I sit alone in a room that smells of paper and lavender.
I thumb through pages slashed with red, typing furiously at the edge of a tiny wooden chair.
A faint grin presses my lips when I grab the fat Post It pad and move my pen across the pale blue lines.
A sharp tear cuts the silence of the room, and I reach to my right to place another scene on the story board that hovers beside me.
Then I wrap my hands around a warm mug of coffee, lean back, and allow the words in front of me dance their magical dance.
Tomorrow, May 4th, will be my Bravest Anniversary.
A year ago I restarted this blog to announce that I was secretly a writer. That I was writing a book, and had been doing so for some time.
A year ago I posted a single short fictional story to let everyone taste a bit of what I could do.
A year ago I announced this to my friends and family, too.
A year ago I put myself on a ledge, and jumped. I had no net, I had no guarantees. I knew I’d be judged, dismissed, laughed at behind my back. I’d be shocking people who knew me as Something Else, anything else, other than a writer.
I knew people would think I was wasting my time. Or was flighty.
But I jumped.
I opened myself up to the world, and proclaimed what I wanted to be. Who I am.
Not just a wife, mom, friend, daughter or sister.
Not something I was born into or chose. But who I innately am.
I, someone with trust issues aplenty, long-held walls self-built around me, let everyone in.
I began sharing what hurts me, moves me, worries me.
My most earnest desires, my raw needs, my most embarrassing flaws.
I put them Out There.
Not just here. But out there. I started speaking up.
Over the years I have been given advice deemed helpful by well-meaning people. I should do this, that, the other thing.
I now tell them “I write. There is nothing else I could possibly do.”
I don’t keep who I am a secret anymore.
This may not seem brave to some, but it is for someone who has lived a life prepared to defend herself, deflecting assumptions others have made of her, and taking a path that was always true, but for a lifetime, hidden. This outing of myself as a writer has made me prouder of myself than anything else I have ever done.
This Essential Truth about myself that I now share with everyone, allowing them access to me like I have never done before, was hard but worth it. I believed I could be more myself, and I now am working towards that every day.
What feeds my quiet pride is the response I get. I am fueled by the fun blog awards readers (yes! people actually read what I write!!) pass along, being voted as a Top 25 Funny Mom on the Circle of Moms website, finding myself listed on Blogrolls of ‘virtual’ strangers, the supportive or emotional comments that readers take the time to add to my blog posts, the kind private messages others send to me. I have allowed a few sets of eyes to scan select pages of my book, and their enthusiasm bubbles in my own belly.
The words “I can’t wait to buy your book” by blog commenters or beloved friends make me shimmer inside. Because I can’t wait to see that happen, too.
So each time I sit in my office with characters talking in my head, chapters rolling off my fingertips, the next scene on a Post-It being added to my story board for a book I know is too special to keep to myself anymore, I take a moment to proudly lean back and look at the easel that keeps my words, my story board aloft.
And smile at all the wonders of me it holds.
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This post was written for The Red Dress Club Memoir writing prompt.
The prompt went like this:
Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of.
I didn’t realize what the date was until I looked at the writing prompt again this morning. Then I checked my blog…lo and behold. Kismet.
As friendly and social as I am, I do have a tendency to hold people at an arm’s length. I (shockingly, I know…) don’t like to be judged, or for people to make assumptions about me. Yet, people always have. I can’t say how many times I have been told by others what I should do with my life, what I’m ‘all about’ or some summation of ‘what my problem is’, only for that person to be obscenely incorrect.
How can people know me if I don’t let them in?
How can I ever be happy if I am not writing?
How can I be my true self if I don’t just let go of these two issues of mine, and move forward?
Which is what I decided to do a year ago. I was pushed by a friend to blog, but this blog became so much more. I became so much more me because of this journey.
And I can’t wait to see what I come up with next.
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If you are new to Let Me Start By Saying…welcome! I have some more short memoir posts here. Or check out the About Kim page to learn more about me. For some funny, check out my Favorite Posts page. Thanks for visiting!
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