In my early thirties, I made a commitment to keep learning. When I looked around at the “grown ups” that I wanted to model my life after, everyone that I longed to emulate was a life learner. They did not graduate from trying new things when they turned 18. They found joy in new adventures in their 50s and 80s. In the same season of life, I had a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. I saw them learning to read and walk. I saw them adapting to new schools and pushing their own bodies to overcome setbacks. I made a decision that I had to force myself, even when it was uncomfortable, to do new things.
At first, I pierced my nose and added tattoos. These seemed to be valuable new lessons. Then I moved on to things like preaching more, smoking cigars and learning to play the bass. These were badass moves in my mind. I was a hip, Jesus loving misfit that could utilize all mediums to add to my diverse reputation of intrigue and mystery. I scored big points with myself.
As I became more comfortable in becoming, I often dreamed about the next level of learning. My teaching duties had diversified and I was speaking to groups in and out of the church world. This pushed me to tell my story with an authenticity and rawness that required a more significant, dedicated time of preparation. I found myself writing 10-15 pages per talk and I began to find writing rhythms. I found a love of writing. I even found more freedom when I was alone than the times I was in front of people. This was new. This was growth. Two years ago, I took on a Lenten practice of daily writing. It was a challenge and a gift. I shared my writing with my village and they were gracious with encouragement. It was in that season that I began to dream.
I was never a great student. I was never excellent in English or stellar in the use of words. The best sign of my linguistic prowess was my ability to BS an essay test or pull off a research paper in a 10 hour all night cram session. Applying myself to reading and writing was a lost art – until I found the ability to be unapologetically myself. I write in incomplete sentences. I use slang. I regularly start my sentences with prepositions and I don’t let my “editors” change them. This is what makes my writing mine.
Over the last year and a half, my life has taken some big ups and downs. My hardest moments have happened in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms. I have learned to think outside the box in areas that were never questioned. This has been true in my health, my faith and my family. The one place that I have found wholeness, no matter the season, is The View From The Bathroom Floor. In my writing, I process and dream and pray. I am able to cry and laugh and sit in discomfort. There are times when I cannot people, but on those days I can write.
I tried for a long time to say that I am not a “real” writer. I recently, however, have been reminded, time and again, that my words matter. There are friends and strangers that have read my writings about depression and parenting and addiction and faith. Through my writing, a small ounce of light entered into the darkness they were carrying. I’m fully enbracing this gig.
In November, we took our oldest daughter on a 2,000 mile adventure to dream about college. For a week, my husband and I talked and drove and listened to my brilliant and creative 16-year-old dream about learning. On day 6 of that trip, I was reminded of an ad I saw on Facebook. It was an open call from Houston Moms Blog for contributing writers. I had 1,000,000 reasons why I should not apply – and the #1 excuse was because I was not a “real” writer. The day that we went on her 3rd college tour, I told my doubting brain to shove it, and I filled out the application. From our VRBO in New Orleans, and with a huge lump in my throat, I hit submit. What was I thinking?
I told exactly 6 people. The next week I told 2 more. That was it. I was terrified. I just knew this was a bad idea. Until it wasn’t. Today, I am thrilled to share that I am a new CONTRIBUTING WRITER with HMB. I am beside myself with JOY as I get to know a new group of amazing, talented and incredibly diverse women. If you don’t already follow this blog, YOU MUST! The content is strong and vulnerable and ever so handy. Sure, it is especially appealing to those in the Houston area, but as you will see, it is so much more than just a local events blog. I will be attending my first team event this weekend. My posts on both my personal and TVFTBF social media sites will have pictures and more. I’m just a little excited, and I am thrilled to announce it here first. You, my faithful readers and dear friends, have given me an incredible lesson in life learning.
I believe that choosing to grow and continually evolve as a human is one of the best parenting decisions I ever made. My girls need to see their mom model the nerves and excitement of risking failure. They have seen it as I waited for this announcement. They were two of the original 8 and they were my biggest cheerleaders when the invitation email arrived. We are never too old to reach for a new goal. May 2019 be a year of new adventures for us all.