Stories on the edge of familiarity

I Am So Sorry About Me

Dear You,

I’ve spent so much of this blog talking to me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think me is great, but me isn’t the only thing in the universe.

And I really need to stop talking just to me so much.

When I first created this blog, I did it because I wanted to have my own place on the internet to talk about what I wanted to talk about. Now, that’s great and all, and it really is important for me to write what I want to write (rather than what I think you want me to write), but that by itself is empty, meaningless.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (Message)

See, there’s something that I’ve been trying to understand how to do with this blog, and that is being generous. I want to give to you. I want to say all these things I think are important, but I want to say them to you.

I could stand on my soapbox all day, talking about the things I like to talk about, but if I’m not saying any of them to you, then I’m just monologuing. If all the things I say revolve around me and what I’m doing, then I’m just holding everything revolving around me, tightfisted and afraid of what I might lose if I started speaking to you, rather than at you.

How does a conversation start? One person greets another.

One person gives to another.

Now, when we converse, we are pretty confident that the other person is going to greet us back. It’s not really so much an act of courage to say hello to someone when we know that our hello is going to be given back.

On the internet, it’s different. When you start a blog, you’re greeting someone who could very well not say a word to you in return. You’re giving to someone who may never ever give back.

Unless you don’t really give.

Unless you talk to yourself and hope that someone will listen in because then, if they don’t, you won’t have lost anything.

I talk to myself a lot on here because I’m scared that, if I give, I will lose out. I’ve been depending on external things to be my source of worth, and that leads to the fear of losing that worth, which means that I’ve written to me instead of writing to you.

And I’m sorry.

I’ve been doing some thinking about what I want this blog to be and, whenever I do, this always comes up:

Oasis.

It’s a beautiful word, and a beautiful idea. It’s also a little terrifying, because I also think of this blog as my home on the internet. If this is where I live, then wouldn’t I want to keep all the water to myself? Wouldn’t I want to make sure I have enough for myself?

Isn’t it enough just to let people look at the trees?

In Canada/the U.S., we think of our homes as our property. Our right. Our place. Our territory. This thing that we own and live in that also happens to hold all the other things that we own. We have this idea that, if we have something, we are supposed to keep it.

What if we’re meant to give it?

What if we have a home in order to open it up to others?

What if we have an oasis in order bring others to its centre and let them drink?

What if we have all these trees around our oasis so that we can give their fruit away?

What if we are meant to be a blessing with the things we have?

This doesn’t mean that we change the wallpaper because someone else likes dull brown walls better than orange. And it doesn’t mean that we let people hurt each other while they’re under our roof. Neither do we tread around carefully, saying only “nice” things so that we don’t offend anyone. It’s still our home, after all. We decide the tone of it. We just also happen to open it up to everyone who might want to come in.

But what about money? What about freeloaders? What if we lose everything we have because we keep giving to all these people? What if the oasis dries up?

Generosity can’t truly exist in a heart that fears it will run out of what it gives. And the heart who trusts that it will always have more than enough to give is a heart that relies on a source that will never run out.

Here’s the thing: My oasis won’t ever run out of water. I can keep giving and giving on here, and you don’t have to give a thing back, and I won’t ever run out.

That’s the thing I really didn’t get before.

Honestly, I was just thinking about myself and about how this blog would help me and how I would gain from it, and I am so, so sorry about that. Because of my fear of losing everything, I’ve been missing the point of this blog. Oh, certainly I’ve had glimpses of the real purpose as I’ve been writing, but they quickly got crowded out by me, me, me.

Want to know where I got the name for this blog from?

I originally wanted to call this Ordinarily Extraordinary, which I would have ended up directing even more towards myself, but that name was already taken, so I changed it. It took a while, because I wanted that tension of two opposing things existing in the same space, but I eventually came up with Expected Aberrations. After doing a Google search to make sure no one else was using the name, I set up this blog.

And then I found out that the phrase “expected aberrations” is used in scientific papers, to refer to data that doesn’t fit with the expected outcome, but also isn’t significant enough to warrant attention.

I had a bunch of ideas about what kind of meaning I might take from that but, really, they would have amounted to me doing more of my monologuing, except with a megaphone and a chip on my shoulder as I would try to make people pay attention to those of us who defy normal.

Screw that.

Expected Aberrations is an oasis. And it’s for you. All of this that I choose, I choose for you.

Expect aberration. Expect to be heard. Expect to be accepted. Expect quirkiness. Expect that I prefer you over myself.

Please don’t assume that these things are just blips on the radar, and that they can’t really apply to you. Don’t ignore them. Don’t forget them. Don’t brush this place aside because it doesn’t fit your expectation of how the world works.

Before, I was monologuing when I should have been greeting you, starting a conversation. That’s what I really wanted in the first place, a dialogue. I was just so caught up in worrying about you not talking to me that I didn’t talk to you. I didn’t give to you because I thought that it was possible for me to give too much. That I had only a finite amount of anything I might give. As a result, you’ve been getting the short end of the stick, and I’m so sorry.

Because I finally figured out what this place is all about, and it’s about you. I’m sorry it took me so long to shut myself up and really figure things out, but I’ve chosen the colour of my wallpaper now, and it’s this:

I want this to be a place where you feel safe to talk about whatever.
I want this to be a place where you can come to for peace that satisfies.
I want this to be a place where you find comfort that dismantles your troubles.
I want this to be a place where you laugh.
I want this to be a place where you ponder.
I want this to be a place where you can be refreshed without fear of thirst.
I want this to be a place where you feel entirely at home.
I want this to be a place where you find healing.

Because this is an oasis, and that’s what happens when you find water in the desert.

It’s all yours.

Sincerely,
I

One Response to I Am So Sorry About Me

  1. Everybody who writes a blog needs to read this and see if it needs applying to their own piece of Internet. Many will probably find it will.