This is my voice. That you can hear it is unusual. I don’t use it often. Listen carefully in conversation with me, and you’ll hear me speak like you, use your vocabulary, your accent, your tone. Write to me, and I’ll mirror your style. I’m a master of mimicry. But this blog, this space, this is my voice.
The imitation is intentional. I want you to like me. I’m desperate for you to like me. So I try to make you believe I’m as similar to you as I possibly can. Part of me knows this isn’t how friendliness works. The part that has classes of five-year-olds torn in two, over the question ‘Do best friends ever argue?’. The irony is that that means that half of them understand friends can be different – and I don’t. I want you to like me. And to this end, the drive to similarity is strong enough to override any intellectual reasoning about what I’m doing. I daren’t argue with you. Not unless I’ve come to really, deeply trust you. Most of the time, that’s too risky. I might lose you if I do that.
In this pretence, there have been positives. I’ve come deeper into my own faith, by trying to be like Christian friends. I’ve fallen in love with Taizé (only one week until I am there again….) and with silent prayer and reflection. I’ve rediscovered swimming, and crochet, and I’ve read some wonderful books. I write.
But Christianity, one part of Christianity, is about being true to oneself. Misrepresenting my feelings, my likes and dislikes to fit in with yours, leads to confusion: I don’t know what I want, how I really feel, or who I truly am. It’s all too tangled up and in a knot with who you are. When I’m alone, this is terrifying. I don’t know what to think or feel.
But I can write. And I want to be true to the person God intended me to be. This writing, this voice, is a precious beginning. It’s one space when I hear me. I thank God for that. And I pray for courage to think more for myself, express who I am, in God, in writing, and beyond writing.