Finding My Voice Through the Written Word

When I first started into the blogging world I was a dramatic teenager, pouring my soul out to strangers on Xanga and Livejournal, long before blogging was a ‘thing’. As a college student, I stepped out of my comfort zone and started publishing blog posts about things that actually mattered, though I can’t take credit for the sudden change. It was a class assignment, and I was doing what I needed to get my marks.

When the school portion was over, I continued blogging, turning it into less of a commentary on current issues, and more of a personal blog. Less dramatic and depressing than my old live-journals, but still all about me – what was going on in my life, and struggling to figure out who I was. My blogging evolved over the years; going from a ‘public’ blog under my own name, to an anonymous blog, and back to public again. A lot of what I did helped me find my footing in life, helped me find me.

But it also did something else, something I never expected; it helped me find my voice. I was lost in a world of jobs and things I hadn’t been prepared for, and the job I had trained for was out of my grasp. I learned that I cared deeply about issues that stretch around the world, and discovered that I didn’t want to talk about myself as much as I wanted to talk about those issues.

Fast forward about five years later. I was offered my job at the newspaper, and I was happy as a bird. I’ve now been here nearly two years, and the job I once saw as my lifetime career has now faded into a temporary holdover. It’s not that I don’t love it – far from it – and it’s not that I am not good about it. But I’ve found as my voice has grown, it’s grown to the point where I want to be able to do more.

People have always told me I was destined for greatness; they still do. I don’t know about that, because I’m really not all that special.

What I have discovered though, is whether it’s through greatness or not, I want to change the world. I’m nearly 30 years old, and my dream is as idealistic as they come. It’s not a new dream though; in the back of my mind, in the depths of my heart, I’ve always wanted to change the world. I’ve dreamt of being a history maker and a barrier shaker. I see a broken world full of broken people, and I want to be able to help.

I’ve found that the more I let my heart lead me in my writing, the more I find myself speaking about issues I never would have discussed before. Racism, political issues, feminism, Christianity. But I want it to be more. When I talk about these things, I don’t want to address the things that people of white privilege from first world countries talk about. They’re important, but there is so much more than that.

I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who was discussing racism in Canada and the history of slavery in our nation with me. He was surprised not just by how informed I seemed to be as a white woman, but how passionate I was during our discussion about the need for change. He asked me that big question, that single word that can be so heavy and hold so much power.

“Why?” he said. “Why is this an issue that you are so concerned about.”

While now the answer is simple, it took years and years of working through the complexities to find that simplicity. It hit me like a rock only a few years ago.

I care because to me, white privilege is more apparent than it is to most. As the daughter of an immigrant, the only thing that has saved me from experiencing racism, from being treated differently is that my heritage is white; that I don’t have dark skin, dark eyes, dark hair. I’m fair-skinned, blonde-haired and blue eyed. I’m a first-generation Canadian in my family, but no-one looks at that. Because I’m white.

Throughout my life, I’ve met many many different people of different races, different religions. Some who were fifth and six generation Canadians, some who were immigrants, but they all faced bigger struggles because of the colour of their skin. It was the day I saw someone who was treated as different despite having several generations of Canadians in their family, while I was treated as normal despite being only first-generation, that I realized how deep this goes.

The realization of that privilege went far deeper than racism for me though; it was like this earth-shattering recognition of just how much privilege I have solely because of where I was born and the heritage I came from. It drove me to my first mission trip in 2012, where I went to Guatemala and learned about how hard basic things we take for granted – like education, food, shelter – are to obtain in other countries. Something shifted inside of me during that trip, and this fire was ignited that has continued to grow.

One person can make a change in the world, and I want the world to see that. I want the world to know these stories. But I also want people to listen. I want to shatter their perfect ideals of the world the way mine was shattered – not because I want them to feel bad, or guilty, but because when the fantasy world we’ve created is shattered, and all that remains is reality, we have the opportunity for true change to occur.

As a Christian, I want to do the same thing in the Christian community. Modern Christianity has come so far away from what being a Christian actually is. Youth and young adults are leaving the church at alarming rates; not all because they are losing their belief in God but because they are disillusioned with the church. Because they feel abandoned and they see a place full of hypocrisy.

The world is disgusted with *Christianity, but not for the reasons the Bible says it will be. The Bible says Christians will be hated because of their love for Jesus and showing it; but we’re not. Christians are disliked because of their double-standards, because they have made themselves the judges and the jury, and because instead of showing Christ’s love, we show exclusivity and righteousness that we don’t have. We chase our kids away because we miss teaching them that authenticity that comes from a real relationship with Christ, and set them up against impossible standards without preparing them for what they are facing in the rest of the world.

Instead of loving like Jesus, we act like the Pharisees. We fight against the laws of the land as if it is our right to have our Christian standards and beliefs overpower those of the rest of the country. Instead of finding ways to show Jesus amidst the darkness of the world, we hurl insults and make a dividing line; it’s us against you, we’re right and you’re wrong, and we’re going to force you to live by our standards, otherwise we’re going to claim that you’re creating a war against our faith.

We expect an unbelieving world to live by the commandments of those who are born-again under Christ, and wonder why they despise us for it.

I want to make that difference, and I want to be able to use my gift of writing to do it. Like I said, I’m a bit of a cliched idealist, but I do this because I believe the world is full of people who can be better (including myself) and I want to help find the right trigger to inspire that change.

I want people to care about more than their own little worlds, than their friends, and the small things that they feel okay caring about. I want to challenge people to step outside their boxes, to step outside their comfort zones, and to be authentic.

Where that’s going to take me, and how that is entirely going to look, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s not going to happen with me sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life. And when the time is right, I think my life will take that step forward.

*Generalized references to Christianity are about the ‘general’ ideas and peoples involved in Christianity, not Christianity as a whole.

This post was inspired by part of a blogging prompt series by Janet Brent, after being pointed in that direction by a fellow awesome blogger.

Comments

  1. Tim

    I had a really well thought out comment reading this last night and tried to remember it this morning. Sadly, all that happened was me getting distracted by the font that the X in Xanga is written in. It’s mesmerizing.

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