I am Emmylou F. Iman and I have things to share with you about Faith, Friendships, Family, and Fun.
But first, a little context. Writing in this blog again when blogs are almost dead and doing the podcast again in the middle of an audio boom while keeping up with a highly-demanding graduate school life is not the savviest life goal. But I like writing and I like speaking.
In short, I like sharing my thoughts – not all – just some. There are still things I don’t share in public. Most things, actually. I express myself better in writing and then when I’m done writing about it, I speak about it. I share it with those who are not only willing to listen (in the podcast and/or in my actual-right-now life interactions) or read (in this blog) but with those who are also inclined to throw in a thought or two.
So to spread this bravery of sharing my thoughts, a little bit of my story, and offer my perspectives, I am in your ears and online.
The goal of this blog and of the podcast is to go beyond the highlight reels of social media. Real-life consists of talks about deep, hard issues that we struggle with and need verbal processing and silly, mundane information – where to shop cheap, new skincare and new diets, books we’re reading, budget-friendly meals, and just about anything under the sun.
The world is getting louder each day with social media screaming and information at our fingertips, the most important conversations have gotten lost in the noise. We’re all talking but we’re not connecting. John Maxwell wrote a book about this “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect…” We’re telling but we’re not listening. Even if we appear to be listening, our minds are actually busy formulating what to say next or wandering off to what we could be doing.
CHANGING SEASONS. CHANGING TIMES.
My friends and I, between marriages and babies, careers and ministry, and debts and mortgages, we no longer speak regularly. We think because we caught up on Facebook or Instagram, we were caught up with each other. When I reached out for an invitation to hang over coffee or dinner, they could not come.
With changing life seasons and new priorities, a girl’s night out or a lazy afternoon hangout is no longer doable. Finally, I stopped reaching out not resenting that they could not come, but accepting that we now have different seasons. This is life.
The Bible is clear about how there is a time for everything. Just because we disconnected doesn’t mean I unfriended. It takes a wise soul to know the difference. When I realized that most of my interactions have been reduced to commenting on each other’s photos and clicking on a thumbs up or any form of emoticons, I stopped being on Facebook and posted on Instagram sporadically until I switched the private account button on and let all my social media accounts lie dormant. And focused on those who were in front of me – old ones and new ones.
Releasing what’s in our hearts and in our minds with a trusted friend and a safe community is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It really is. Holding in our emotions and letting the junk swirl in our minds makes us sick. Pretending someone we’re not will make us even sicker. Projecting an ‘everything-is-fine’ image will make us the sickest. Projecting perfection will not do us any good.
NOT ALL ABOUT ME
In my season of deepest loneliness – betrayal, death, and loss – that stretched through years, the two big things that helped me and changed things for me were starting this blog and intentionally paying more attention to the people in front of me. Basically, taking a step forward and being brave to let my thoughts out into the world wide web, and making my life not all about me.
Opening my eyes to see and letting myself be seen were the catalysts that helped me go from one season to another. It was a huge risk but a risk worth taking regardless of the worst that can happen. Why? Because I know at least one person in the world is going through what I have gone through and would very much want to know if they can get through it.
Now, when I feel myself start to shut down or more inclined to make myself smaller, I make my heart bigger and cast my net wider. I think it was Brené Brown who said it was the way to wholehearted living. A big part of why I am a face-to-face person is not just talking or sharing but listening. This is why I’d rather do life face-to-face not screen-on-screen. I want to listen not only to the voice and the tone but the body language.
I am thankful to connect with friends on Viber or Telegram, especially to those who are far and away, but there’s nothing like talking and listening in the flesh. This is why I look forward to when my friends come home or when I get to visit them where they are. The faces don’t get blurry, there is no reading between the lines, and gestures aren’t delayed.
When I finally started listening to the voices I trust including my own deep inner voice that I’ve put on mute, this is when things started opening up. Friends who were silently struggling started to open up. I quit certain behaviors, projects, and relationships (yes, relationships) that have not been working for a while that I continued to hold on to when clearly it’s time to let it go. This opening – being the student instead of the teacher – all comes back to listening. The other side of the conversation is vital.
All these said I am making a shift in this blog. Again? Yes, again. Most of my online diary writings have been shelved or deleted. I no longer write my rants and ramblings on here. I’ve spent too much time not starting things in life because I’m not sure how they will end. But I no longer want to be scared of endings, nor of beginnings. I want to be braver even if it means I will be judged.
But this time, let me tell you upfront. This is an experiment. Maybe, I will run out of thoughts to publicly share with you. That’s okay. This is my space and I have permission to proceed as I please. Although my brave has not yet reached the point of enabling the comments box at the end of each post.
A NEW VISION
I want to explain a little bit about my vision for this experiment – giving online writing another try. I will mostly write and talk about three main things – faith, friendships, and family. This means Jesus and One Another.
I write about Jesus and my faith in Him.
I write about friendships – the good, the bad, and the good, again.
I write about family – biological family, spiritual family, or school family. Whatever or whoever I consider family.
And I write about fun – my kind of fun, i.e., reading & conversations, travel & adventures, journaling & introspection. I know some people will not categorize this as fun but this is fun for me.
Expect one blog post per week. In each blog post, I might leave you with one question. I encourage you to take that question and think about it. Use it as your journaling topic or make it a conversation piece with a friend.
Also, in this blog, most often you will read my writing. Sometimes, I’ll have friends who have something interesting to share write a post as a guest in this online space. My name is in the domain but I do not need to be the only voice you can listen to or read here.
I will try to keep my posts 800 to 1200 word count – long enough to let you in the details of the story and short enough for you to read in 4-8 minutes on average. Something that you can do within commute or break time.
For those of you who have been here since the first day in 2007, thank you for staying, for putting up with the long silence & all the experiments I’ve been doing in this space, and ultimately for keeping me company.
To those who are new, welcome. And thank you for being here.