Last week, one of my favourite writers and secret soul-mates, Glennon Melton, birthed a phenomenal blog series called “Sacred Scared.” It’s this groundbreaking idea that we as people tend to look up to bestselling authors and bloggers, thinking that they all have their lives together — so that must certainly mean that we cannot use our own voices until we’ve got our shit together too. Glennon asked 10 different authors to share an untouched photo of themselves, along with their deepest, secretest fear. She wanted to inspire everyone else to know and believe that EVERYONE has no idea what they’re doing and EVERYONE can still show up and start changing lives with who they are and what they have to say. (You can read about it here.)
It’s working. So many others are sharing their Sacred Scared, and now I’m joining the club. I feel awkward and complain-y and definitely more than a little shaky, but I trust that I belong here.
Hi, I’m Carly Butler Hutton, or Button, if I’m being cutesy. I live and blog and make music near Vancouver, British Columbia with my husband Steve of 17 months, and I’m afraid that when it comes to marriage and God and life itself, I’m doing it wrong.
I was raised in a single-parent, only-child, fundamentalist Christian, God-is-coming-to-judge-us-all-by-the-year-2000 family. Not a man to be found. We girls had only ourselves and our wits, and it was up to us to survive the coming Apocalypse. I honestly thought I would not live past 13 years of age, maybe 16 if I was lucky. I was prepared to live off the grid, off the land, and off the love of just my mom and maybe God if he was generous.
And I did, for 4 years. To the locals, I was “that child living with her crazy mom out behind the mountain.” To me, I was just a dead girl walking. If The Hunger Games had been a thing when I was growing up, I would have changed my name to Katniss and learned how to use a bow and arrow instead of a gun and a snowmobile. A small part of me still wants to do just that.
In keeping with such fears, I fostered no hopes, planted no dreams. What was the point of making plans for the future, fantasizing about love, when it was all going to dissolve to ash anyway?
I lived in this state of half-awakeness for a long time. It wasn’t until 2008, after a decade of delusion, that I finally woke up and said, “ENOUGH! I am going to make my own life, and if you and God don’t like it, Mom, then you can both just lump it!” 3 years later, after a head-aching debacle with the Canadian and US immigrant governments (which I’m TOTALLY going to write a book about one day!), I was off and running.
You might think that this is my Sacred Scared, this weird past of paranoia and neglect.
But it’s not. Because of that weird past of paranoia and neglect, my Sacred Scared is right now.
I got married?
I have a real car and a real house and a real cat and a real man to look after?
I live in a city that I have to drive around in?
I have friends, near and far, that care about me?
I have a wireless internet connection and an iPhone and food available to me whenever I need it?
I help babies come into the world for a living?
It’s so normal and terrifying and I’m going to screw it up.
My Sacred Scared is that one day, the other shoe is going to drop, and I’ll realize that the old way, the apocalypse way, the depend-only-on-yourself-because-the-world-is-the-enemy way is the ONLY WAY I know how to live. That this little life I’ve managed to carve out here is my very own Matrix and I’m the glitch that will crash the system.
I want this life. I want it so bad. I want my husband, I want to have his babies, I want to write a book, and eat FroYo, and make music, and walk along the ocean, and see new movies, and sing in church and help other people give their babies life! It’s a dream come true.
But living with a man can be hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. He is a delightful noise with lovable dirt all over it, and if I accidentally feed him anything nutty, he will turn blue and maybe die. Together, we create a beautiful mess that I don’t want anyone to see, but I’m sure everyone can recognize.
He adores me, and I think I adore him back…what do I do with that?
And babies…well, babies are just precious little rolls of goo that steal your heart and drain your life away, so I’ve heard. I’m petrified of them and in love with them at the same time?
Then there’s God, who I am pretty sure has rescued me from a lifetime of crap, but who I am also pretty sure is 1000% done with my lifetime AND my crap – and He’s just waiting for me to do something good with it.
Fantasy is manageable. Real life is terrifying.
But every day, I’m going to do my best to show up to my own tiny, normal little life. When I wake up in the morning, I want to look into my husband’s sleepy face and kiss his dry lips and tell myself I am out of the woods. For real. Steve is good, and God is good, and this day is going to be Scary, Sacred and Good too.