Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On the Subject of Audience

Recently, I have been feeling a strong desire to really begin writing again. I have always been fairly diligent in writing the events of the day and some of my thoughts, triumphs, and struggles, but it has been a while since I have used writing as a medium for self discovery. It has played the role of a reporter instead of an investigator. I think this was necessary because I spent so much time working through self discovery that there were some truths that I did not want to explore more fully. In some ways, I feel like I am finally prepared to begin an exploration of who I am.
Another driving force that I have experienced recently is a strong desire to reach out to others. I mean that in many different ways, but specifically I feel a call to expand my voice somehow on the subject of same-gender attraction. As I sat in the temple yesterday pondering on what that would mean, I felt that the idea and the concept is correct, but I will have to keep waiting and working to understand the specifics. Until then, I plan to use writing as a vehicle to begin my preparations toward reaching out to others on this subject. I have found great strength and comfort in reading the experiences of others on their individual blogs. In essence, this is a blog for myself; if I can help others in any way by my honest reflections that is an incredible added benefit.
One point that I feel must be addressed first is the concept of audience. In any form of writing the audience is critical. It shapes the words we use and the experiences we give. Reflecting backwards, I realized there was a dramatic shift in the audience I was writing to in my personal journal. Growing up, I always wrote in my journal with the idea that someday my family or future children would read it. This belief caused me to portray the facts of my life in a very optimistic light. If you were to read my teenage journal you would think that I had everything under control and figured out. My life was ideal. If there was an occasional difficulty that arose, I always viewed it in an eternal perspective and relished the opportunity to grow. You would think that I had no insecurities or doubts. In essence, you would get a picture of who I was and what I believed, but it would be a shallow and an incomplete picture.
Today, things are different. I believe that life is more complicated and difficult than it was in my youth, but that is not the real reason for the change in writing. Many of the problems I face now were present then; I just chose to ignore or hide them. As I have considered what could have caused this sudden change, I realized that it is because I am writing to a different audience. Before, I was writing to my ideal future children. Now, I write to my real future children.
There is a big difference.
I have come to realize that every person has real, personal, and difficult challenges. I have even come to accept that these challenges are essential to our growth and development. The ideal audience I used to write to did not have challenges. Their faith was strong enough to overcome any obstacle. They would never wander the night wondering who they were and how much longer they could go on.
I no longer write to these children; instead, I write to the real children of my future.
It is strange–now that I am completely honest with myself, I realize there is a good chance that I will not have children. The real children I write to now may never exist, but I now recognize that my ideal children could never exist.
I want whoever reads my journal to know me-not just the ideal, but false, image I have portrayed. I want them to know what I wish I knew. I want them to experience my reality so they can face theirs.
In the Book of Mormon we are taught an important lesson about reality. Jacob teaches us that the Spirit “speaketh of things as they really care, and of things as they really will be.” He doesn't speak of illusions and ideals. He is with us in the trenches, teaching us as we face our personal and difficult realities. If I have any hope of imbuing my weak words with power, I must do so by presenting things as they really are.

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