I am participating in Mara Glatzel’s lovely Hello, Wonderful series in September, and today she sent participants an email asking us to acknowledge our efforts. Looking back, I have so much to acknowledge in just this year. Since I started homeschooling, I’ve had to reach out past my typical social awkwardness and anxiety to join groups, meet parents and put together programs for my daughter. This is the first year that I’ve noticed it feels easy. It doesn’t feel easy all of the time, but it does enough for me to step back and notice it.
2014 has been a year of bravery for me. In this guts-filled year, I…
Went swimming for the first time in 13 years
Rode rides at Six Flags for the first time in 13 years
Participated in GISHWHES and pretty much left modesty and reservations at the door
Made online videos, one of which I was visible in
Truly did not give a damn about what others thought (most of the time, a huge jump from every other year of my life)
Entered a fair with an art project and won a blue ribbon
Painted all over the walls–quotes, characters, stars, you name it–with confidence
Took a whole lot of pictures that actually include me in them
Made some friends I would’ve chosen with or without homeschooling
Tried a bunch of new foods, music, date night locations and experiences
Painted in public
Adopted two dogs and trained them on my own (Still working on that! Thanks, YouTube!)
Stood up for what I believed in, even when I shook with fear doing it
Taught a PE class (something I never even considered doing!)
To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel very brave doing a lot of these things. I felt scared. Intimidated. And it’s been a year of loss for my family. We have experienced so many deaths, heartaches and health scares that we felt ourselves trembling against one another, wondering if we could really survive it. One of these losses hit my sisters and me so hard that we still find ourselves heaving tears in the night, calling each other for support. But just going on after that is brave, isn’t it? After my miscarriage last year, I keep hearing the name we chose everywhere (and it’s not a common name). We even heard two little girls with Sprite’s name and this name at the Magic House last weekend! Oh, my heart hurt. But it quickened with anticipation, too. Maybe–? Our openness is brave.
The year is not even close to being over yet and there’s more to face, more courage to draw. We have trips to take, goals to accomplish, more to do. But looking at this list, no matter how trivial and simple it may seem to others, makes me feel pretty strong and proud and brave. And surprised. Neil Gaiman advises people to surprise themselves every year, and I can honestly say that I’ve probably surprised myself more this year than during any year since the one in which Wood Sprite was born. How did you surprise yourself this year? Were you brave, or creative, or content? I hope you take some time to jot it down to remind yourself.