Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ode to Approval

Dear Imaginary People That I Want To Impress,

I'm sorry I'm letting you down. I've tried so hard to make you happy. I just wanted you to like me. Will you please love me again?

Can you forgive me for starting this blog? I know you don't like it. I can see you frowning whenever I start typing. I feel you recoil when my bitterness spills out. You want me to soldier on don't you? You know it would be wiser for me to figure out these problems behind closed doors.

You kept warning me that I would ruin my future but I gave you the finger and wrote anyway. I wanted to impress you with my words but it kept getting harder to express myself, and with each bold statement I knew you were shaking your head in disapproval. Will you give me another chance if I try to write nicer things?

How did you manage to make me hate writing so quickly? Every blog I published I felt your coils tightening, creativity shrinking, fear of rejection growing. Being real started out fun. I blamed you for the pressure and wanted payback somehow. I thought that if I told the truth about my doubts and fears that I could break free from you and become myself.

I was wrong. I'm inextricably tied to you. I don't think anybody cares about you like I care. Normal people don't dream about you like I do. I'm in love with you even though I hate you sometimes. I can't be myself with you, but I can't live without you.

Please be gentle with me this week. I'm hurting. I'm terrified of what you'll say about my last several blogs especially. I can see us sitting in an office or at Applebee's, forging through small talk until you awkwardly say, "So, I've been reading your blogs..." Please don't. I can just eat at home. I'm already wading in guilt for asking these questions.

But if we must talk before you take me back, please tell me that you love me. Don't punish me with with your words, I'm too tender. I promise that someday I'll be fake again. I'll impress you with how strong and confident and perfect I can be. Just not today. Please not today.

Yours Always,

~ Matthew


  1. Matt,

    I have loved these blogs. I don't know the background of what brought you to write these but the raw honesty and brutal transparency have not caused me to recoil but rather embrace the words that so many others fear to say. Although there is bitterness I prefer the truth that they contain to the gilded coating so many people are still attempting to apply to their desperate and crumbling beliefs. I urge you to continue to write. Regardless, I do love you and respect your strength in weakness and pain in honesty.


  2. Hey Matt Drake~

    I can so relate to many things that you post, as I'm sure that many do. Even if we don't- so what? Who are these shallow people that have turned their back on their brother for going through a difficult season?? Is losing the pleasure of their company worth mourning over? Does their disappointment in your honesty warrant a beating? Let me also ask you this: do they even exist, these people who shower such disapproval? Is this an anticipated reaction?

    Earlier this year, I wrote out some rather intimate details of my personal story and shared it with a few people. The reactions were mixed, but that's alright. I got the junk out of my system because I was the one who needed freedom, whether it was approved of or not. It was a life-changing experience for me. Jesus worked a miracle that day, and not everyone liked the results. I've had people turn their backs on me, because they don't approve of the lifestyle that I choose, and that I won't participate in a lot of dark things anymore. I'm no longer going along with the flow. I'm not afraid of someone's disappointed look, because that can be par for the course. It stings horribly to be rejected, but nothing is worth putting those chains back on.

    Jim and I love you dearly. It has nothing to do with anything that you've done or haven't done, but we just like who you are. You've been a true friend. Period. We like your kindness. We like your passion for life. We like your humor. We like playing poker with you! We often remark how we wish that we lived closer to you guys. I especially appreciate that you've tolerated a lot of my immature episodes along the way and showed grace to me.

    I don't mean to lecture or state the obvious (too late, I guess), but I really want to encourage you to keep pressing on.

  3. Great call Sabrina, the people don't exist! :) The problem is all in my mind. I have felt deeply loved by so many wonderful people, you and Jim among the foremost!

    Except for in my vivid imagination I've felt only encouragment and support! In this blog I wanted to capture the battle in my mind with what imaginary people are thinking about me.

    I'm worried now it might seem like I'm specifically hurt by someone. I'm not. It's all fear. That's what I'm trying to give to God right now.

    Ira, thanks too for your encouragement! I've been deeply moved by your kindness and the outpouring of loving emails, facebook notes, and blog comments from everyone. It helps me more than you know!

    With Love,


  4. If it counts for anything, I think I like you better this way. In fact, I know I do :)

  5. These last few days I've been wondering 'how do I become a fan of Matt Drake's blog?' ... love it .. not sure I'm in 'important person' but give me real any day!

  6. Matt, I really like your blog. And I'd like to be IRL friends again any day :) so if you ever want to hang out, you just let me know. I'm not afraid of you anymore-like I used to be-b/c I thought for a long time I definitely wasn't good enough to be your friend. But this new you, or the real you, it's really who I always wanted to be friends with. <3

  7. Love seeing YOU here, Matt. So reminds me of the process a grape goes through on it's way to the King's table. All I learned about John 15 I learned while in France. Keep pouring your guts out...we're journeying with you.

  8. Chris LonnevilleJune 6, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Thanks Matt for being honest and authentic - that's become an important word for me in recent days. Some years back I had a "friend" who was driven by wanting everyone to think well of him and be impressed - while the whole time, he was scared and so very flawed. And then one day he met a "stranger" who told him it was "You don't have to try to impress anyone anymore because you've impressed me so much that I was impressed on a tree for you." That stranger is becoming my friend more and more. I don't know the issues of your life Matt but I know that your willingness to face them instead of trying to cover them up any longer and your willingness to do it in front of the "world" is very important and it helps me as I get a little closer to my new Friend. I am for you and appreciate so much your blogs.