“And in the very big sense, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Is this for me? Am I cut out for this? Am I going somewhere or will I look back a year from now and think myself such a fool for leaping to begin with?”
~ me, one year ago
Almost one year ago to the day, I took a flying leap. I leaped into the giant unknown. I talked a lot of how, when you leap, the safety net will appear. It just will. That’s how life works, beautiful and amazing and magical. I believed in that safety net so hard. To me it was always real. I couldn’t feel it or see it and I had no idea where it would come from. But, to me, it was always there. Still, I talked a bit about back up plans, the options I was keeping in mind for the horizon should the safety net not materialize or should it show up full of holes and I’d slip through.
And let’s not pretend. Let’s just be real for a minute and acknowledge that, of course, I slipped through. Dozens of times. Dozens upon dozens. I slipped and fell hard and it hurt. And I cried. Oh I cried a lot. I screamed and sobbed until I thought I might be sick. I wallowed in it, sometimes past the point of appropriateness.
And then I dragged myself up. I clawed my way back onto that net and I leaped again. And again. And sometimes I soared. The soaring is magical and exciting and spawned many a ridiculous happy dance in my dining room to the complete delight of my toddler. But I learned that the soaring can be just as hard as the falling. The tears that come from soaring feel different inside, sort of, than the ones that come from falling but they pour from my heart just the same.
Along the way, I stopped wondering. I stopped wondering if I am doing the right thing. I stopped wondering if this is for me, if I’m cut out for this. I stopped wondering and starting doing. Climbing. Reaching. And then, along the way, I started being. I gave up pretending and just started being a writer. I practiced saying it out loud until it just rolled from my lips without a second thought. Until the days when I wasn’t a writer felt so far away that they may as well have been another life.
Through the absolute magical speed of time, I’m looking back a year later, now, and I do not think that I was a fool. I think that leaping was the best thing I ever did. It was the most intentional thing I’ve done in my life, though it didn’t feel that way at all at the time. I think that leaping was written in my stars, the thing I had to do and perhaps my life was just waiting for me to gather up the courage to do it. I don’t wonder anymore and a year later, I couldn’t be happier with the leap and where it’s taken me.
And part of me wants to smile big and confidently say that I believe I did the right thing, that I was not a fool, because of how I feel when I sit down to write. Or how I’ve been able to figure things out, find my way in words. That the leap feels right on the inside and that’s all I need. That it has nothing to do with external validation.
But let’s keep not pretending. Let’s be real a bit longer and acknowledge that it’s a lot about external validation. Because I didn’t leap just to write for myself. I leaped to write, to put my words out there, to make a difference and to make money. I didn’t leap to devote more time to a hobby, I did it to make a new career. As a writer, as a creative, it is just as important for my words to connect, to move, to influence or educate or make an impact as it is for them to feel right to me. The words I write must do right by me and my audience. For this to work, for this to not have been a giant mistake, the outside world needed to validate me. It needed to say yes, your writing does something.
One year after leaping into the life of a freelancer, putting my livelihood at the mercy of my words and their ability to move and connect, I’m doing it. I didn’t have an exact picture of what I hoped life would look like right now, but I am so pleased with how it turned out. The ride is still as dizzying and, at times, nauseating as it was a year ago but without the vertigo and unsettled stomach, I’m not sure I’d feel alive anymore.
So, in celebration of this year of mine, the success and the failure that kicked me in the tush towards more success, I’m offering a gift! Last week, coming in right before my little freelance anniversary, my words were published in a book! Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe, & WTF?! released early last week and the response has been nothing short of amazing. And that book could be yours! Of course, if you don’t win, you can always hop over to Amazon. I promise the stories in this book will make you laugh and cry in all of the good ways that we mothers need to laugh and cry.
Giveaway is open until Monday (to only folks in the US, Canada, and UK).
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