"Writing does have consequences.
Especially if you tell the truth...
However, I am quite sure that if you
tell the truth, you will feel something real."
~Marion Roach Smith
"I had to face myself and the truth of my passions:
all things wild, including words, words that
could not be tamed, words that if cut would bleed,
not words cautiously rendered,
dressed up and disguised."
~Terry Tempest Williams
"Incongruent living is exhausting."
I stopped writing Christmas letters three years ago.
It seemed to me, as I wrote them year after year, that no one would want to know the not-so-pretty stuff of our average days. And why would I want to write of that stuff anyway, to those family and friends who never see me, instead of the sanitized only-the-good version? So I carefully chipped out of our year the accomplishments and ta-da's of each member of my family, painting us in pastels with fine brush strokes that had no defined edges.
But words have consequences, even true words. When I found out that far away people I loved (the ones that only had those yearly printed Christmas snapshots as evidence) had an air-brushed view of our life, I had the naivete to be surprised.
And yet, who writes, "my youngest has an anger issues", or "I've been struggling with depression for years", or "our house always looks like a disaster" in a Christmas letter?
So I stopped writing them.
It was just about a year ago that I made the internal promise to live authentically. This does not mean that I will shout from the rooftops any little wrinkle in my life, or gush every feeling I have, but it does mean that in my own quiet way I will live truthfully. I will assess myself, my faith, my relationships, my calendar with eyes that are clear and open. I will speak truth to myself, and to those around me, instead of hiding and trying to impress.
This promise I made. It's about the stripping away of all that clouds my intention to have a one-piece life.
So this year a Christmas photo card will go out for the first time since The Year the Christmas Letters Stopped. It will be unaccompanied. It will be a true snapshot without elaboration, and without the clutter of only part of the story.
"But above all, in order to be, never try to seem."