One month ago yesterday, we moved. I’ve posted a couple pictures on instagram since then – never of the actual inside of the house. Never a clear shot of the outside either. Or the amazing yard….I mean yardS, as in plural. I’ve only posted small moments of this new life.

I don’t know if I’m ready to publicly show off our new home. 

Which probably sounds strange, considering I unashamedly plastered the internet with the details of my 700 sq ft, Family of 5 home. 

See, when KP and I first moved into that tiny house, 8 whole years ago, it was never meant to be a long-term stay. We only moved there so we could keep our dog (that we no longer even have). Our plan was to save up money. Maybe have ONE kid in that place (if we were lucky enough to conceive at all). And hopefully buy a larger house within a couple years, definitely before the possibility of a second kid.

That was the plan. That house was never supposed to be part of our long-term future. It was just a house. A temporary dwelling place until we got our adult-ing crap in order and could buy a real place. 

But life, as it so seldom does, did not work out according to the plan we had made.

I remember having my 30th birthday party in that place. I remember the screening party for KP’s first big writing credit debut there. Back before we had kids. When the promise of a promising future was practically laid out right there in front of us.  

But.
Life happens. 
Businesses fall apart.
Savings dwindle. 
Marriages struggle.
Dreams get harder to chase. 
Hopes dim.
Days are endured, instead of enjoyed.
And you just
Keep.
Going on.
Even though you
Aren’t sure.
Why.

Even still. I can’t completely claim that that house represented a totally dark time for us. Yes, some of the years were really hard. But a lot of good stuff happened there too. 

The best way I can describe the past 8 years at our old house is: A Detour.
Perhaps not the easiest path our life could’ve taken, but the path it did. A path that, for better or worse, we walked together to where, and who, we are today.

With this new house I feel back on track. Alive. Happy.

If anything – I guess it goes to show that life truly is full of ebbs and flows, good times and bad.
If life is hard now – have hope, because there’s probably better things to come. 
If life is good now – enjoy it, because it probably won’t last forever. 

I’m sounding quite Ecclesiastes-ish, am I not?

I don’t expect the path of life to forever be easy, or even moderate – but I now have better faith in myself, and my marriage, to handle whatever may come next. I hope this current good segment of our journey is a long one. But even if not and the next detour is only just around the next bend… or if the journey itself ends sooner than expected…then at least we’ll always have right now. 

Because right now, we’re happy.

When I was in my mid-late 20s, I liked to audition for game shows and reality shows. There was one show, called Solitary, where I made it to the final round of casting. I went in for my last casting appointment, they did a little photo shoot for potential promos, I filled out (yet another) questionnaire or paperwork or whatever, and then I waited for them to take me back in for my final on-camera casting interview. 

This wasn’t the first time I’d been in the final round of casting for a reality show. Like I said, trying out for these kinds of shows was once, like, a thing of mine.

So I thought I knew what to expect for the interview. I thought I’d figured out the “personality” they’d pegged me for and how I should showcase the part of me that they wanted to see. I wasn’t nervous at all.

Until it was time to lead me into the interview room.

The other interviews I’d done had 2-3 casting people sitting on a couch in a small room, with maybe an extra PA or AC running camera in the back of the room. That was it. That’s what I was expecting this time too.

But that’s not what greeted me. This room was large, classroom-sized. There were at least 20 people. Maybe more. Everyone was silent. Everyone watched me. Everyone’s chairs faced one lone chair at the front of the room. 

My chair. 

I sat down, facing them. There were no blinding lights in my face to camouflage my audience. Just me, against every single one of them. No one talked. 

I’d known this show was going to be about playing mental games on the contestants…but I (perhaps naively) hadn’t expected the mind games to begin already.

I’d love to tell you that I sucked up my intimidation right then and there and delivered a beautiful casting interview, and got the part, and won $50,000. 

That’s not what happened.

Only one person in the audience ever spoke to me. He asked me a series of questions and I immediately knew I was off my mark. I remember thinking that the questions he asked were the wrong questions. I didn’t have many answers….because the questions didn’t seem to make sense to answer. I found myself fumbling for responses, trying to keep up before he impatiently belted out a new question.

I can now only clearly remember one of the questions he asked. But I’m pretty sure it was the question that sealed my fate.

He asked:
“Here you are, you grew up in this nice conservative, sheltered home, and now you’re here in L.A., married your first love, a schoolteacher, doing everything by the book – when are you going to REBEL?

I remember being confused, thinking ‘um, I’m 27 years old. I’m not a teenager anymore. Don’t you think I’m past rebelling?’

But instead I mumbled something, timidly, about not understanding what he meant by the question. That I didn’t think that rebelling was necessarily something people had to do. Or something like that. Whatever I said, it definitely wasn’t a confident answer.

In hindsight, I realize they were purposely trying to push my buttons to see how I’d react. To see if I’d protest strongly and speak my mind or if I’d instead retreat into myself.

I’d retreated into myself. 

I obviously didn’t go any further in the casting process. 

Here I am now, 10 years older, and 10 years wiser, and if only I could go back in time and answer all over again.

Because I realize now that it was never about “rebelling”, whatever that means. It wasn’t about shaving my head, voting Libertarian, renouncing previous religious beliefs, etc – they weren’t asking about contrarian actions – they were asking: When am I going to start speaking my mind?

When am I going to stop being afraid? When will I finally be brave enough, not to speak “my truth” (which, btw, “my truth” is the dumbest concept ever. Subjective perspective cannot and will not ever be Truth. Only Truth is Truth.) – but brave enough to speak honestly about the things I think.

Even now, right now, at this point in writing this very blog post – I can sense myself holding back. Afraid to speak what I’m about to speak next: 

See, in the culture I grew up in, we were cautioned against opening yourself up to worldly thoughts, or becoming too open-minded, lest you ‘stumbled in your walk’. We were taught that we were called to the ‘narrow path‘ and that we were ‘in the world, but not of the world‘.
Translation of the above: Questioning your faith too much leads to doubt and loss of faith (which is undesirable/equivalent to spiritual death). And though we live in the world with non-believers, we were meant to be set apart from everyone else…so it ultimately makes no sense to question your faith or try to understand others outside the faith, because we were meant to be weird and different anyways. 

This is possibly the thing I struggle with the most with and to date, the thing I have most feared writing about since I started this blog. The very last thing I ever want to do is cause someone reading this to ‘stumble in their walk’. I don’t want to aid in someone’s loss or even questioning of their own faith. Because if you didn’t grow up in the same world as I then you likely don’t understand that losing your faith is a really sucky and possibly devastating thing to happen to someone and I don’t really want other people to have to go through that (even if a liberating freedom comes afterward). So I’ve mostly stayed silent on certain topics.

But I have to start speaking my mind. 

Because.

If one believes there is only one actual, objective, capital T Truth (which I believe there is and most religions believe there is) and if they believe that they have and know Truth — then why should they be afraid to have their idea of truth challenged?? Truth is truth. And the real, true, objective Truth will always win

There should be no fear in seeking truth and in speaking honestly. 
And it’s time for me to stop being afraid to speak my mind…even if it’s hard for others to hear. Even if it makes some people label me inaccurately and discount whatever I say because they no longer think I’m “on their team” or “part of their flock”. 

See, back when I was 27 and in that casting room in front of all those people, I didn’t understand. I thought they were asking me something different than they really were asking me.

It was never about if I’d met some perceived qualification of having “rebelled” enough for them.
It was always about if I had too much fear to stand up for myself. To stand up for what I felt to be truth. If I was willing to speak up even when it was hard to do so.

And I wasn’t back then. 

But I am now. 

I don’t know if you, whoever’s reading this, subscribes to my email list. But I sent out two recent emails in the same honest vein of this blog post.

I think something’s happening here. With this blog. And with me. I’m in a new house, a new blogging course, a new chapter of my life. 

I’m calling it my Act 2.

If you already subscribe to my emails, you can go back and look for the two I just sent if you’d like (“Act 2”, sent 4/5 & “Act 2,Take 2”, sent 4/12). If you’re not already subscribed, you might want to, just to see what’s up with me now.

I feel a big change a’comin. 

Maybe I’m finally “rebelling”.

But that may or may not be in the way you assume. 

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