This morning I spoke at a church. It was the third one in the past month, and I'm somewhat surprised how comfortable it's started to feel.
Not that I ever disliked public speaking (on the contrary, I really kind of enjoy it––it's talking to people that I struggle with––not at them), it's just public speaking about myself that gets me. There's something about talking about myself with sureness that's really difficult. "Wait!" you say, "You blog somewhat regularly, and blogging is by definition about you, isn't it?" Well, yes, and no. When I blog I talk about things I've experienced, things I've done, and, when I do rarely broach the subjects of who I actually am and what I believe about my life and what I want, I can do it with complete honesty about that fact that I'm really quite unsure that I'm giving the correct narrative of those things.
The kind of speaking I've been doing for the past few months just doesn't have room for any unsureness. So I speak with sureness. About myself. And being sure of myself is deeply dishonest.
I'm not saying I have serious doubts about anything that people would normally be concerned about, or that I'm intentionally misleading anyone about anything. It's just whenever I honestly think about my life, there are so many competing narratives that I trip over them. They chase each others' tales and weave in and out of their neighbors and sometimes completely contradict one another. They hide behind themselves so I can never see them all at once and swirl around on all sides so no matter how wide a lens I use I can never see the whole structure at the same time. I couldn't ever say which was right unless I could see them all, and I can never see them all because I'm always living one of them.
How can you say for sure what the Milky Way looks like when you're part of it? How can I look people in the eye and tell them who I am when I am me?
It's disturbing, but somehow I've become comfortable with it.
And I'm not sure what I think of that.