Alliteration is probably one of my most favourite things. I unintentionally frame sentences together using unhealthy amounts of alliteration. A little while ago on this very blog I came up with a list of the ten qualities I most wanted in a man entitled, My Top Ten. All of the qualities start with the letter A. I’ll probably want to marry someone with a last name that starts with the letter S and name my kids Sufjan and Stella such is my fascination with alliteration. When I was thinking through this blog and where I wanted to take it, I spent a lot of time dwelling on, myself really. I thought about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be known for and how I wanted this blog to represent that. I came up with three words, all starting with the letter I. Irrepressible, Intentional and Immovable.
I remember the first time I heard the word irrepressible. I don’t remember what I was doing or what I was wearing but I remember the feeling. You know you’re a word nerd when you remember how you felt the first time you heard a word. I liked how it sounded. How it rolled off the tongue. I liked the context it was used in, I liked that I didn’t know what it meant and maybe others didn’t either. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to use that word more often’. Just like psychedelic, that word definitely needs to come back.
impossible to repress, restrain, or control <irrepressible curiosity>
I remember the first time someone described me, Steffany, as irrepressible. I think at the time I wondered if they meant it as a compliment or a bit of insult. It’s sort of one of those words like infamous, where it just confuses you a bit. Does infamous mean more famous or less? Is being irrepressible a negative quality or a positive quality?
After much thought and processing, I’ve realised that Irrepressible is a quality I want to be known for.
I’ve always been a strong person. I think I grew up naturally irrepressible. There wasn’t a lot about my personality that could be repressed. I found restraint difficult and my parents would definitely attest that I was impossible to control. But somehow, over time.. those things faded, at least internally. I think I always conveyed myself as a strong, tough, secure person but inside I was battling. I felt that I had to repress certain parts of my personality. The parts people maybe didn’t like. I got sick of being told to use my “inside voice” and I started to repress. It wasn’t who I was naturally – but I somehow learnt repression.
In psychiatry they explain repression as the unconscious exclusion of painful impulses, desires, or fears from the conscious mind. For me it was just the exclusion of desires due to fear. That feeling or emotion I wanted to express but for whatever reason, society, past disappointment, criticism, peer pressure – I held it within.
I think with anything that you repress, it comes out in weird ways. If you repress anger, it comes out in unhealthy ways, bouts of rage that seem to come from nowhere. I think it’s the same if you repress your personality, the very things that make you, you. You start to get weird outbursts of uncharacteristic behaviour. You find yourself saying things you don’t really mean, making friendships that aren’t really wise, and living a life entirely different to what you know. A life very far from where God wants us to be.
Our world is slowly but ever so surely moving away from genuine, authentic, real relationships yet I have discovered – that is exactly what people want. We can smell a fake a mile off and we want nothing to do with it. Yet for some reason – we repress the very natural, unique characteristics that make us beautiful. What good does that do anyone?
We need you.
I need you.
God needs you.
Stripped away of my fear and removed from critiquing eyes, I am at my most comfortable and my most crazy. I am loud and loopy and loving. That’s the thing that confused me most. Somehow I let society dictate to me that I couldn’t be loud, passionate, strong, and wild and so I gave up irrepressibility – along with it, I somehow gave up the ability to love without restraint.
Maybe you were hurt and hurt pretty bad. Made to feel like there were parts of you that you needed to hold back on. Don’t hold back on love. I get that it’s hard – but don’t hold back on love.
I want to have an irrepressible joy that ceases to overflow.
I want to have an irrepressible faith that is pushed and tested but never waivers.
I want to have an irrepressible love that can’t be contained.
I want to be irrepressible. I want that for you.