When I returned to blogging, the whole thing was write a bit about our lives. And if I’m honest, that’s always freaked me out.

I’m terrified to write about my actual life. I don’t have kids. I’m not married nor do I have a partner. I haven’t got the life I desired, I’m not settled into a life. My story isn’t the story of most of my peers. And if I am honest with myself, I still feel deficient because of it. I still feel less normal. Like I belong less. That I have less value.

And if that sounds like a self-pitying, depressed statement, I can assure you it’s not.

This is what something in my soul has told me I am. Deficient, less than, not as valuable, not wise, mature or normal enough to find the life I still desire, unable to commit, unable to be a grown up. It’s story I’ve told myself. A prison story.

Of course the normalisation of marriage, family, stability, is all a story the western media tell us to make us think this is how life should be, this is what normal is, this is what makes us valuable. Even sadly the church feeds into this, especially the conservative evangelical church.

And you see, right here, I’m talking about why it’s tough to talk about my life rather than talking about my actual life.

My life?

I wake up at about 6.30am. I get showered, dressed and go to work. I work for a local council minuting child protection conferences. So I go do that till 5pm, then come home.

When I’m at home, it’s just me. Social media, Netflix are good friends of mine. Occasionally if I can motivate myself, I’ll read. Sometimes I’ll go to the cinema by myself – which I actually love, and sometimes prefer to going with others. Sometimes I’ll write, or record a podcast interview, which I love to do. Occasionally I’ll go and see friends. Maybe I’ll go see my spiritual director if it’s that time of the month.

At weekends, I often see my adorable niece and nephew, and my sister and have Saturday breakfast with my dad, where we catch up, chat and have good food together. And I might pop up to London and walk around the South Bank, my favourite place in London. Maybe I’ll occasionally have friends over or go out with friends, watch football on the TV or the pub, and possibly do some writing. And often, I’ll eat junk.

That’s about it.

When I write about my life, it feels pathetic, if I’m honest. It’s not the life I want for myself. I want to go the the gym regularly, to pray and meditate daily, to read daily, have a lifestyle where I care well for myself. I don’t say this as idle hopes or daydream fantasies, these are legitimate desires I have for my life.

But it’s like I’ve buried them in busyness and just given up hope. And I don’t actually feel depressed about it. I’ve gone beyond that, I just seem to have this numb expectancy of how my life will be. If I stop and think about it too long, it could become depressing.

I’m a person who knows what he has to do, and how to do it – but isn’t doing it. I’m afraid. I never wanted to settle. But after failures of recent years, letdowns, and betrayals, making an effort and risking pain almost feels like a place I don’t want to go.

I’m almost afraid to experience joy. Afraid to smile. Afraid to work. Afraid to be free.

Desperate to be free, but trapped in a prison I’ve made myself. I prison I hold the keys for. I can see freedom, colour and joy out the window, but there are bars in the way. With a bit of work I could release myself, but like Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption, I’m afraid of freedom.

I want my days to be more interesting. I want to have a better a story to tell. To know that even this mundane life now does not define my value. To own that, and to choose freedom. Writing this post has helped me realise just how trapped I’ve become.

And so maybe writing this is the first step to freedom.


Picture Source: Farhad Pocha via Creative Commons

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  1. Margaret Kazmierczak on August 4, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Thank you James for being so honest about your life. I can see that you do have a life, a single life which was similar to mine twenty-seven years ago. Mine changed when I took a huge risk. Like you I had been hurt, betrayed and left feeling inadequate. But the feeling of wanting more and believing God wanted more for me powered my intention on taking the risk.

    Has it worked out well, that risk? Sometimes in low spots I think was it worth it, the challenges, disappointments, heartbreak, effect on my health? There are times when I long for that single life again. But life is what we make it and God has been in the risk right from the start.

    I can only encourage you to continue writing about your life and see where it takes you. What answers it gives you and then take all the words to the foot of God’s throne and ask, “Is this what you want for me?” And lean into Him for the answer. It might not come straight away but it will come.

  2. Mikaela D. on August 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Beautifully vulnerable piece, James. It’s like I’m looking in a mirror, so thank you for sharing yourself here. And keep writing and publishing.

  3. Martyn Smith on August 10, 2018 at 3:27 am

    What a fascinating, open read. Thanks for taking the trouble of writing it.

    It resonated with a particular time in my life, when I was going through a divorce. I experienced similar feelings of looking out the windows of a prison of my own making. Very evocative James.

    I hope that your desire for this to become your first step to ‘freedom’ will come to pass.

    Go well sir, go well…

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