Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Concurrent Collisions



Last evening I took my kids to Rock Canyon park, which is a park in the shape of a bowl. A soup bowl. And around the top of the bowl is a black-topped walking path (some people prefer to run it, moronic people) with views that reach across the valley clear to the shores of Utah Lake.

My point was to wear down the troops so I could fling them into bed, lifeless and limp, an hour later avoiding their well-skilled stalling (ONE MORE QUESTION Anson says twenty times). I marched them around that perimeter, noting the jagged mountains to the east, a temple spire to the south and Utah Valley in the round. About half way through the journey Ever stopped at a rock garden and started to climb.

"I'm climbing the rocks," she told me.

But as usual these days when I hear her form a complete sentence I think,

"Holy gravy girl! Who taught you to talk?! You're barely two years old!"

I need a break.

(That's what I thought next.)

A break from writing about me.

Yesterday I wrote the next chapter in My Life Story saga and it sat like a pit in my stomach all day. I carved out a few extra hours to work on it, but it just stared at me and I stared back at it. Though my hope was to write my life story without moral--to just write as it were--I get to this part of being nineteen and it's so terribly confusing to me I don't even know what to say.

When I was nineteen I was devoured by a cloud of desperation, which made me very stupid...

And every stage I've written about so far is like time travel. I go back and relive the events and for days after my former self has inhabited me. I've let her come and stay, showed her that I've made good of my life--married a kind man who protects my vulnerability, have three children I adore so much I could wear them like pendants on my chest all day (one I actually do), enjoy a writing career that holds me stimulation.

But when the nineteen year old came knocking, I opened up the door a crack, saw her, and quickly shut it back in her face.

Don't you come in. You're too much mess. And plus you disgust me.

Then I texted my pro bono (for me) therapist Janna and asked if we could talk about the past and it occurred to me that I maybe need to talk a lot about the past, maybe I need to take some time off to work it out in my heart before I attempt to write about it for posterity.

(I remember my sister Page saying to me, "If you're going to feel labor pains, make sure you've made peace with your past, you wouldn't want old fears getting in the way" and I thought, Sure I've made peace with my past, that's how I got pregnant after five years of trying. But maybe I only found enough peace, and now I need to find some more?)

So let's say I've finished PART ONE of my Life Story and in August I'll pick up PART TWO. After all, this is the point of me blogging my life story right? My deadlines are my own. Anyway, for the next few months I'd like to write about my life now, how Ever says things like, "My hair is blowing," when we swing together and how that tiny snippet of stated presence makes my heart so damn hopeful for her. For me too.

And I'd like to write about my current life with the same courage I've used to write about my past so far.
Which is to say, too much information?

Years ago I got a comment from someone who said, "I read your blog because it's like an impending train wreck, I can't look away," which hurt my feelings badly at the time but now I think, that's all of us, we're all headed to and from our train wrecks.

This is mine.


76 comments:

Catherine Dabels said...

People who aren't the occasional train wreck are people with no soul. No adventure. No personality. People who play it safe, life without risk.

We all have to have a few wrecks on in our lives. It's how we grow. So crash your train and write about it. It's the very best medicine.

TheOneTrueSue said...

No matter what piece of truth you pulled from it, the person who left that comment was a stone-cold jerk. Here, let me handle that for you.

FACEPUNCH.

Lisa Carter said...

"I read your blog......like an impending train wreck."? Holy cow, I read your blog because you are me. Maybe nobody wants to hear that either, but I relate to your stories, most likely even your 19 year old stories that have yet to be published. I guess sometimes life is a seat in first class, but more often than not, it is an impending train wreck. I rather enjoy the anticipation.

Lindsay said...

It is amazing to me how honesty, understanding, and compassion go hand in hand. We are all of us doing the best we can. I have to say I like you much more since you started blogging no-holds-barred about your life. I feel kind of ugly saying that, but you being honest and inviting my understanding has made me more compassionate toward you. Imagine the difference if we could be given such understanding about all those we meet.

2busy said...

You have not been showing up in my feed for the last few months! I have missed you...

Darlin' I am a train wreck waiting to happen. ;0

LuckyRedHen said...

We all have our own, unique, and valuable truths. Thank goodness yours isn't like mine, mine isn't like theirs, theirs is their own, or this would be a boring world to be in. Own your past, it's done, you are not that girl. Freaks who criticize just because THEY wouldn't have done this or that need to shut their pie hole.

Leslie Ruth Petree said...

I think it takes wisdom and courage and chutzpah to stop, step back and really ponder. Brava! And now I eagerly await reading all the little nuggets that come out of your sweet littles' mouths :)

Colleen said...

I think most of us have periods in our life that make us look back and wonder, "Was that person really me?" You are incredibly brave to put yourself (ALL of yourself) out there. I destroyed my journals from college because I was so ashamed of the flighty, weak person that I was then. I hope someday I have to courage to rewrite that period of my life, even just for myself and my posterity.

Mary said...

i love your writing. i love how you have evolved and continue to evolve. do whatever it takes to continue writing such insightful and beautiful pieces... as i've discovered, it is well worth the wait! thank you for sharing your personal life stories, they have really left a lasting impression; not to mention aid in my own introspection, asking questions that need to be asked and pondered (but not necessarily answered, right?).

Ali said...

And even when it gets to August, if you don't want to write about you, you still don't have to.

Your stories are so good, they are so meaningful, they are so searching and rich that you anyway should be charging us all to read them! Seriously, you are better than most great novels, and you're free. Who are we to expect a thing?

So never ever feel obliged to us, your readers, who love to read your every word, whatever the subject.

Find peace, amazing lady. Enjoy it.

With kindest regards,
Alison

Delirious said...

It's really not an impending train wreck. It's more like the Hitchcock movies that are filled with suspense make you THINK there is going to be a train wreck, and you just have to keep watching. But then there is a twist in the plot, and the heroine ends up married to her hero, and they wind up with 3 kids. And when they begin to live happily ever after, it doesn't matter that there were some bumps in the plot because even the impending train wreck was kind of exciting. :)

Morgan Lee said...

I'll second everything Lindsay said.

Also, three cheers for train wrecks. I met my husband on the heels of one of the train-wreckiest phases of my life (way later than 19!). In fact, we never would have met at all had I not been such a confused mess at the time. For that reason, I have no regrets about any of the dumb things I did during that period. I cringe sometimes, yes, but I never regret.

I say as long as you're pulling something valuable from the wreck, carry on.

Erin said...

While I love reading your memoirs, I've missed reading about your day-to-day life too. So I'm happy to read about Ever's sentences. It's like when my 3 yr old asked me last week if I was "going to call or text Uncle Nate?" When I told him to hold on, I had to call Uncle Nate. I sat there laughing trying to remember when I first learned what texting was.

Your February "Loves" posts inspired me to write my own. and though I am averaging 1 a month, (bad blogger that I am) I have enjoyed the realization that I write for me and the few followers I have. And that's ok, they can wait until I am ready.

Good luck closing the book on 19 yr old you... I'm sure everything will be ok.

Scott and Rachel Ellis said...

I don't like my 16 thru 19 year old self. But I have since found that I can better understand the 17and18 yr olds I teach. Even the good ones. I am who I am because of who I was. And so are you! And that's fabulous!

PS said...

You're very brave to face your past. I'm still running from the middle part of my twenties. I've been too scared to bring it up with my counselor, but we're getting there soon.

Good Luck!
I look forward to seeing the story of Now as well!

Ashley, Clay, Eva, Beck, and Cash said...

I am going to miss reading your life story. My husband and I have enjoyed it so much. I read it at home during the day and he reads it when he has a minute at work. We discuss it together when he gets home. It's so much fun! But we love reading about your life now as well. We totally identify with your life in the past and now. Thanks so much for sharing and giving us something to enjoy together.

Nora said...

Holy cow, I identify *so much* with your aversion to your nineteen year old self. Periods of growth are always so difficult, and the terrible thing about the transition into adulthood is that (unlike your own terrible twos) you can remember it vividly. Also, for some reason people allow you to make big decisions about your life, rather than hiding the scissors and nineteen-year-old proofing the house. I feel like I lived a decade in the years between eighteen and, say, twenty two.

And can I just say that it makes me feel so much better to hear that you did (to whatever extent), too? Because sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who grew up, went to college, and promptly fell to bits.

Townhouse Towny said...

The times I put my foot in my mouth or told a joke that feel flat, those moment rise up and choke me with such force...I can't imagine writing about those moments day after day. Take a break, dear sweet lord take a break, I don't know how you've been going at the pace you have so far! It's impressive and strong but also makes me weary for you, I couldn't do it and I don't know that it is super healthy for anyone to do it. Break, for sure.

Would love to hear about the growing souls of your children, looking forward to whatever it is you're all up to this summer!

AndieF said...

I sort of know what you mean. I have been blogging for almost 4 years now. And my blog is supposed to be about my family and what we do day to day and our journey to try and be more self-reliant. It has always been sort of flexible - I could sort of write whatever I wanted to. But what I didn't usually write about was about very personal things, particularly things about me and my past. And then, this past year, I starting feeling like I wanted to share some of my past. Maybe I needed to share some of my past. And so I did. And I noticed the same sort of thing that you described - a sort of depression, an almost resurrection of that young, depressed, hurt, angry, sad, person that I was back then. After the last post that I wrote like that, I decided, you know what, I think that maybe these types of posts are best saved for a personal blog. I think I do need to get it out and record it, but I don't know if I want or need to have lots of people reading it and commenting on it.

Laura said...

bravo. i celebrate your courage.

sometimesacactus said...

Train ride. Helluva train ride. Like on one of those European bullet trains that speed through the countryside but not so fast that you can't still see how amazing it is. And then they slow down and pull into the cities--right in the heart of them--and you can't wait to get off and see it but also can't wait for another ride.

Here's to more of CJane's countrysides and cities.

You are a gift for taking us on the ride with you.

Merci.

Heather said...

learning to own your past is not only courageous, it is powerful.

For me, I too needed to talk about it and unravel it before I could embrace it.

The past can only hurt you today...if you let it. You are a multifaceted person, it is simply one dimension of you. Good Luck in your journey...I'm sure you get this a lot, but man I wished you lived down the street from me, I think we'd have a great- and irreverent- time together!

TennesseeCassie said...

Ohmygoodness, nineteen swallowed me up too and didn't spit me out until I was twenty-five, so I hear you on sitting with it before writing it up. So, yeah!!! I am looking forward to hearing about the now with the sweet husband and beautiful children and wonderful, tenderly strong you.

Mec said...

I've learned a lot of things from reading your blog: I've learned what it means to be a Mormon in todays world, what it was like to be a Mormon teenager, the beauty in trusting your body to birth a baby on it's on terms in your own house, about listening to my body and really hearing what it wants and needs, I've learned a lot of things, too many to mention them all. But one of the most important things I have learned from this blog is that there is a great beauty and strength in being brave enough to write what's in your heart, even when you know it may be widely unpopular. Writing it even when you know that many will misinterpret your words, knowing some may even be hurt by them. This bravery and beauty of yours, I believe, comes from all that makes up your life stories, from the very beginning to now. So take the breaks that you need, and write what you want to write, when you want to write it. Just never stop being so brave, because it's beautiful.

natter said...

I don't think anybody is particularly proud of who they were at nineteen, the fact it upsets you just shows what a different person you are now.

Christine said...

I have chills. You are brave and real.You are my good friend and I don't even know you. I know,
I'm a nerd! Keep saying it like it is. It's what makes you so amazing.

KJ said...

You are something special. That is why I read.

Nancy said...

Everyone is a train wreck...in their own special way. That's what life is. Some try to mask from themselves (and others) with euphoric blogs and Facebook posts and photos, but it doesn't change the truth. Instead of waiting for the big day when things will slow down, the ship will come in, and we will have "arrived" at this blissful state in our lives, we need to realize that no matter what our impression is of what our lives should look like compared to others, this is life: the stress, the hurried circus, the feelings of insecurity, the failures, the things "not going as planned", and the drama. This is life.
And then we experience it, we face it, and (hopefully) overcome it.
....and that's what makes it beautiful.

Bits and Pieces of Me...Emily! said...

I love reading your posts! So write what you want, when you want, and guess what? We'll all keep reading. And I'm glad I am not the only mom who takes her kids to the park to tire them out for bedtime. can we say mommy time? Why, yes, yes we can! And maybe there is reason why we don't stay 19. I never want to be 19 again. And am glad I am now 32 and can think back and say, thank goodness I have grown!

nielsons*love*family said...

19 is a hard self to revisit--probably for LOTS of people. i have REALLY enjoyed reading these posts. they are HONEST, thoughtful, REAL, they make me think. I'll keep reading no matter if it's "past" posts or "current life" ones!

Keep Calm and Carrie On said...

I've loved your past-life posts, especially the more awkward/painful ones -- only because I can identify with them, as we all can, and it's nice to know we aren't alone with those feelings then or now.

Is 19 some kind of tipping point, where you become the worst possible version of yourself? Because that's what happened to me, and it seems to be what happened to a lot of other readers too.

Once you let you 19-year-old self in, just sit her down and firmly explain the ground rules. Looking forward to the posts in August, but excited to catch up with your life as it is now too ;)

Matt and Tiana said...

When I first read about you opening the door and slamming it shut on your 19 year old self, I laughed then cried.

I quickly contemplated what I'd tell myself at 19. My first thought would be to open the door, wag my finger, and chastize her for all the big mistakes she could never take back.

Then after a bit I realized I'd hug her and whisper stay the course, don't fall in those traps, it will all work out just as you've dreamed.

Let's hear about the here and now. When you are ready, we'll be here along with our 19 year old shadows.

Becca said...

This: I have to say I like you much more since you started blogging no-holds-barred about your life. I feel kind of ugly saying that, but you being honest and inviting my understanding has made me more compassionate toward you. YES!!


and also, we all have those train wreck periods. Mine happened at 25-27 and then I went to therapy and then I met my husband. it's what makes life real. But i have to say, when sorting out a storage space last summer i found my journals from that time and promptly shredded them without reading. you are braver than I.

Wonder Woman said...

19 was my roughest year. It would have been a complete train wreck had I not jumped off the train. (Which hurts. A LOT.)

Ever is just a few months older than my girl. I love reading about her and thinking, "I'll be there in 3 months." My daughter is starting 2- and 3- words sentences. "Mom! Woof-woof outside!" when she lets the dog out. Melts my heart.

And like everyone else has said, you do WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT when it comes to your story and your blog. You're awesome, Courtney.

Sarah Jane said...

Ahhh, it's like when you're favorite sitcom goes of the air due to contract negotiations!
Fine, do what you need to do. I'm sure I'll keep reading in the meantime!:)
Peace.

funderson said...

I read your blog for beautiful insights. My own truths are buried under layer upon layer of bs nonsense, and I very much appreciate your well worded thoughts that help my stuff come bubbling up. You're WAY cheaper than my non-pro bono therapist.

ctully said...

You are terrific!

Amy said...

This is your blog. Write about what you want, when you want about what you want. Period.

Just keep writing :)

CSB said...

Perfect - perfectly said, perfectly written, makes perfect sense.

The train wreck comment, however, doesn't make sense. For some bloggers, yes, but not for you. Still, if it motivates you to keep writing, great for us as your readers. Thank you for being authentic during this process.

Ashley said...

Sounds great! And what is TMI anyways? It's your life so you are the only one that can dictate just how much information is enough.

My thought is that if it has happened to us in our life, then it is truth, and that is worth sharing- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here's to the warts and all!

marian said...

I'm the most grateful for the people in my life who have let me grow up and do not hold my former self over my current self.

"Have a cool summer and stay sweet"

jbel said...

C Jane, the neat thing about you is that you blog about the bad stuff too, not only the good. That is why people relate to you. Life simply isn't ALL roses. Thanks for keepin' it real.

Erica said...

Thank you. I needed to read this. I'm working on making peace with my past. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who didn't like their 19 yr. old self.

Tracee said...

In the words of the oh so lovable Shawn Mullins, "What a Beautiful Wreck You Are..."

My girl was a late talker. Now she won't shut up. Of course. She's 10. I figure we have another few years before she stops talking to us again.

How many full circles do we go through with our kids? Has someone counted?

Unknown said...

You have the ability to write in ways that most don’t. The fact that it’s how your life has been lived is even more amazing; most especially in a public forum. Some people say you should write about life when your feelings are still raw so you can remember exactly what was happening. Others write once they’ve processed the information. I’m more inclined to the latter. When I read about your panic attack, I saw it happening. There was a change in your voice throughout the previous posts that many recognized. I was sad and scared for you and in part for me. When you feel so deeply, it is close to impossible not to relive some of the associated feelings of the past. How far do you want to draw yourself in? Can you be drawn in and still come out in one piece because you have a new perspective? Does the fear of becoming “that” person again keep you away from it? I’m confident you are not the same person and you can go in and come back out without regressing. But go in safely. Only you know how to find that safety. You’ll know when it is time. I love this C. Jane Kendrick whom I’ve never met; perhaps because she helps me love me.

C. Jane said...

These are the most beautiful comments I've had in my seven years of blogging (it's my blogging anniversary this week.

thank you. a million pieces of thank you.

Natasha and Jesse said...

Even though I don't know you in person, I love you and your writing!

Ali said...

Take all the time you need! Keep in mind that most of us did incredibly stupid things in our lives, especially when we were 19! Oh sheesh, I'm just glad Facebook didn't exist back then.

And can I say, I lived in Utah for junior high, high school, college and a few years after college. I was not mormon. It was very hard to live there at times because I wasn't mormon. I now live in Texas, but I know the Utah Mormon culture well, and really consider it part of my culture, even though I didn't truly fit in. Anyway, thank you for writing honestly about all of it. Especially with your life stories, you put it all out there, good and bad, which is not typical from my Utah experience. (though I realize it is like that everywhere, people hide the bad) Anyway, thank you for doing that. Good for you for doing it!

let's jet! said...

I was looking forward to the continuation of your "Summer" blog. Just know...that we get it. We get that life isn't always super cute and picture perfect. I am so impressed and touched by your courage to even hint about we all know is coming up in your next "Summer" blog post. Go ahead...take as long as you need to process it. And...when you come out the other end of it in August and choose not to share. We will all love ya anyway!

let's jet! said...

I love that you want to slam the door on your 19 year old self. Maybe if I'd been a little more like you at 19...I wouldn't have the incredible urge to slam the damn door on the 40 year old me. :(

iwent said...

Your most recent life story about being a young adult in a share house for the first time finally spoke to me, maybe because I'm 25 and I so recently went through the same experiences.

I to have an experience from my past that I don't want to remember but it's time to face it as what it was and what I am not now. I know how you feel, it's difficult to dredge up those emotions and memories that you spent so long burying and ignoring.

I'm at the point in my life where I'm digging up the 19yr old and facing that past so I can finally move on. Although right now it feels like I'm facing it with only a child's shovel and pail.

Take all the time you need, write what you want to write and you know you have friends online.

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) said...

What is WRONG with these judgmental people who comment with such rancor? Who probably do not have the courage to make their own (also flawed) lives public?

It's so easy to insult people in blog comments. Please do not pay these idiots any attention. They must be terribly boring.
People are only interesting because of their human-ness, and that means warts at all.

Oh, this aggravates me. I wish readers felt like commenting on my own blog; comments are rare-- but maybe now I don't. So buck up, sugar. They ain't worth a thought.

Camille said...

As much as I regret my 19 year decisions, if my 19 year old self would look at my 35 year old me, I'm sure I would shudder, get upset and crank up some Smashing Pumpkins.
I love my 30's!

YummiMummi said...

Well, if we are going to be honest here, I read your blog every single day just so I don't miss it when you tell me how to make my brown hair go as successfully and beautifully blonde as yours.

xoxo

Darcy said...

I love your train wreck (and I love mine too) thanks for sharing your past and your present!

karen gerstenberger said...

Please tell Page to write that down and tell every pregnant woman she meets the same thing, if they will listen to her. If I had known that before I had my children, things would have been very different in their deliveries. (I think it is especially true for any woman who has been sexually abused, as I was.)

MB said...

I come to your blog because you write exquisitely beautifully. I know other people say this but, it speaks to me and my experiences. I like your blog better than most because it's honest. and funny and unique. So, thanks :)

Whimcees said...

Hello,

When you had not posted on Tuesday with the continuation of your story and then still had not this morning when I came to visit, I was afraid that you had tried to take on too much at one time and I was concerned for you.

When one writes as openly and honestly as you do, one becomes very vulnerable - and this can be frightening. Know that your willingness to share your life is very brave indeed and you help many others to know that there is someone who knows and understands. But you need to take care of yourself first - and be very careful how much of you that you share before you are ready.

You have made a wise decision to take some time from your story until you are at peace with it and have accepted it for what it was when it was. I am 71 years old and I can tell you that I still can meet my 17 year old self with sadness and questioning of how my entire life was affected and continued in this same confused and frightening journey. We are all train wrecks dear girl, that's what life is. Hopefully we can find understanding and loving people along the way who see us for who we are not what we have done. You have that in the love from your wonderful husband and your precious children.

Be safe in that love and in your strong faith and enjoy writing of the miracles that happen every day in your life. You are in a beautiful place in your life - live it and find pleasure in it. Thank you for sharing it all with us - I find such joy in reading of your children and your journey with your husband and friends and family.

You are a writer - never forget that - and some day you will continue to share some of the more painful times in your life. When you are ready. Until then, take care of yourself first. You are loved by many.

Hugs,

Barbara Diane

The Garbison family said...

I cringed reading how someone hurt your feelings. You are SO not a train wreck, ever. Thank you so much for being YOU. Anyone who watches your "I'm a Mormon" video and hears your charming, sincere testimony should be able to see that you are anything BUT a train wreck. LOVE

Gigi Gamboa said...

Well, I have to admit that I am sad not to get to hear about the rest of your life story in the very very near future.

But also, I really like when you go back on things you already said you were going to do, because maybe it's okay for me to do that every once in a while too.


Thanks CJane.

Hannah Mudge said...

I know the feeling about being nineteen. I think it's important to work through the past and any issues it throws up, otherwise it just keeps coming back to haunt us. Learnt that a long time ago and it was very freeing to deal with a lot of stuff that had held me back.

I am LoW said...

I once commented on your status on fb about NOT writing about something (can't remember the details!) and you kind of defended it by saying something about honesty.

As a non-writer, U don't get why one needs to write SO much that they share everything??

I once wrote about a tough time in my life (18 year old self) on my blog and I sugar coated it and I don't care what anyone thinks of that b/c it ain't nobodies business!!! :)

LeaHall said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. CJane, I love you! It takes (forgive me) major balls to write the way you do, and it's messy and it's painfully beautiful.

What you wrote about your 19-year-old self resonated with me big-time, hence the comment.

I'm not a huge fan of my 19-year old self either. But like it or not, she's a part of me, and she has shaped me.

I hope you learn to love your 19-year-old self. Eventually, I hope to learn to love mine as well.

Transplanted Italian said...

You have taught me and continue to teach me so much! Thank you.

dc said...

It looks like there is some spam right above the comments-- some attractive young women who want us to click and chat.

sarah said...

I'm so bummed to have to wait for your next installment. But totally understand! I really, really want to hear how you escaped an abusive relationship. I'm dealing with a mental and verbal abuse situation right now and it's so misunderstood:(. Which makes it harder to break free. I look forward to reading whatever you write!
Thank you

sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I can not wait for you to be in Phoenix for some reason, and for me to somehow run into you (where will it be, LGO? Smeeks? Short Leash?), and to fight with myself to remember to be respectfully distant, because while I am a stranger to you and yours, you never feel like a stranger to me. XOXO

Story said...

I love this decision.

Blogging Vanities said...

I love your blog. Thank you for writing, you're teaching me a lot.

love, carrie.

The Nixons said...

Love your blog!

Lyndsay said...

I totally know what you mean about reliving things. I do the same thing when I have to revisit the past like that. It can be totally consuming. Take your time, and we'll be waiting to read the next installment when you're ready (if you feel ready). :)

GollyGeeMrs.B said...

C Jane I love your style. Where do you shop?

Jenna said...

I have been called a train wreck many, many times. Thanks for putting a new spin on the insult (I'm sure it will keep coming, but now it doesn't have to make me so sad).

Aubrey said...

Your writing is a gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love the personal stuff best...I feel deeply. I appreciate the comments also. The intelligence of your readers speaks to the quality of your work. Can't wait for more.

Katherine Of It All said...

To and from our train wrecks. Love that. We all have our own trajectory.