I’ve always been a pencil person. I have a power sharpener by my desk, and I zip a pencil in it every time I so much as jot down an item on my grocery list. Then back into the pencil cup it goes, tip upward, one yellow beast in a bouquet of wrist stabbers.
Mistakes get erased. No dull-tipped pencils, and certainly no pens, ever cross my desk. My eraser dies before I run out of graphite, so I keep a pack of extra erasers handy. Because what good is a pencil if you can’t erase mistakes? What good is any writing utensil if it betrays you by revealing your imperfections?
This is, of course, why I have 15 novels sitting here unpublished. When I was in therapy, I told my therapist what I felt my headstone should say.
Here lies Rachel.
She nearly did so many things.
On Valentine’s Day, my friend gave me a gift. A journal and a pack of glitter gel pens. I’ve had some of these babies before. I doodled with them, admiring the slick way they lay down ink, turning the page to watch the sparkles. But I’ve never really written anything with them. Especially not in a wonderful new journal! It’s even my favorite color!
So what was I to do? Every pretty pen I’ve ever owned has dried out, wasted, owned by the wrong girl. A pencil person, unable to shine. Girls like me don’t deserve shimmery ink. Do we?
Trying Something New
Deep breath. It’s just a pen and a journal. The pages can be torn out. I worried that I would have bad penmanship or get behind trying to record a scripture while the pastor was talking. I worried that the ink would bleed through the page. I hate that. I might misspell a word. The horror.
But, wielding a glitter pen, I committed words to the page. And I made a mistake. I knew it! No eraser. I needed to start over, maybe tear it out and rewrite all my notes later. Then it occurred to me that I could take notes in an ugly notebook, in pencil of course, and then transcribe carefully, slowly, into the journal. That’s when I realized that my perfectionism was rearing its ugly head, not only making me feel horrible, but causing me to miss the sermon.
So I stopped. And I wrote this verse, because it was from my re:generation book, and it had hit me just right.
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
I wrote it in green glitter and then added some red, which made it look like a bad attempt at making it 3D. But I didn’t care. I’m free. Flawed, but loved. I went back to my sermon notes and scribbled out my error, and it made a nice little glittery blob on the page. Man, you could really see the sparkles in a blob! Beauty from ashes.
Glitter Pen Girl
I’m officially a glitter pen girl now. I still try to turn my mistakes into perfect round spots, or even better, hearts or flowers. But I’m not so worried about erasing everything now.