Tag Archives: social media

Have I Changed?

4 Dec

My mom asked me a couple visits ago if I thought our move to Asheville had changed me.

It was hard for me to answer because I think I’m always changing all the time. I am nowhere near the person I was 10 years ago or probably even 10 minutes ago. Even though many times I feel like the same person I was at age six. These thoughts are both comforting to me and a source of anxiety at times.

But maybe what she was really asking was, “What do I feel Asheville has changed in me so far?” This is a question which I had no good answer to give her when she asked, but I’ve been thinking about it every day since then.

I think the best way to put it is, retreating to the mountains has made me retreat from the rest of the world as well. It’s amazing to me that after almost 33 years in one city, four months in another one makes me see Atlanta in a whole new light. While it is a pretty Southern town, it is also a busy, bustling city and part of the rat race. I think a country girl has always been inside me waiting to be let out. I am drawn to the Laura Ingalls Wilder/American Girl Doll (when they were about history)/Janette Oke types of stories, and now I’m trying to live a little bit more like that. I dream of heading more towards the ideas the Amish have, where mechanical technology is preferable to electrical. A deep rooting into the earth, a connectedness.

While my fondest memories of my childhood were running wild throughout our neighborhood with my friends, I didn’t have the stars. The city is so absorbing that even in the suburbs it is hard to see what’s going on in the universe. Here, I look up at the sky all the time and am falling in love with everything astronomy has to offer. Star myths of the past and space explorations of the future…

I’ve definitely been unhappy at times during this transition. I desperately miss my people in Atlanta. We had developed a really solid home base in Marietta the year that we were there in terms of homeschool and the YMCA and of course the friendships that we garnered throughout our years in ATL. Some of the things I’ve tried to replicate here so far have only disappointed me. But I’m not giving up. I gave myself a year to feel at home and I’m not even halfway there.

I worry about the boys not growing up in a neighborhood, especially since we homeschool, and if I can provide all that they need to have satisfying childhoods. But growing up in the country has its perks too, and I’m so excited for all the plans I have for our land. We planted some rose bushes yesterday, and it filled me with happiness to see our family work together to add beauty to the incredible nature that surrounds us here.

One step at a time!

IMG_20171203_181728_824A cute little bear we found in our front yard.



31 May

I remember as a kid winning a modem from an AJC contest. Tell us why a modem will be right for you! and a few weeks later one came in the mail. I thought that was pretty cool. I pretty much haven’t won anything since, except a piece of carry on luggage at my high school graduation party that my college cat peed in and ruined.

Until this month. AGL Resources, where Dave works, has an 811 Photobomb contest every year to promote calling 811 before you dig to protect utility lines. I submitted these two photos.

D. Johnston - 811 Photocontest Garden
Planting bulbs in the garden!

D. Johnston - 811 Photocontest Pirate
I love that I got my friend to dress up like a pirate.

And I won Dave an extra paid vacation day this year! Right about the time that we heard we had won, I got an email from VRBO about a summer vacation contest. I thought, why not try again, especially since it has to feature your child, and my child is adorable! So we’ll see if this video will work its charms and win us the grand prize!

When I was a newborn, my parents posed with me for a midwifery advertisement, even though she had an uneventful but short medicated labor. I assume we had a good time for that photoshoot in all our 80’s glory.

Do you really know me?

24 Aug

Earlier this year, a friend of mine committed suicide. During the aftermath, as his friends and family struggled to understand why, the biggest factor seemed to be his career. He was denied tenure at two different universities, and as he struggled to redefine his life, he dropped all his masks and ended his life. He removed any hope of ever doing anything else in his life. He was loved, and respected, yet he could not move past his [temporary] failures.

This meant something to me, because I have always felt adrift in terms of “career”. When I was a growing up I never had an answer for “What do you want to be when you grow up?” … And now I’m a grown up, and I still don’t know. I like being a mother (though it’s easy to feel like a failure in that), I like to read, and I like to keep house. Eventually I’d like to homeschool my children. But my mother worries that I am not challenged enough with what I do. That I’m bored. Even though I don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done on my to-do list. Sure, I’d love to be a powerful woman running some awesome company, but I have no idea how I would get there or if I’d even want it when I got it.

I knew my friend as a professor and my lab instructor at GSU. He asked me once, after I had graduated undergrad, was between jobs, pregnant, and had quit graduate school, what I was doing with my life besides watching the paint dry as our mutual friend painted my house. I don’t think I came up with an adequate answer. Besides the fact that I’m never good at delivery for interview questions (and that felt like one), most of the time I honestly don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

In retrospect, that seemed like a teaching moment. If only I had known what he would do in a few years, I could have said that having a job, or even a direction, isn’t the most important thing in life. That I would figure it out no matter how many bumps in the road there would be. Or that even if I didn’t figure it out, I would enjoy the ride. Or that being loved and loving someone else is the most important thing in the world. If you have that, you will survive all of life’s disappointments.

And then there are public figures like Robin Williams, pretty much beloved by all, who had the family, the money, and the career we all hope for, and somehow the dark recesses of his brain still won. We are all doomed to die, most of us fear that moment, of what will become of us, and some of us even seek it out, much to the chagrin of those left behind. Is it everlasting bliss of nothingness? No questions, doubts, or unhappiness? Or do we carry on somehow, unable to reach back to this world and share what we have learned on the other side? If given another chance, would Robin Williams say, “Wait, my career isn’t everything. My Parkinson’s diagnosis won’t change everything. Let’s keep going another day.”? Would my friend have reached out to more people for help if he really, deep down, knew that his career wasn’t what defined him? Is this a male dominance thing that we promote in American society? And women have become ensnared too where we have to have it all — the spouse, the career, the children, the perfect house, body, vacation life, etc.? Has the interconnectedness of social media ruined our chances of living a peaceful life? Or is it easier to connect with other people similar to us so we know we’re not alone, bullied by the image of perfection?

There are those — not me — who live their lives by the fullness of their convictions, whether it is following Jesus, or their career, or whatever eternal, internal fixture that drives them forward. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the outside watching all of these people (in life, on social media, in the news) be so sure, and I’m just waiting for that sureness to happen to me. I am 30 years old, I have created another life, and yet I’m almost convinced that I will never be 100% convinced of anything. Am I a hippie flower child or a ruthless Ayn Rand fan? A bit of both and a mixture of a whole lot more?

I know that there are different parts of me that I keep hidden from everyone. I’m not sure there is anyone out there who sees the whole picture. But it doesn’t mean I’m lost. I just think the world isn’t ready for me yet.