Words mean so much to me. I am convinced that relationships are built solely on the words that people choose to share between one another. Therefore, I feel it’s an honor when people choose to give their words to me. When authentic, pure words of sincere emotion are flowing from someone, I feel a connection to them that I don’t believe could ever be replicated through any practice of pretention or through mollifying statements. I prefer words over gifts on any occasion; they are my love language.

I consider having to put a filter on my mouth similar to the feeling of being put in a cage. Growing up, my mom used to warn me that if I didn’t learn to hold my tongue, I’d find myself getting slapped in the face eventually. I must’ve taken her advice at least somewhat, because that hasn’t happened yet. My husband is wonderful in supporting and encouraging my intrinsic desire to write things down. Maybe he knows the outlet of journaling my feelings is what keeps me from getting that slap in the face. It was my mother-in-law who first described my language as “authentic”, rather than rude or crass. I cling to her description in my moments of unintentional insensitivity.

I have always loved the art of documenting. I could never own enough journals. I treasure every photograph I’ve taken. Though, I can’t necessarily say that I love “photography” as much as I love capturing moments. For me, writing and taking pictures naturally go together in my passion to remember as much of life as I can.

When I’m not documenting, during the school year, I teach preschool. I feel an absolute call on my life to work with children. Little ones practice honesty with more devotion than any other grouping of people. They don’t know how to hold their tongues; and wow, do they have the most entertaining take on life. While I get to enjoy their precious unrefined words, being their teacher helps me learn to filter mine and practice a healthy amount of mollification.

I teach and live in small-town Seymour, Indiana with my husband, Ethan, who practices physical therapy. I was 12 and he was 15, in 2008, when he won me over with his words. We knew from our young ages, on the very first day we met, that we would one day get married. Together, we’ve been making memories for me to document since then.

At the base of my passions and relationships lies my faith. There would be no purpose in anything that I did or said if God weren’t leading my path. I fully believe that He has given me this innate need, really, to share honest words with people for a reason. I feel certain that this is somehow wrapped up in my “spiritual gifts” package. I also believe that God wants me to overcome my intense urges to be too honest, learn to choose fruitful words of conversation, and use restraint, sometimes. Sometimes.

Liv Brown – Authentically