Beyond Inspiration: The Continuously Fractured Life.


Friends, apparently there was some crazy stuff going on with Blogger the other day. On Monday, I shared some of my thoughts on faith. As this next post in my Beyond Inspiration Series touches on faith, I wanted to get the discussion started.

I am so happy to introduce you to a real-life friend of mine, Ashleigh. Not only is she amazing in person, she's also amazing on her blog, which is lucky for you because you probably don't know her in person. Ashleigh blogs over at The Continuously Fractured Life, where she shares about women's issues, racial reconciliation, faith, and poverty. Ashleigh challenges and poses questions and wrestles through some difficult topics. I am so glad to know her and to have the opportunity to share her with all of you. I hope you'll check out her blog and join the discussion.



1. Could you tell us a little about your blog? What inspired you to begin?

I started my blog as a way to process work and life experiences surrounding race, poverty, gender, and spirituality. I’ve always best understood life through writing it out and I find that I best express myself and communicate with the world in that way too. Part of the inspiration came from wanting to talk about these things all the time, without talking about them all the time. I’ve kept this blog for two years and have added a section where I recommend documentaries (which I am obsessed with), and a Top Three Things I Like This Week section, which is self-explanatory. When I started grad school last year in a Women’s and Gender Studies Program I was both inspired and anxious and used the blog to share ideas and theories I was learning and harping on in school. I hoped to expand the conversation about Feminism within my own group of friends and I think it’s worked really well.


2. How does your faith play a role in your blog?


I don’t usually set out to write specifically about faith because often faith-based blogging is not welcoming to everybody. It’s a niche I don’t want to be in. I set out to take ideas out of my head and share them, and faith comes with that process. Faith is something that’s inextricably attached to my life and thought patterns, and so it bleeds through in my writing. I use my blog to try and better understand the world and suggest better conversations around race, poverty, and gender – not to preach about faith. I don’t think that’s my place in the world and people are always more receptive to you when you’re conversational. I’m interested in writing for everybody, not just for Christians or for people interested in religion. If I write a blog only for that segment of the reading public, I mention it at the beginning so people know to whom I’m writing. But, everyone is always welcome to read, I just want non-religious readers to be prepared for language or themes that might not be familiar.


3. Your blog is so very different than many faith-based blogs I've seen. What challenges does this present you?


I don’t necessarily consider my blog a faith-based one although, I do write about faith quite a lot, again, because I think about it a lot. I like to think of my blog as an extension of loving God with my mind – something written about in the Gospels – not as a blog about faith or Christianity or proving either of those things. A far as specific blogging challenges go, I’ve noticed that the majority of female bloggers who are also Christians write about a few things and in a few ways. There is a lot about being a wife, a mother, a crafter, a fashionable lady or a mix of those things because those are comfortable topics, and they’re also gendered so that they’re topics that seemingly define women. I’m also sensitive to the fact that we only talk about gender and sexuality (two of my main topics) in two or three ways, even though those things do not exist in the world in such a flat system. I would love to read more straight, cisgendered women writing to better understand the LGBTQ community. We currently don’t do a very good job at that; we’re too busy defining them in relation to the aforementioned comfortable topics.
I also use my blog to communicate fears and frustrations with being a person of faith and a person who identifies as a Feminist. I’m trying to navigate two identities (although I have others), both of which have various stereotypes attached to them, without being pigeonholed by either of them, which has proved difficult and rewarding. Popularly, both communities have misunderstood and regretted the other one – whittling an identity down to a few assumed beliefs. I hope some of my writing calls for us to stop doing that – we owe it to one another.  


4. What keeps you inspired to continue sharing your thoughts and viewpoints?


It sounds ridiculous but I constantly worry about having no thoughts left to write about. Like I’ll suddenly stop caring about the world and then have nothing to dissect or comment on – but that never happens. Inspiration comes from everywhere and if you’re a writer, you are writing 24 hours a day in your head. I find inspiration in conversations with friends, on my bus ride to work, in reading for school, in movies, in the Psalms, in music, in the language other people use –
I find new viewpoints in peace and in being overwhelmed. There’s really no formula.  The world is always fracturing apart or becoming whole in new ways, all the time. I am always encouraged when I read blogs addressing those comfortable topics in complex ways that involve uncomfortable dynamics. What does it mean to be a mother to a differently-cultural, adopted child? What does that dynamic mean to that child? What does it mean to be a married woman who is the household’s primary breadwinner? What does it mean to be an artist living in an under-resourced community, who is concerned with consumerism? I know women addressing all these questions and they inspire me by actively looking for new ways to see the same world. Matthew 13 says that the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field and when a seeker finds the treasure, he goes and sells everything and buys the whole field. I love that. He buys the entire field, not just this one piece of treasure. The idea of the whole field inspires me.


5. How does your blog/writing contribute to a fuller version of yourself?
Of course. The best way I know to share my thoughts is to write them out. I am the Queen of follow-up emails after conversations that stuck with me for the rest of the day.  As an introvert who spends a lot of time in my head, I’ve found writing to help me share thoughts I don’t feel comfortable sharing until they’re complete. Writing has helped me to explain things that overwhelm me in ways I would otherwise have trouble vocally expressing. I read once that when something touches you deeply, you will have a hard time talking about it and I definitely resonate with that. It’s why people who are in love have a hard time adequately expressing their feelings; it’s just too deep to verbalize at once. Writing connects my thought life with my physical life, which most definitely contributes to a fuller version of me.



I'm so thankful to Ashleigh for being so open and willing to share! Please be sure to check her out and join in the on-going discussion.
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2 comments:

  1. A blog from one of my favorite people about another one of my favorite people... oh, sweet Wednesday!

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  2. Such a beautifully written post. Truly inspiring!

    Also, I have nominated you for the Versitile Blogger Award. It has been so fun to work with you and get to know you. I love reading your posts and am excited to continue this blogging relationship! You can see the award post here:
    http://arielonawhim.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-versatile-blogger-award.html

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