Saturday, December 17, 2011
Pull Up Your Anchor And Set Sail!
I don't think anyone that knew me as a child or a young adult would recognize me today. Being the youngest of four set up the pecking order at our house and I did my best to blend into the background. School was the same; I could have been a ghost in those halls. A shy, insecure teenager who never wanted to rock the boat, much less set out to sea.
The next twenty years flew by and still my life was a quiet one. I was content to be the "mouse" and found myself in an unhealthy marriage. The only good things that came out of that relationship was a beautiful baby boy who later grew up into an intelligent young man I'm proud of, and a determination to get my freedom back.
The waters are a little choppy, but I'm still in control of my boat.
Fast forward another two years and I am a single mother of an almost three year old and traveling 1100 miles with my sister as I try to create a new life for us among the hills of Tennessee. I discover an inner strength I forgot I possess, but even then I remain firmly tied to the shore. I have set aside my dream of being a writer and settle for the "safe" life of raising my son alone.
Jump ahead another nine years; my son is now twelve, and I enroll him in marital arts because he is concerned about high school bullies. But I'm safely sitting on the sideline, never imagining I will one day train myself. My little boat rests in calm waters and I am content.
Then...the first wave comes my way.
I am encouraged to try out classes myself. I am petrified to say the least. I am so incredibly shy that I can barely even speak to the center manager who invites me out on the mats, and it literally takes years before I can look him in the eyes and call him my friend. Despite my fears, I throw out a loooooong line and let my little boat drift. I am not ready to lose sight of the shore, but I give myself permission to test the waters of this new adventure that beckons to me.
Next...a bigger wave comes my way.
I am asked to join the instructor team at my martial arts school. I am astonished as I am still terribly shy and NEVER imagine that I can do something so bold! To stand in front of other people and teach, to put myself on display like that is as real a possibility to me as my discovering a unicorn living in my back yard. But again, I let out some more line and my boat travels farther from shore. I can still see land which brings me comfort because I'm still in control, but I also sense a change beginning inside of me.
Learning to become an instructor is one of the most difficult challenges I attempt. To overcome sometimes paralyzing shyness and to have confidence in being the catalyst for others to discover a love for TaeKwonDo. But ten years later I have become a great instructor, even by my own high standards, and I no longer need to look for the shore. This is a good feeling.
Finally...the biggest wave yet to come my way.
Earlier this year I start having dreams of completed children's books with MY name listed as author. So many dreams in fact that I can no longer ignore them and begin to write them down. By November of this year I write down a number of PB first drafts as well as complete a 10,000 word MG novel, write down 17,000 words of a YA novel, and finish some other poems and essays. But it is Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo challenge that makes me realize what I still need to do.
I have come a long way from the child I once was and have many reasons to be proud of myself. All I need to do now is cut those ties that chain me to land. To pull up anchor and set sail for a brighter horizon and a distant shore...who is brave enough to come with me?