

She just mentioned a “funnel introduction.” Now the “dawn of time” introductions. GOD I need caffeine.

“Generally you don’t want readers to be skeptical. You want them to accept what you’re saying.” Actually, for me, I’d want to pique their interest. I’d want to twist them around my finger but entice them to think. From their contorted new mental state I’d want them to wonder about what they’ve read.

So no, I don’t simply want them to accept what I say.

I think I’ve shed all over my cardigan. My phone just vibrated reaaaally loudly in my pocket. I would give anything to be in Italian. And that alone should proclaim with obviousity my fiery desire to LEAVE this ROOM and never return.

Since she just was staring at me as she talked about addressing issues of tone, I wrote a few things down.

What kind of tone do you want to have in your papers? No feelings behind it. It’s a moral judgment to have an opinion. NO opinions. Well, I mean, you can have an opinion. But you have to be as bland and dry as this class. Oh wait, I need to offer a solution. Moral condemnation, and then no solution. To fix, ask why that contradiction is there? Better question: WHY DO I HAVE TO BE HERE?

F MY LIFE. “We’re going to do paragraphs for the next two classes.”

Excuse me? I beg your pardon. The NEXT TWO CLASSES?! Who needs to spend a week on learning to write a paragraph? Oh God. Oh dear sweet God.

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What did Brendan tell me? Oh yeah: “Kim, I feel like you’re searching”

*Just a quick note: I wrote this from my cell phone late at night (or, early in the morning) before this past Wednesday. I spent the day with this awesome German I know all day yesterday, so I did not get a chance to type it and post it. But, here it is, unedited and in honesty.  

Brendan texted me tonight, from Waynesburg. Told me about a book he feels I should read. He said, “Kim, I feel like you’re searching.”

  
I feel like I am, too. 

So here is how it is. Here is how I come to be typing– texting, really– forming a blog entry from my phone because I was dumb enough to leave my macbook upstairs, and it’s past midnight: my entire family’s sleeping.

Here is how it is: how I am sitting here sniffling and experiencing mild heartburn, feeling like a complete fool with a temperature.

Here is how it is. How I have come to abruptly halting my reading process and doing this, setting down (temporarily) Don Miller’s Searching for God Knows What.

Miller writes: “…I felt something missing inside myself, some bit of something that made me feel special or important or valued. This thing missing inside me… is something God would go to great length to explain in His Bible. …By trying to find an identity…

Don Miller also wrote Blue Like Jazz, also a good read

I was displaying some of the very ideas God would speak of in Scripture, some of the ideas about being separated from a relationship that gave me meaning, and now looking for a kind of endorsement from a jury of my peers” (Miller 42).

Isn’t that exactly what I have been doing since June, scrabbling frantically around to improve myself, to impress others or receive their attention, simply to feel accepted? To find an identity.

Here I was so worried about making the right impression at Eastman or at work or even on my adventure/excursion that I was completely and totally blind to the fact that I’m obsessed with my image or what people think. Haven’t I trusted God before and never had to worry about it at all? Hadn’t I felt a sense of peace, finally, and an invasive, infectious happiness, a sunshine?

I’ve been trying to find God again, and I think my dip into Spiritualist Central helped concrete my own beliefs and outlooks. It didn’t shake them as much as it could have.

It served to remind me that, without God once again as a fully recognized presence and driving force in my life, my worst and most horrifying fears will be realized and I will fail. God has been with me every step of the way thus far. I know He won’t “leave” me, but I am scared of the consequences. Scared of the thought of evangelism, of losing sight of things, and dumbly, of knowing God’s love as it was meant to be felt. But mostly I’m just ashamed.

I know as a Christian (is that what I am?) I would feel the need to reach others– and to be honest I feel as though that impulse has been with me my whole life. But I’m not good enough to do it, I’ve tried before, when my faith was really strong. Or I thought it was. Now I fall back under the excuse, I’m too flawed, even though I know that’s stupid. But time and again I’ve kind of tried and definitely failed to serve God because I didn’t want to give it everything and fall short, again.

I think I’d want to share news of God’s love. Of an nonjudgmental, unconditional, unrelenting love. I just doubt I’d be a decent spokesperson. Plus it doesn’t help that it feels like, as soon as you tag “Christianity,” all anyone ever seems to see is piety, when (at least in my case) they couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So… how do I go from being “in control” of my own actions to handing myself over to God?

The search is far from over, but I’ve found something at least. Here is how it is.

Pathetic, brimming with shame, and flawed, I figure it’s about time I stop moping around scared and wimpy and be an instrument for God to use. Or, I guess it’s more fitting… a voice for his love.