Downgrading My New Year’s Resolution

In 2016, my resolution was to ‘be brave.’

And, I was.

And, it was terrible.

Not all terrible. I mean, being brave allowed me to take risks and to grow. There was a lot of growth. But it felt a lot like standing on the edge of a cliff with a parachute I wasn’t sure I should trust. And growth is painful. It’s stretchy, scary, stabby pain. It’s questioning what I knew about myself and my relationships and my perspective on the world and then fixing it when I found that what I knew was bogus. That’s rul hard.

I went through a lot of therapy to figure out why I was anxious, worried, and sad all the time. It took brave to dig out some of the stuff I found. I learned I was stifling, doubting, and sabotaging myself.  I came out with confidence and a voice. I used that voice to express my needs, to stand up for myself in my relationships. (#terrifying) I wrote with that voice and submitted my writing for judgement. I got rejected a lot. (#sucks) I got accepted a little. (#sucksless) Every single time I put something out there to be read, I had to put my brave in front of my doubt. There is still so much doubt.

I worked really hard to stop performing in social interactions and to let myself off the hook for gatherings that make me uncomfortable. I had to re-establish my ability to be alone and still. My goal now is to be authentically, patiently, quietly(-ish) myself and more discerning about how I spend my energy. Not all that quiet…I also started performing on stage again. I took the added freedom we had with Robb not working full-time and I performed in a play in a community theater, which was retrieving an ancient version of myself that lived for theater. It was scary. I mean, really, really scary, but I showed myself that I can do it…well, even. So this year, I learned that I’m most at ease by myself…in the spotlight (#jazzhands) but I also acknowledge that I need support. I invested more in friendships, and that has proven very, very worth the risk (#bffbracelets). I used my brave to embrace my power as a woman and I’m learning from women who are fighting for equal rights and access. I renewed my commitment to stand for all human rights and treat the world as one big community that needs care.

Also, this year, just after the words “I’m gonna be brave this year” escaped from my mouth in a cartoon word bubble, Robb lost his job. So, we did the most logical thing, and took my one income, and our family of 4, and started an ice cream business. He got more time home with the kids and found his way around being a part-time business owner and part-time stay-at-home dad. There are not really instructions for either, so it’s been a long learning process, but he’s done well. It’s been exciting, and stressful. There has been more financial uncertainty this year than we are used to, or that I am comfortable with, which meant a lot of late night (fights) conversations about faith and trust and risk and potential. We’ve had to confront all the gulfs and walls we’d dug and built between us. It took us both being brave. We’re still working on it, but I’m proud of our progress. And, actually, the business is going really well…and even on the bad days there is DARK CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM.

So, this year, my resolution was to be brave. I was. I’m glad I was, but it was hard, and I am tired. I don’t think I’m going to stop being brave, but I do want to make a less ambitious goal for next year.

So, in 2017 my resolution is to drink more water.

…so, if there’s a drought, it’s my fault.

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