” . . . it belied, or at least undermined, the whole disestablishmentarian cachet of your vaunted non-existence.”~ Something written to me after a flippant remark of mine
These words ruled 2020. I felt called out as a hypocrite. Part of me wished to scream, “But I’m not vaunting anything. I’m searching!”
A deeper park of me cried. “I don’t even know what existence looks like. Nor liberty. I am indeed a hypocrite.“
And thus this blog wavered into hiatus.
People talk about having voices in their head. Mine always sounds like an angry dryer, demanding of me, “What do you want?”
I would hear this most when I was younger. Especially when I was supposed to be napping and the only sound in the house was the dryer, tossing, rumbling, yelling at me.
I never could answer it. “I don’t know.”
Sometimes I’d try random things that happened to be important to me.
“No more family debt.” “Reconciliation.” To be loved by a specific person. To attend a church regularly. To travel. To be happy. To be free. To not ever have to think about my family heritage again. To love my family heritage.
“I want . . . I don’t know what I want. God, show me what it is I must want.”
Side note: I’ve refused to have a dryer in my home.
* * *
This shan’t be some grand exploration into the study of ontology. Or maybe it shall be. Maybe that’s really what we all want: to exist. Maybe that’s why I took a three month break from writing, blogging, and social media.
“Let me find existence . . . by not having to exist for awhile.”
I found it. I think.
* * *
I’ve just been realizing how fascinatingly unique my life is. I’ve been writing a memoir. I’ve only been sketching interesting memories. I’ve had to cut back a lot. And even so, the book is quickly growing too large. And yet, as I go on and on, I realize that what makes life so interesting aren’t all these bizarre, fiction worthy moments, but the fact that it’s life. My life, but also not just my life.
The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist is a theme that is woven tightly through every heartbreak and exultation of mine. That feeling of not belonging had me in moody bondage during my teen years, and then came to a final breaking point where my heart was mishandled. He’d said that I didn’t exist. It had been a joke. Or had it been? Either way, this blog was born.
* * *
But why are we speaking of existence? How silly to look at a flower and ask, “Is that flower there?” Better to ask, “Why is that flower there?”
Or even better, “What do you want from it?”
* * *
I want joy.
* * *
Let’s go back to what I said about “that feeling of not belonging had me in moody bondage”.
Did you know that liberty is knowledge? Not just any knowledge. Liberty cares little if you’ve read all the great classics, solved the most messed up Rubik’s cube, or studied the philosophy of ontology. Worldly knowledge doesn’t grant liberty. No, it’s a knowledge of belonging that is Liberty.
We are free when we know where we belong and to whom we belong. And this knowledge gives joy.
And then, somehow, the question, “What do you want?” become irrelevant. Because you have it all.
* * *
I’d blogged for nearly five years before I started this blog. Before that, I’d never once mentioned publicly, and hardly verbalized, the fact that I didn’t have a social security number.
I pretended to exist, believing otherwise.
I vaunted confidence, when all I was doing was searching. Searching and fearing.
This blog started out on two unstable feet that were willing to go and find out what it was I wanted, but was still scared of that growling dryer-voice.
“What do you want?”
“I’m scared. I don’t know. I just don’t want to live like this anymore. Show me a better way. Help me find people like me.”
“Alright. But it’s going to hurt.”
Arrogantly, I said “I don’t exist!”
Secretly, I begged to find somewhere I might belong.
Stubbornly, I refused to let the government tell me that they owned me and could grant me the ultimate joy of belonging. I’m so glad for that moment of stubbornness. It brought me to a place that most people in my shoes find never find, having given up before they tried.
This blog has been one of the scariest, most rewarding endeavors of mine yet. I wonder if people fully realize how hard it’s been to share. But then, it’s not only been hard. It’s been wonderful. I’ve so loved meeting others who understand and want the same things I want.
Who know what they want and who have better showed me what it is I desire.
Fear is strong stuff, people. It keeps us from knowing just what we want. It blinds us from liberty and confuses our motivation, so that even when we’re on the right path, we sometimes forget that we don’t have to drag chains along behind us.
My shoes were anxiety and fear. Somehow, they put me on the right path. But they also hindered me.
I’m still the Girl Who Doesn’t Exist but I’m no longer running from anything. I’ve been working on revamping the vibes of this blog. Because my message isn’t that the government rules me (not even through fear!) or doesn’t rule me. It’s that I am God’s daughter and I love the life He’s given me.
My message is joy, and how to live in absolute freedom of that knowledge.
* * *
This blog is not meant to be a spectacle. It’s meant to show how my life is full and free, in part because of my great-grandfather, in part because I also chose, but mostly because we all can choose. Yes, some of what I say may only be possible for those who don’t have a social security number and state-issued birth certificate. But you, too, can know and even have liberty.
Your chains need not be gone for liberty to reign. In fact, maybe as Pierre in “War and Peace”, you will only be able to find true Liberty and Joy once your chains are most tight and painful. Liberty might feel something like lice warming your body.
My vision for this blog includes everyone, not just the eccentric few who happen to not be paying the IRS as much (there are still some taxes not even I can unfetter myself away from. Yet my joy is not dependent upon this fact).
Just because a man chains you and forces you to obey him doesn’t mean you are owned and defined by him. The Jews who survived the holocaust knew that the number on their skin was not their name. They knew they did not belong there and belonged to no man there.
Americans who thrive know this, too.
My vision is rooted in motivation.
“Why do you want what you want?”
We’ll talk about that next.
What do you want? *cue in loud, overstuffed dryer*
P.S. To the author of the letter, if you see this, thank you for your honesty. I hope you don’t mind that I twisted your words a little for the agenda of this post.