Hello, Again

I didn’t expect the events over the last week to get me back into blogging, but I’d been praying that something would for a long time now.

If you’re new here, it’s fine.

I kind of feel like I am, too.

This is technically my third blog.

I let the first two die—never renewed the website host or lost the domain name and tried my best not to care. I outgrew them, sure, but the truth is I’ve never taken this habit of mine seriously.

It’s been a pet and a project, a compulsion at times, never a focus.

At some point between 2017-2019, writing anything at all became impossible. I’m still unpacking the reasons why which you have a front row seat to, but I suspect being cut down by people I trusted had something to do with it.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where, although it had its own brand of dysfunction going on, my formative years were never burdened by societal expectations—not by my parents. I grew up with the permission to experiment and push boundaries, to both my detriment and benefit. The result was a very windy path to becoming who I am today.

When you grow up with that kind of freedom, you are resented by those who don’t know the same.

Although you may know this kind of liberty in your childhood, adulthood is a never-ending challenge to reclaim it.

We each have the choice of doing the work or submitting to the conformity of our environment. Whether you’re dating or parenting or working or hurting or growing or seeking, adulthood presents milestones to stand against the grain or jump the hoops society has designated “correct and acceptable” among your generation, age, or location.

And if you’re going to allow the world to know your inner self—the one that meets you in your thoughts in the middle of the night momentarily relieved from societal pressures—you have to acknowledge it.

One thing I set out to do by covering the R*levant story over the last few days was take my voice back; to let this inner self, unmarred by competing expectations, be known again. Even though I’m still dressing wounds from the last time I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

I suspect I’m not the only one who knows living in this tension is tireless and thankless. The goal posts are always moving and the mystery in refusing to play is having to tell the world over and over again you’re not game.

As I read through old entries last week, I remembered how small and insignificant I felt a few years ago as a result of being misjudged by people I trusted and walking through my own failures, both personal and professional.

I wrote in this post that I’ve missed the young woman I used to be for a long time, and didn’t know how to find her again. I’d stare at the blank page (or the blank screen, let’s be real) hoping to invoke her, but that voice remained buried under displaced shame and disappointments I couldn’t make sense of then.

I finally feel like the recovery of my own place in the world has happened as a result of this week.

At a time when our feeds are becoming increasingly monolithic (thanks be to the algorithm), a diversity of voices is more important than ever. I finally believe that is true for myself, and wish to contribute to the patchwork of the weird, complex, beautiful humanity we share by telling you about my own.

I’m challenging myself to keep up with this blog I pay oodles for every year with more frequency. Thank you for your grace as I grow through them and most of all, for following along.

As a result, I feel the need to reintroduce myself to friends old and new. Perhaps even to myself.

First things first—I’m a reformed perfectionist.

I don’t take the Enneagram as seriously as some of my contemporaries do, but I’m a textbook 3 nonetheless. I currently work as a Communications Analyst for one of largest non-profit healthcare systems in the country. As part of a recent project, I worked on the corporate communications for an org-wide tech implementation affecting 28,000 employees.

All this means is I wrote internal communication distributions, blogs, newsletters, talking points and executive emails addressing what employees could expect once systems went live. I loved my work however, and I cherished my team.

Before that, I freelanced and worked as an editor, first for Odyssey, then for Relevant and finally, this small B2B publication called Printing News.

I’m a first-generation American and as a result, I feel an insane amount of pressure to be excellent. To return good on the investment my parents made when they relocated to a new country with tentative hopes and a whole fuckton of grit.

(I try not to curse especially so in my writing but there’s no metric equivalent to a ‘fuckton’ and that’s the only accurate measurement here.)

I recently learned my father learned English at 27 shortly after he moved our family to the States.

My mom had three kids under the age of ten at my age.

I don’t feel a draw towards either of their paths, but I feel I have to live up to the excellence characterized by their immigrant journey. More on that to come.

On a celebratory note, I got engaged to my favorite man in the world last month. I’ll refer to him going forward as RB.

He originally proposed kneeling on the floor of a grocery store in Brooklyn—offered me a pink stone and a promise. When we got back together after a brief separation, he wouldn’t kiss me until he made it official with something more substantial than a 25-cent ring.

He kept his word. And by doing so, he’s loved me back to myself. My proximity to all that is lovely and holy in him has reacquainted me to the parts lovely and holy in me. Fractions I’d calcified in regret and self-loathing. I am eternally grateful to him for this.

We currently live together in Orlando where we try to cultivate the thing most important to each of us—the relationships we share with our loved ones.

It sounds simple enough but for a reformed A-type performer like myself, it has taken a quarter-century journey to ground me to the imperishable things in life like faithfulness, love, loyalty. Things that won’t get you any public accolades but anchor your soul to moors eternal.

My proximity to RB’s generous soul and my friends and my family has challenged me to reacquaint myself with my own beginning and end on this earth. The purpose of it unfolding as I steward my proximity to their hearts with duty and consideration.

I am privileged to know the love I’ve found in my people—as imperfect, honest and cutting as it can be.

These days, I’m satisfied with being a quiet extension of this honor I’ve known.

I’ve leaned my head towards the sun and I am satisfied growing in its light. I don’t need to become it, but I want others to know its warmth.

I think that’s enough for now.

Author: rebecca marie jo