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?


  1. Wow! We are similar but have travelled different paths, both shy, not believing or seeing what others see, we are now boldly shaking off our shyness and setting sail on a new horizon of writing and joining friends along the way. I started a little earlier this year. Welcome aboard Donna. (Love reading your thoughts).

  2. Thank you, Diane. I am starting a series of picture prompts for my blog and I told myself that I will write whatever comes to matter what part of my life it might shine upon...I'm strong enough now to handle it...;0)

  3. I admire you so much for all you've accomplished thus far -- you are definitely ready to set sail on this new adventure.

    Good for you for being willing to shine light on whatever corners show up in your musings. This can only help you grow both as a writer and as a person -- and will encourage us to grow along with you.

    Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Beth. I'm not writing as a way to gain sympathy...I have had an interesting life...especially these past 2 years in more ways than I could ever have imagined...and my reward for never giving up is the chance to now indulge in my writing...after years of putting others first, I can concentrate on ME...;0)

  5. I was going to ask you whatever happened to your sister. But I am sure you'll tell us sometime in the future. If you had been able to rock that boat sooner, you may have flipped it over. I know you still would have kept afloat. Keep writing.

  6. I'm sure my sister would probably not want to see herself in my blog so the world may never know what ever happened to thanks for the vote of confidence!