I sit here, avoiding raking the leaves that are choking my front yard, ignoring the end-of-the-year bookkeeping that is breathing down my neck, pretending not to notice the gym membership card that dangles from my key-chain pleading, for the love of God, to be used. I pile all of this in the back of my brain because today I need to write.
Last night, I officially became a published author. Two pieces are now loud and proud in the American River Review, a nationally award winning collegiate literary magazine.
Last night, I read one of my pieces before an audience.
It wasn’t so long ago, I was the woman who would cry before she had to meet clients because I was so nervous; the woman who would sweat and shake when I needed to ask a question in a flippin’ PTA meeting; the woman whose identity has always been defined by the existence of someone else: wife, mother.
And while those experiences,as well as both those titles, have given me great joy, last night, it was me they introduced. It is my name on the stories in the glossy pages…pages that people actually pay to read.
I can spot them now. The ones who used to be like me. They shake their heads and repeat their mantra of, “Oh, gosh. I could never do that.” Their internal whipping post vacillates between quietly nudging them as an annoying reminder and violently slamming them as a stabbing truth that they will never be good enough.
I want to tell them to be bold and fly. I want to tell them that everyone is scared. I want to tell them that people will forget about them five minutes after they leave. I want to tell them to shine their colors as brightly as they can because even if they are forgotten, for one moment, they gave someone a rainbow, a reason to smile, a thought to ponder. I want to tell them that even if they make a mistake, even if they screw up, it will never be as embarrassing as they think (the blessing of the five minute rule).
All that fear that we keep bottled up inside is just a thief stealing moments not realized.
Live out loud. Go forth and conquer. Live every positive cliche without excuses. Love yourself for who you are because I’m telling you, the feeling is unbelievably awesome.