The Finish Line

junah42 / / CC BY-NC-SA

I’ve reached the finish line of the NoMo challenge of a post a day. (Cue singing choir of angels.) It feels good to add one more thing to a growing list of accomplishments.

Here’s a little secret. I have anxiety issues. Every box I can check off where I’ve done something in a public forum is a big, bold check mark. The hurdles are big, but I’ve been practicing my leaps, and I can sometimes make it over. I wish I would have learned earlier in life that you only build resilience through practice, failure, and more practice.

Curiously, it took a friend who I had always thought to be the epitome of self-confidence telling me that underneath it all she was nervous. She was just really good at faking it. She would plunge ahead, and I watched people react positively, even when something she said or did caused me to wince for her. After that, I pictured her outward confidence and it inspired courage in me. And funny thing, now I have enough courage on my own and don’t have to picture hers any more.

There is a moment that is forever etched in my mind – a pivotal moment, a decision that affected the majority of my life. I was a young, introverted 7th or 8th grader. The class was called “Creativity,” and it hinged on integrating other subjects with creative writing and art. I had written a poem from my heart. My teacher at the time, Mrs. Marshall, approached me and asked if I would mind if she hung it on the wall. I was mortified that my words would be out there subject to criticism. I was the type of girl who wrote with her head and hair hanging over her paper, while the other arm shielded it from view. Yet there was a part of me that was proud, and that part of me nudged the anxious part, but not hard enough. Anxiety won out. My poem remained unseen. I was safe. But was I happy?

Fast forward to my blog. It’s a work in progress, a baby taking tottering steps. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be yet, and that’s okay because the fact that it exists at all is me leaping over one of those hurdles. Being published. Putting my words and ideas out there for someone else to read. It has taken me a long time to build the confidence needed to make that leap. I know there will be some flops, and I still fear that they may all be flops, but I am getting better at shushing that bully inside who wants to keep me down.

Is it still hard to hit the publish button? Sometimes. But while my finger may waver a while, I soon think Oh, what the hell, and push. It’s not like it’s the infamous red button that’s going to cause worldwide nuclear war. It’s just a small victory in the war of attrition between my bully and me. I think at last the bully is losing.

As I move forward, I will probably not publish every single day. I may be inspired to publish more than once a day, it’s really up to my muse. I will try to keep in mind number one on Kurt Vonnegut’s list for creative writers:

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

This quote has made me cringe more than a couple of times during the course of this challenge. I hope you have not felt your time wasted, even by a moose dream. 😉

As I added this to my blog, WordPress kindly noted that this was my 100th blog post, adding to my happy day.


Life Beyond the Blog

Blogging has taken up my life for the past month.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but it seems like it. I start in the morning with my laptop and cup of coffee. I may head over to The Daily Post to see if there’s something to inspire me if I don’t already have something already in mind. I look forward to the fiction writing challenge days where I can wrestle my creativity into something that, hopefully, you will enjoy reading. Some days I am lost, sitting for extended time with my computer on, but no happy clicking of the keyboard. Some days I just peruse what you have written.

But there is life beyond blogging, right?

“Mom, you’re always on the computer.” It’s a complaint I hear often. I hope it’s not entirely true, and the fact that it’s coming from teenage boys who are often on their own devices makes me think it’s code for I’m hungry. Feed me. But it is a reminder not to be on my computer too much.

Life calls, as it should. It is, after all, out there, not in here. There are chores to be done and kids to feed. The seasonal changes in the yard inspire me to break out the gardening gloves and the camera. Pumpkins from the garden beg to be cooked into bread and pies. Tomatoes in jars line the shelves, as do tomatillos, ready for winter salsa. And every moment playing Frisbee with the pup is to her a moment of heaven. 

Work calls me away from my screen, but also gives me inspiration. I see hundreds of small faces, usually smiling, but occasionally troubled. They ply me with pictures of homes and rainbows and 2-D versions of themselves with plastered smiles. Their exuberance and energy give me hope for the future. I hope I make a difference in those small lives. They make a difference in mine.

It’s only outside my computer that I can breathe the humus-filled air and listen to the birds and rushing water. Mr. A and I have our favorite spots now that we like to revisit, trails that skirt gorgeous stretches of river through fir, hemlock and cedar forest or through fields of alpine wildflowers to get to a spectacular view, but it requires shutting off the computer.

I could go on and on. There are so many reasons to close the screen. All I have to do is remember them.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


And because there’s always another side, and life isn’t all “out there,” I have to share this wonderfully penned response from lifelessons .