I am a writer, photographer, designer, editor, musician, and amateur videographer who loves the process of creating. I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and will be attending University of Missouri for my master's in Convergence Journalism in the fall. I love to capture the world around me and add to the creative movement. Because I have been loved, I try to use every moment to give love. I don't always succeed, but each day I'm taking steps, moving and growing into whom I was made to be. Visit my professional site at www.alexandrajacobi.com.
So this past Sunday, I took the leap and finally went to my first church in Columbia: Woodcrest.
And the message was so relevant to my recent conversations with God that I almost laughed out loud despite wanting to cry at the same time because of my rough week (see anxieties that made that week rough here). Right now, Woodcrest is beginning a series related to the Myers Briggs test, how we can analyze who we are to help us better accept who we are and accept who others are, gaining a perspective of how God uses all of us in his kingdom. This beginning message touched on what we would be exploring in the weeks to come, the first element being introversion versus extroversion. We took a short true/false quiz to help us measure our level of introversion. I marked every single one with the resounding confidence of true, meaning that I am super-dee-duper introvert.
The attributes above have caused me so much strife in trying to be a functioning member of society. I don’t want to go to that party that everyone else wants to go to; I’d rather take a walk and have a one-on-one conversation about literally anything you want to have a conversation about. I sound stupid half of the time because I am the best expressionist in writing. Ask me to give a spur-of-the-moment address to the group? I’ll probably fumble to quickly make a list in writing because speaking off the top of my head never goes well. I don’t always talk a lot because I need to take in the facts and responses of others before responding. Also, I need to get to know you before reaching my actual potential as a coworker or friend. When you’re a new person in my world, my brain freezes and struggles to form proper sentences and thought patterns.
When I was a kid, I wished I had a remote control so I could hit pause on life, to stop the world’s turning for just a moment so I could process it. I also wished I had invisibility powers. Just give me a moment to escape and internalize, a moment to hide away from the external world that is foreign and half of the time doesn’t make sense. Give me time to be in my most comfortable mode: thinking. My brain and its constant churning of ideologies and theories is comfortable. I can’t tell you how many external settings I’ve tuned out in favor of my brain.
This odd mode of functioning has hindered me in so many ways, but has also given me fulfillment in so many ways. If it weren’t for my introversion, I probably wouldn’t be a writer, honestly. I’d probably be like a public speaker or TV host or something. But thanks to my quiet voice and general sense of awkwardness in front of a crowd, writing is my forum, the place where I am the most powerful. Yet, for some reason, I always find the negative aspects of my introversion floating to the top of my stream of consciousness. Like the fact that being introverted means I am one-third to half of the population, according to author Susan Cain. And the fact that it feels like people don’t understand me, and I meet way more extroverts than I do introverts. It starts to make me feel like an outsider and like God doesn’t have a place for me.
Hence, why this message at Woodcrest really hit home with me. It reminded me that God made me this way for a reason, and that I am not “lost” as my last post says. I am perfectly seen by God and heading towards a future.
I remember this summer at First Christian in Dyersburg (my home church), our pastor, Brian, said that we have to make it a point to choose to see God’s realities over our own. It’s easy to only look at our own narrow perspective and see the smallness of it as truth. But God’s perspective is bigger and more true. Right now, we might only see a piece of the puzzle and think that it means that the puzzle will never get finished. But God sees the whole puzzle and that the piece will be placed when the time is right. It’s prideful and ridiculous of me to demand that things happen when I want them to happen. It’s life: it’s big and scary and powerful and beautiful; I don’t get to dictate its timing, only my attitude and efforts and little choices along the way.
You see, when I try and manipulate the settings of my story – who I am at a core level, and when things happen for me – it is attempting to shove God’s story for me in the back of the closet. It is saying, “No, God. I don’t think you understand. That story, the introverted girl who has a difficult time getting stories and making her job work, it doesn’t work. I’m instead going to push myself to death to be an extrovert, beat myself up when things don’t happen in my timing and yell at you in the process. Because, well, that’s what the world wants, God. And I need the world to accept me.”
No, that’s bullshit. In the end, I don’t think God is going to give a rat’s ass if the world accepted me. He’s going to look at me and say, “How did you love others? And how did you love me?”
And somehow, I don’t think my résumé will address that.
I’m feeling lost and anxious and am wanting to run away.
Fuck it all.
I’ve got 99 problems and all of them started when I decided to watch The X Files.
And it’s not like I hate my life right now, but I’m just really really overwhelmed and so many things still need to be figured out in such a short amount of time.
Some portraits today I took of Columbians. Sometimes meeting strangers has its benefits.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I guess I’ve had a lot going on in my life.
I’m editor of a blog, a reporter for the Columbia Missourian, and a full-time grad student. Oh, and for my classes, I’m required to keep a blog of my professional life, which you can read here. So, in between doing those things, I have accidentally let this fall on the back burner.
But today, I’m here. I guess I’m here, because I’m in an existential crisis of sorts. I haven’t told a lot of people about it. My mom texted me the other day, asking me how things were, and I texted back, “I’m alright. Just tired.” That wasn’t entirely accurate. I’m not exactly alright.
Here’s why I’m not alright: I don’t know my place in the world, and I’m feeling more and more defeated and useless. I am seeing just how big journalism is, and just how big the world is. And all of it scares the hell out of me. And makes me feel inadequate way too often. I miss home. I miss my best friend. I miss my family. I miss feeling like I have a place in the world, even if the place I did have at UT Martin was small and not full of amazingness and prestige. At least it was mine, and I was respected.
In many ways I don’t feel like a journalist. I feel like a writer and a photographer and a designer and an editor. But not a journalist. I don’t like hard news. I don’t like talking about the “state of the media” all day. I am not a watchdog. I don’t always like people. Many times I’d rather stick my headphones in and not speak to anyone for days. I am not world-smart, as a result of my lacking public school education and my own escapism – my tendency to tune out the world around me.
Don’t get me wrong, I like doing parts of journalism or I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t have stayed a Communications major in my undergrad. But the key is, I like the creating part and not the worldly “going out and gathering stuff” part. I am at my happiest states when I am alone in front of a computer screen making nothing into something.
With that in mind, I’m really thinking about my future, where exactly I can go that activates that part of me. I’ve got a few ideas:
- Design: Design involves basically taking everyone else’s ideas and packaging them in a compelling visual way, taking the rough sketch and making it a masterpiece.
- Magazines: It’s less hard news and more long-form narrative. That still involves pitching though, which I’ve learned I majorly suck at. (I’ve learned in the past month that I majorly suck at a lot.) Within thinking about magazines for my future, I’ve thought about Relevant magazine. It’s exactly what I love in stories: looking at the secular world through a faith-based lens, answering the question, “How do we bridge the chasm between the secular and Christian world?”
- Book and column writing: This has been my goal since I was a kid. But it doesn’t have stability in terms of finances, so I can’t put all my eggs in that basket. I mean, hell, maybe I’m a talented writer and can profit from a book. But that’s in no way guaranteed. So, I need my primary job to probably be something different, with this as a side project.
Other careers I could pursue on the side:
- Ministry: I like exploring faith in all aspects, and I like helping people. And I am a musician and writer, so I could easily jump into music ministry or basic ministry.
- Music: Maybe I could finally record my music and make some profit from it. But, it’s not super likely.
- Portraiture: I’ve made money on the side by taking portraits for people before. I could see it continuing.
- Teaching: I am good at helping people discover things; I make people feel at ease and I am a clear communicator. Sometimes I enjoy helping someone’s ideas come to fruition more than I enjoy executing my own ideas.
All of these, hopefully, are likely achievable with my degree, even the side careers. But I’m wondering how these fit in to where I am now. What steps do I take to reach one of these destinations? And what if I’m supposed to stick with the newspaper world? My adviser told me that I’d be good at running a small-town newspaper because I can do so many different things, and that not many people can do that. I mean, I did run The Pacer for practically two years and I’d like to think I did an okay job at that. But, I’m just feeling like it’s not where I’m supposed to be. It’s not what makes me the happiest. And in the end, isn’t that what makes life great, doing what makes you happy and not what makes you ultimately stressed all the time?
I’m just feeling lost lately, and vacillating between being at peace/trusting God and freaking out/raging at God. One minute I’m reassured that life will work out and another minute I am sobbing in a bathroom stall or in my car or in my bedroom. Seriously, all of these things have happened in the past 48 hours.
How do you know where you’re supposed to go in life? How do you know that you fit somewhere, and how do you find that place? Maybe I am not even supposed to have a job doing what I love. I mean, some people work at fast food places or gas stations or factories. Do they love their jobs? Maybe some do. But I’d be willing to bet that a lot don’t, yet they work anyways. Why do I feel the urge to make what I love translate to a paycheck? Maybe it’s not that I want what I love to translate to a paycheck, but rather that I want the luxury of being able to do what I want full-time.
These are all questions I have with no answers. I feel like I’m wandering in the dark. Where’s the light? Should I just keep walking until the light becomes apparent to me, or should I turn around and walk the other way?
What does God have up his sleeve?
And am I foolish for even attempting to predict that?