In order to help find my voice, I was assigned four questions to answer. When I was first presented with these questions, I decided this would be a simple exercise. I thought I already knew the answers to these questions. But, as I began to ponder and ask the “Who really am I?” questions, it was not as easy as I had decided it would be.
- Make a list defining your voice and speaking/writing style.
- Make a list of your most important traits and passions. How can you integrate all these parts of yourself into your writing style?
I’m Carryl Tinsley and this is what I’m about:
I’m about following Christ through my imperfections.
I’m not about giving up.
I’m about list-making in the worst way.
I’m about listening to understand.
I’m about second chances.
I’m about dreaming the way I want the world to be.
I’m about empathy.
I’m about hearing people’s stories.
I’m about finding strength in my emotions.
I’m about serving others.
I’m about learning new things.
I believe these traits and passions will naturally integrate themselves into my writing if I am simply myself. As I add more fancy words and impressive vocabulary, my voice becomes cluttered and covered by words that are simply not me. But if I choose honesty and vulnerability, my traits and passions will be known without me even clearly stating them.
- Find a blogger or columnist who you identify with and whose voice you admire. Why?
My favorite blog right now is called Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. She is a kind of honest and authentic that I desire to be. I was drawn to her blog because I was shocked by her title andthen became enthralled by the way she tells stories and reveals her flaws and says the things no one else wants to admit. She said, “It’s been a creative outlet, a quiet therapist, a boisterous community, a spirited debate, a sincere friend, and a soft, snarky place to land, again and again as I’ve stumbled along this path of Life and Faith.” I hope this is what my blog will be for me one day. I also love how she describes what she is about. Some of it is funny and some of it is deep, but I think she lets you in on her life and allows the reader to see a little piece of who she really is. Her word choice is surprising and intentional. Her writing is emotional. She posted this quote on her blog as she wrote about blogging and the fact that not everyone will like you. She is comfortable and fully herself; she never tries to be someone she is not.
- Write about a specific experience that helps you define who you are.
Everything went quiet. The world seemed to stand still. I have never felt so alone in a bustling room full of people. I sat still in the Wilmington International Airport as the world rushed by around me. Announcements were made over the loudspeaker. People hurried through the gate. Workers sold pretzels and cookies. The TV newscaster rambled on about the weather. And I sat still. I sat still in that navy blue, fairly comfortable, plush chair and began to weep.
Had I made a mistake? Would the people even like me? Would I be strong enough to handle the 8-hour workdays? Would I be able to be away from my family for 9 weeks? Would I be overwhelmed by the poverty I encountered and my inability to fix it? Would I connect with the middle and high school students I would be leading and make an impact on their lives? Would my emotions get in the way of the work I was trying to do?
I had just said goodbye to comfort. I had said goodbye to knowing what was to come, to knowing anything really. This would be a summer full of unknowns and questions.I just did not know, as I sat in the airport that day, that this summer would be one that very literally changed the course of my life.
I would meet people that allowed me to be unapologetically me. I would see places with such extreme poverty but also such extreme beauty. I would experience God in a way I never had before. I would be humbled. I would be strengthened. I would learn and I would listen. I would be cared for deeply. I would lead and I would serve. I would discover myself, who I was made to be. I would get dirty and sweaty and disgusting, but I would learn to love it. I would learn how to love people with no obligations. I would see the purest kind of joy. I would be crushed by the brokenness of our world, but I would be encouraged to heal that brokenness. I would have a summer that will forever be a part of the story that is my life.
But, as I sat in that airport and wept, I did not know what was to come. I knew only that I had left the comfort to which I clung. And the unknown is a scary place to be staring at through an airplane window, all alone and full of fear.
I hope this helps you see a little bit more of who I am through my lens. If you are at all interested and would like to read more about my summer, you can read my personal blog, In Humble Adoration.
Thanks for reading!