Unfiltered: Breaking Barriers and Nerding Out

Tonight I decided that I needed to clean my desk before I got any internship work done. Like all of my other big projects, this turned into about seven smaller projects, but at least this time I actually finished most of them. All I wanted to do was put the scattered papers into a neat pile to make room for my laptop, but instead I ended up pulling out each and every piece of paper, notebook, and folder to go through and examine before deciding which of the several piles it needed to go in. Sure, a five minute task took me two hours, but my desk is clean, my binders are organized for school, and my written portfolio has been updated. And now I can sit at my desk and actually get some work done without being distracted by the clutter. I have a few candles lit, the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack is playing quietly in the background, and I’m happy.

And while a clean desk is often enough to put me in a better mood, that’s not the only reason I’m smiling tonight. While I was going through my pile of papers and notebooks, I found an old moleskin journal I forgot I even had. I didn’t even remember what it was used for, so I started thumbing through the pages. There were brainstorm entries for this blog. A few lists of YouTube ideas. A schedule for blog posts last summer. But in the middle of all these lists and schedules, there was one journal entry. I figured I must have just used it as a journal when I couldn’t find my actual journal, but no. I had intended to use that journal, apparently because I wanted to talk about the recent frustration I had been dealing with because of writer’s block.

I almost stopped reading the entry to move on to a notebook that caught my eye, but instead I read on. The rest of the entry didn’t have a whole lot to do with writing or YouTube. But the words I had written made me smile, not because they were happy words, but because I looked at the date alongside them and knew what happened just a few months later. Here’s a section of the entry:

This may sound strange, but I feel like I’m not living my life as fully as possible, at least in terms of expressing the way my mind functions. I don’t think the way most of my friends think, so I’m always filtering myself. I only speak what I think othersย might find interesting, and even then I still feel that only a few people actually listen to and appreciate my line of thinking. I think I might be a closeted nerd. I hold back the things that no one else cares about.

I just want someone to nerd out with. Someone who likes the same things I like. Someone who I can be myself with and not feel like I’m boring them to death. If only I could findย one person, maybe I might not feel so trapped inside my own thoughts.

This entry was written in the spring of last year, just before two kind of important things happened to me: YouTube and Oxford. Vlogging on YouTube was kind of the first step in helping me see that I had a voice, and I made some amazing friends while doing it last summer. But then Oxford happened, and that’s where I finally understood what it was like to be me, unfiltered. And now that I’m back in Michigan and haven’t had the time to vlog as often, I’m still in a pretty good place. I’ve finally seen what it’s like to let those barriers down, and I’m not afraid to be who I am anymore.

Having learned how to just be me is such a blessing, but it’s not what I’m smiling about. I’m smiling because I didn’t just get my wish. I’m smiling because I wanted one person to understand me, one person that I could just be me with. And I can just imagine God seeing me write that entry last year, possibly even laughing a little bit, and saying “Just wait. You want just one? I’m going to give you so much more than that.”

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