For the past year I have used three words to guide my days: Bravery, Endurance, and Forgiveness.
I slogged through twelve events, an often difficult work schedule, writing the hundreds of blogs for this forum, and working on my current trio of novels yet to be published.
I had harrowing moments, especially my San Francisco and Minnesota travel odysseys. Never have I been so happy to be carry-on only. Nor was I so glad that I had seven hours to make it to the Meet & Greet.
I made it through my year, eking out tight schedules, including my September of four events (with two literally back-to-back; stepping off a plane, hopping into my car, and driving to the next event for setup), as well as the hardest three work days of my life (fifteen hours the first day, eighteen and a half hours the second day, and eight hours the third, with precious little sleep in between).
I wrote fifty thousand words while flying to San Francisco, while still making it to gigs, and while still trying to give you fresh words everyday.
I knew, going into my year, that it wasn’t going to be easy. But, even more than the struggle, even more the hardship, my endurance gave me strength. I learned from my adversity, gained the knowledge of how hard I can push myself, how much I can accomplish when I just put my head down and barrel through.
I have never been so scared as when I flew out to San Francisco for the first time. I’d never been to the west coast, and I was going to an event where I would know little to no one, save for the two folks I shared a hotel room with.
On the first day, when I put on my school girl outfit and made my way to my first class, I was beyond nervous. Would anyone here get me? Accept me? Would I find my place in this new sphere?
After that first day, I relaxed… a little. I let myself just be, even though I was still nervous enough to shake. But with each passing moment, I met someone new. Or I saw a familiar face. Or I allowed myself to explore the city, and just be me.
Part of me craves adventure, whether it be a completely unfamiliar realm or rediscovering a traveled place. This year afforded me time to go to so many spots I had never been before: Atlanta, Chicago, London!
I traveled across the pond, saw a dear friend, spent time with another, and made even more connections. Yes, I was scared when I got on the plane, scared when I landed, scared when I got lost for a very uncomfortable hour near the Elephant & Castle station.
But I didn’t let my fear rule me. I didn’t let my nerves or self doubt stop me.
I was brave.
One of the biggest changes for me this year has been going to see Doc. I know he’s not some sort of magic man. All the work we’ve done has been small changes, little moves, but enough to slowly reshape my views of myself and my life.
Often I am hard on myself. Often I don’t give myself the care I give to others, the love and support I offer to others. Doc urged me to be kind to myself, love myself. He encouraged me to share my feelings instead of holding them in for fear of judgement, rejection.
I know my work with Doc is not done. I know I am not a perfect person; no one is. I know the ideas I have of others, elevated up on pillars, high above what I could ever aspire for, are complete and total bullshit.
But I’ve stopped calling myself stupid when I make a small mistake at work. I’ve pushed myself to not believe one conversation about how I feel, one small gesture of affection, or one simple misstep will end my connection with another.
I’ve created this small space for me to just be. It’s tiny, but it’s comfy. And it keeps growing. Every time I look in the mirror and smile. Every time I take a picture of myself and post it on Twitter. Every time I talk to a friend and tell them how crappy something is without fear of them shunning me. Every time I am just a little kinder to myself, that space grows.
I can forgive myself for just being me.
And now, with a year gone by, it’s time for three more words to guide me. More on that in a future entry.
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