Is the term "disaster" a bit of a hyperbole? Maybe. But it captures what things feel like right now.
In two separate instances, I royally failed to communicate with anything approaching clarity. The first was a post (that I've since deleted), filled with what I felt were only loosely connected ramblings. The good news is that I could just delete it, and only the people who read that god-awful post would know how horrible it really was.
The second—and far more abysmal—took place when I spoke to a mentor (a former pastor and friend) over the phone, telling him I was leaving the church. I was so scared and anxious about speaking with him that I didn't really say anything that I thought, and most of the things I said were muddled half-truths that utterly failed to say what I now believe about the world.
It was nothing short of embarrassing.
My wife talked to me for thirty minutes afterward, confused and surprised that I failed so royally and didn't realize it until the damage was done and the conversation had ended. The worst part? Knowing that there wasn't really a damn thing I could do about it.
Except I did do something, something that even I'm surprised I did. I wrote an email to him. I apologized for the catastrophe that was my end of the phone call. I tried to put in clear, succinct statements what I truly felt and believed, and tried to emphasize how disappointed I was with myself. At one point in the email, I even said that I didn't really feel at all like myself in the conversation.
Was writing the email embarrassing and humiliating? You bet—it was just as embarrassing, probably more, as having to delete a post from my blog and admitting to doing so. But I feel better having done it. Thanks to my wife's prompting, I think that I undid a little bit of the damage. I still feel frustrated with myself, and I know that I can't take the phone call (or blog post) back, but I think I know what's gone wrong.
What I realized is that I needed confidence. Every time I lose confidence, whether I'm writing, speaking, teaching, or whatever, all the wind goes out of my sails. I hope that the next conversations I have—this time with two more mentors—I'll have courage and strength to be frank and open. And, for your sakes, I hope I don't let myself publish many more shitty posts. That would be a disaster.