Admitting something to yourself is much, much different than admitting it to everyone you know. I made a promise to a friend of mine, her name is Jessica but here I will refer to her as Sally. Anyway, I made a promise to her that I would work on sharing my writing. We always trade emails about how we are doing, and of course I write here, and between the two she can usually find something to be touching, inspiring, or uncomfortably honest. In fact, I get it often…that my words touch people, inspire people, or make them grossly uncomfortable because of the honesty. I get told how brave I am, courageous, talented, and of course a great writer. (That feels so braggy to write, but it’s true and I never say it so I’m continuing my bravery here..)
I suppose I believe it when it’s said. Though I try not to believe it too much. But after the hundredth time Sally told me to share my work more publicly, I said okay. Her idea was a weekly newsletter meant to inspire and uplift. I started working on it, but…I never followed through. I’ve been meaning to write a book for a while now, but with the looming Big D (dissertation) coming soon, the likelihood of me fitting the time in for that was slim to nil. So I decided I would just write for other blogs. Specifically a blog dedicated to graduate students, and a blog dedicated to yoga, peace, and living well. Sounds like me, right?
I followed through. And let me tell you, I was surprised when the drafts I sent to editors were excitedly accepted. I was even more surprised when Elephant Yoga emailed me saying my post was up only days after my draft was edited. SHARE YOUR LINK! They urged. I excitedly went to the page which had 8 views at the time and read my work. I smiled, and clicked the “Share on Facebook” icon then came the nausea. What the hell was I thinking writing this article? I am not a yogi. I can barely hold downward facing dog. I haven’t done it at all this week! Will they know? Was there a misspelling? Is it too poetic and nonsensical? What the hell did I put the word FAT in the title for!? Honestly, it was one of the happiest proudest moments in my life and I seriously doubted sharing it with anyone I knew for all of those reasons. I could have let it stop me, but because I can recognize a shame spiral…I clicked the button and shared it.
I didn’t look for about an hour, then came the feedback. Likes. Shares. Emails. Comments. More shares. Pins. Emails. Messages. Texts. Comments….And before I knew it there was another email, this time from Elephant Yoga saying my article was so well-received they were moving it to the popular section. I was stunned. Am stunned. How did this happen?
I suppose, even when I believe all the negative things, I believe in my talent more. It is God’s gift to the world, I’m just the messenger. Oddly enough, my name means God’s gift. Actually, that’s not odd at all.
So when I woke up this morning and realized it was Thanksgiving day, I laughed because it felt no different. I wake up every single morning and give thanks. I say thank you all day for big things and small things. Everyday is a day of thanksgiving. But, on today I was particularly thankful for, what I called “the gun barrel”. Because when you’re staring down the barrel of the gun there is only one thing that really matters: making peace with how you choose to survive. I chose to survive acknowledging fear, but not bowing to it. I choose to survive indulging myself in goodness, and wellness, and a full joyous life. I chose to survive without shame, in total vulnerability naked in front of friends, family, and about 3,600 strangers.
Also, on this day I am thankful for Sally. Who knows how long it would have taken me without your not-so-gentle encouragement. Perhaps you are God’s gift to me.