Conspicuous truth has curious timing.
(Hi, y’all. It’s good to be back.)
While reviewing the first draft of Wanderlings The Zine : Issue Two :: JOYRIDE with the editorial team (of which I’m a member), I quietly pulled focus for a moment. On pages 62 – 63, we ask the reader:
Who are you becoming when you slow down and create with the world around you?
A rather intense inquiry but exquisite in its ability to elicit self-reflection precisely. I was caught off guard by my visceral response.
I don’t know. Fuck.
Intellectually, I’ve always known who I was becoming. When I was a child, I was becoming a professional dancer and performer. In college, I was becoming an astute academic. In my early career, I was becoming a fundraiser and event producer.
Throughout my life, I’ve always been a writer.
But my knowing who I’m becoming or who I am hadn’t been as defined in the past few years. This uncertainty was juxtaposed with that on which I’d been solid: my boundaries, proclivities, preferences, and interests. The clash of my confidence with my tentativeness was confusing and derailing.
Not one to sit idly by, my frustration led me to join the Wanderlings team last year. I discerned that being a member of the #wandercrew would, at the very least, tap the brakes on my frenetic anxiety, hold me accountable to creating something, and hopefully sharpen my focus of self-discovery.
I’ve considered Wanderlings creative director Suzanne Hansen Ofeldt a dear friend for 14 years; we grew up together professionally in the southern California wedding and event market. We became friends when we realized that not only could we pass for sisters, but we could hang with each other effortlessly. We’re both direct, art worshipping coffee addicts who love whiskey, whimsey, and world travel.
Suzanne requested I write a piece for Issue Two and said, “The theme is ‘joyride’. Write whatever you want.” Akin to where I was at that moment in life, I’d no idea what the impetus for my article would be. I started and stopped writing repeatedly; everything I produced felt inauthentic and dull. I’d just moved into my new apartment; was job hunting and growing increasingly nervous about money; and fostering a lingering heartbreak. Depression was setting in, and producing value anywhere in my life seemed nearly impossible.
To repeat: Conspicuous truth has curious timing. Past experience taught me that my propensity for depression’s a superpower of sorts. I become so done and over everything that my anger becomes fuel, and my despair becomes a telescope to see beyond the bullshit.
One night, mid-October, at the height of sadness, I harnessed my article’s topic and wrote my way towards healing. More on that later.
In Issue One :: HAPPENSTANCE of Wanderlings, Suzanne and co-creator Jenna Nienhuis revealed in their editors’ letter that the magazine was their “response to a call from the creative wilderness” as both were grieving and healing. “While we have our unique challenges, it’s been our preoccupation with beauty in the world that has brought us together to create in this space.”
As I was writing “To Joyride” for the haven Suzanne and Jenna built, I realized I was answering a call from myself: Just be, Bek, and write. It’s who you are and who you’ve always been. It’s how you uncover your purpose. Always has been.
I know. Fuck.
If there’s anything that the surrealness of 2020 has taught me, it’s that, to quote writer Glennon Doyle, “Nice is a peacekeeper. Honest is a peacemaker.” I’ve wanted to keep things nice these past years out of emotional burnout but my writing – my soul’s outlet – doesn’t allow for that. Writing memoir and sharing truth in an uncertain world is honest play. It’s hard work. But it’s real and it’s ME.
I’m forever grateful that an invitation to wander revealed the road ahead. Not the becoming; the being.
More to come.