The process of processing (that just sounds ridiculous... the act of processing? the business of processing? just processing?... nm) is such a unique thing. It's one of those things that is uniquely subjective and at the same time we can get so completely wrong. I'm a completely verbal processer. I just need to get everything out, to vomit forth the insanely jumbled mess that is wreaking havoc on my psyche and looking at the mess that's out there in front of me, selectively pick through the dregs to figure out what I'm actually holding on to. I'm the mental equivalent of 52 card pickup.
That's a large part of why I started blogging in the first place. Because journals don't get any push back and because, to be frank, processing conversations really piss me off.
If I'm processing, I really don't want people to discuss the validity of what I'm feeling or provide insight into what I'm dealing with or to show concern or curiosity. For the most part I just want them to listen unless I really really really trust them. I don't really trust many people. Don't you trust me you might ask? Most likely no. And, unfortunately, even if I do trust you I have a tendency to trust you in a "Sure I trust you, but if you wouldn't mind would you be so kind as to show me your hands and empty out your pockets. Thanks. No no I do trust you. It's just a customary check. We do this with everybody. No, I do trust you. Trust me."
The problem is I really want to get a lot of this stuff out into community but I can't seem to bring myself to do it. I wrote for an hour straight last night on what's been frustrating me lately and where I see myself and what's really going on inside my head. I mean what's REALLY going on inside my head. Yes I'm frustrated and angry and frustrated with the world ... but I'm also hopeful and desperate to change things. I really want what I wrote to see the light of day, but I'm terrified of relinquishing control of it. To be honest, the last three times I've talked to people about something personal... I mean the really personal stuff, I've found out that those conversations became public knowledge within a week or two.
That sucks. I mean honestly. Do you really have to put a disclaimer on personal conversations that says "please don't share" and if you do, why share in the first place, because that disclaimer reveals that the people you are talking to are inclined to share anyway. So you find yourself in this cocoon of a location where you bottle up and bottle up and bottle up until you're so frustrated that you overshare and then you get burned.
So I'm trying to process a really gnarly experience this summer. Uganda, the alley shanties, the Dominican villages, El Callejon, the poverty, trying to figure out what impact is. I've got to find ways to be honest about how much it affected me and how much it pisses me off that it doesn't really affect that many people and how frustrating it is that individual impact is so small and how much you feel like people bail on issues that they've been made aware of. I'm also trying to be real about feeling isolated from church community in the midst of all that. About being tired of being the add-on to fifty different cliques. I'm trying to find people who are driven to make change in similar areas and frustrated by how few people actually are. But in the face of that I'm trying to figure out how to process all that when I need that to be a conversation in order for it to make sense and I don't really trust anyone to have that conversation. Or I do, but I'm rarely completely honest. And I know I need to get there. Telling half the story doesn't get me anywhere. Then you start creating this half version of what drives, inspires, challenges you, and then you start buying into the half version of yourself and you get really frustrated with the fact that it doesn't ring true.
So I'm getting ready to process and I'm realizing that if there's going to be real growth I'm going to have to be more transparent about what's pissing me off and what makes me cynical and what gives me hope and what makes me depressed and what gets me inspired. I can't create forty different versions of this experience anymore: the poet, the thinker, the activist, the game changer, the anarchist, the missionary, the coach. I've just got to be intentional about really being honest about how trips like Uganda affect all of those facets of my personality. I swear I can do it. I swear I can.