This one here is not going to be one of hope.
No pretty words, all bundled up nice in sparkling tissue paper or postal mailing fluff. Sometimes, you’ve got to hear it straight, like words from your mama: someone’s got to spot your bluff, call you out, pluck the splinter, make it sting a little.
I don’t know; maybe I’m the only one? The only one that hides behind skills and wit and confident, cheap excuses? What about getting real, not just in the big places, but in the small spaces, too?
Hi. My name is Rachel. And I’m a grammar rebel.
I first found my way with the pen as a child, young and desperate for release. I began writing in journals, spilling out emotion by the bucket load. It was like fencing and tossing javelins—my phraseology was swift, powerful, and free. I used my skillful words to hide behind the real reasons that made me feel hindered and incompetent; I could, and still can, smooth my way through any impediment.
And in writing, grammar was never my gift. Rather, creativity was what I leaned towards.
Who needs rules when you’ve discovered freedom?
Until, that is, most recently. In trying my hand at freelance editing and coaching gigs, I’ve come to realize that rules, indeed, are not as restricting as we dress them up to be. And that, in fact, to not know the rules, and thus to not play by the rules, makes for less assurance, less freedom, more hesitation, and more cleaning up at the end.
All this time, I thought I wrote so freely, yet really all I had been galavanting in was a fenced field, flapping in a bird’s cage.
My rebellion towards grammar and my defiance to compromise on anything less than what I creativity, freely, want to do, is not solely a writing dilemma, as I also notice it seeping into the far, most corners of my life.
- The reason I’ve banished myself from excelling at the piano, too many scales to memorize and rules to follow
- The reason I struggle with sticking to a healthy meal plan, too many rules, or structured suggestions, to create and follow
- The reason I undermine my ability to be successful in challenging positions, too many rules to possibly know, and therefore effectively execute or enforce
Rebellion, of this sort, I have found, rarely looks or sounds wrong. But I like C.S. Lewis’ way of putting it:
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
We choose the lesser because we fail to see, or believe, the greater that is offered us, even within the seeming confines of trusting God.
We revert back to our old ways when we feel we are incapable of changing or being changed. We hide behind our weaknesses and use them as weapons when we are incompetent and insecure. We stay where, and who, we feel safe to be when we crave acceptance and untethered freedom.
And, to know this about ourselves, in light of the truth about God, and yet to still remain…
That is not just fear, or struggle, or trying, or anxiety.
Without the candy-coated wrapper, it is rebellion, in its most subtlest, premature form.
Albeit quiet, no shaking fists towards the heavens, no crackling fires to burn buildings or signs. Still, the slow burning of a soul afraid to turn to and trust in the words of a Savior.
So, I’m learning that, to know truth, standards, and even law isn’t such a bad thing. And that, it’s okay if my world crumbles if (and when) I realize I’ve been doing or believing something wrong or, not quite right at all. It’s okay to turn from my ways, even if it does just start with grammar. I mean, my ways haven’t always been the best. Hell, they’ve actually never proved once to have been best.
I’m taking in these lessons of grammar, drinking down humility where self-sufficiency fails.
And if this heart stuff doesn’t go any further for you than the words on your screen, just remember that grammar rebels need grace, too. We all can always start there.