Last semester, I thought I was broken.
I'd open a new browser window to blogger. I'd have everything set up to write. But then I would just sit there, staring at the screen. The words didn't come. Somehow, they wouldn't come.
"Maybe a part of me died," I thought, "the writer part, the passionate part." She was maybe still alive in my heart and mind, but her absence was keenly felt at the keyboard. I found that I had little say, and though I was still thinking and feeling deeply, the words just didn't come the way they used to. I thought I was broken. Like my hip, I still functioned, but also like my hip, things were never the same as they were before my mission, before the surgeries. So I began to mourn the former me. And I stopped writing what mattered.
I've read cjane's blog for several years, eagerly checking for new posts every day; bemoaning when there are none, rejoicing when there are.
"This is the type of woman I want to be," I always thought. Our views may differ on some subjects, but her conviction to advocate for so many truths that I believe in is something I wanted to emulate.
So when the chance came to hear her speak last Friday, I was ecstatic. I arrived early, just to make sure I could get a good seat.
I was star struck.
I mean this is cjane we're talking about here. Organizer of the roof top concerts, blogger, wife and mother. She's kind of a big deal.
Jette was out of town for the weekend, and when I texted her the picture above, she asked me how the lecture was, and what cjane talked about.
"Everything. I don't even know where to start. It was incredible," was my reply.
Basically, she talked about the idea of confronting the image of the superwoman. And she gave us a summary of a day in her life.
Here's what I learned:
-"having it all" means something different to every single person
-our bodies house our spirits, and that's why we need to take care of them
-we should take ownership of our community, take pride in where we live, and do what we can to contribute
but most importantly,
-we need to tell our stories
That last item was something I'd learned from cjane's blog earlier. Because of something she wrote, I realized I need to start writing again. I stopped being broken, started to remembered what mattered; and I wrote it down.
And what matters is our stories.
After she got done speaking, I got to meet cjane. It was one of those awkward moments when you meet one of your heroes and even though you've been storing up a thousand things to say to them if you ever got the chance to meet them, nothing comes out; except, of course, nonsense.
But she just embraced me; even though I was speechless for a good thirty seconds and then said at least 10 things that I didn't make any sense.
As I floated from class to my internship, reflecting on the whole thing, I realized something else. Besides sharing our stories, we have to engage others in the dialogue. I can read the stories of women all I want, and I can write my story all I want. But it's not enough to do only that. We have to connect with each other.
And that's what I've learned from cjane.
*special note: I also felt rather ridiculous on Friday because it came out during the question and answer session that I read her blog while I was on my mission. The real story was that Rachel printed me out a copy of two posts to put in my Christmas package. soooo... yeaaaa. Hopefully less fanatical then I sounded on Friday.