I made a vow on December 31, 2009. 2010 was going to be MY year.
I pinky swore on it.
You see, even though my writing found greater success in 2009 than I imagined possible, other areas of my life were–and still are–in shambles. The easiest and probably most comfortable course of action? Take the safe road. Don’t rock the boat. Maintain the status quo.
Not good enough!
I’m a true Gemini in so many ways. On one hand, I’m still the unsure, awkward kid who never felt that she “measured up.”
Adopted kid syndrome?
Life hasn’t always been easy either. I grew up in a household filled with love, even though we didn’t have a lot of money. My sister and I were both honors students. My parents? I remember the day I asked my mother to help me with my homework. She pulled out her own report cards, and showed me.
“I want to help you. But I can’t. I don’t know how.”
A Gemini understands how you can be both an intellectual superior to your parents, and yet a child seeking their wisdom.
My mother taught me to set my sights on a goal. One so lofty I thought it could NEVER be achieved, and then find a way–any way–to ascend to the top. She showed me that there were ways around nearly every road block in life, but that I needed to be willing to look for work-arounds. Because of her I learned that the only true failure in life was to quit trying.
That’s good, because I’ve amassed quite a lofty list of failures. Marriage? Well, I have four beautiful children, and a wonderful assortment of step, half, and sorta-kids. Some of them even seem to have mastered the art of marriage. I applaud them! Academia? I spent a couple decades amassing a wide array of courses, degrees, and such. Balanced classes with working a full-time job and raising said children. At the end of the day, I failed to get the Medical School diploma I’d set my sights on.
The easiest thing in the world would be to let myself drown under the weight of the labels.
But here’s the deal. I’m a fighter. Nobody has handed me anything in life. I don’t expect it, and I don’t want it. Work-arounds are a life-style choice. And life’s most important work-around lesson is to face your fears.
Writing involves an extreme amount of vulnerability. For it to move me, I need to throw my whole being into what I’m writing. Scars, weaknesses–all of it. Then I need to face my fears and share it with other people. Talk about a risk!
There is nothing in the world like facing a fear, and accomplishing something you never dreamed you could do. I’ve tried three times to climb the observation tower at Mahoney State Park. Never managed to make it one step higher than the third landing. I’m terrified, as in really, really afraid of heights. So, as part of my “Claiming 2010 as MY Year” campaign, I decided it was a moral imperative to make it to the top of this tower. My own personal Everest…
No way would I have made it to the top alone. It took having someone hold my hand, nudge me along, and knowing if push came to shove, that’s exactly what would happen!
Writing is the same way. I belong to some fabulous writing groups. I write. I read what I’ve written, and shut my mouth to listen to the feedback. Let people who’s only goal is to help me reach my goal nudge me to success. Even when my knees shake, and the last thing I want to do is walk up to the front of a room and pick up the microphone, I do it anyway.
Has it worked? Let’s see. I won a writing award this year. AND…