The Unexamined Life, Examined

I recently bought a copy of Jenna Kutcher’s new book, How Are You, Really, because it came with bonuses that interested me. The book arrived yesterday, and so far, it’s been a good read.

Unfortunately, I reached a troubling portion. Jenna asks us to take a life inventory, and so many of the questions only have one answer: I don’t know.

I’ve spent so much of my life trying to survive, living with poverty, depression, chronic pain, blindness, autism, trauma, and doing my best to be whatever I thought other people needed me to be so that I would make them happy.

I don’t know myself.

I’ve never really examined my own life or my own self because I was so busy trying to survive. There have been countless times I’ve tried, books I’ve read, but I’ve never made the time to know who I really am outside of the gaze and lenses of others.

I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a sister. I’m a daughter. I’m an aunt. I’m a niece. I’m a cousin. I’m a friend. I’m a former coworker. I’m a customer.

Who am I to me, though? At the end of the day, when I fall into bed exhausted and anxious, listening for my toddler to wake up in the night as she has been for the past few weeks, I haven’t had time to shift those weights of duties and expectations off of myself to think about it.

My body is covered in excess skin and fat, but my soul is starving.

My mother would tell me to read my Bible, but why would I return to something that never really comforted me in the past and still doesn’t comfort me? I remember the mandatory Bible readings and the consequences for trying to get away from them or falling asleep. I remember reading multiple translations on my own, trying to find comfort.

She would also tell me to go back to church, but why would I go back to a place that abandoned me when I needed them most? They didn’t care about me. When my house burned down, they didn’t call to check on any of us. They didn’t offer to help like the community at large did.

Why would I go where people don’t care?

Why would I go where I don’t fit in and don’t belong?

Why would I darken the door of any place that told me that my Naomi died because of my sins?

And so I have made some of you reading uncomfortable.

I have a feeling this whole process is about to get a lot more uncomfortable for all of us.

Hold on to your butts.

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