It was sometime last night between 8, when we started trying to get Joanna to fall asleep in the Pack ‘n’ Play in her cousin Sophie’s room, and 10, when she finally fell asleep and I could get up off the floor and stop singing Disney and Nick Jr. songs, that I made my resolution. It just came over me in a wave, while I sat there with my phone in one hand, scrolling through all my different social media accounts and watching the old year roll over into the new. Watching the women I follow use the same words over and over: “goals,” “resolutions,” “action,” “fears,” “excitement,” “challenges.” I felt like a kid with her face pressed to the glass window of a candy shop. Their photos were so glossy. Their art was so beautiful. Their brands were so polished. They were so confident. In reality, I had my face pressed to the carpet and I was singing the same line of a Wallykazam! song over and over because I’d run through my retinue of showtunes and had nothing left. I have a blog I never blog on, a house I don’t decorate, clothes I don’t wear, plans I don’t plan. And at the same time, these women don’t have anything I don’t have. I am literally standing in my own way.
All the cliches washed over me at once. I had cliches about my cliches – a lightbulb moment about letting it go, an epiphany about staring fear in the face to do the thing I could not do. What would I do if I knew I could not fail? I finally feel ready to find out the answer.
I’ve done it before – been afraid, and pushed through it. Shed my insecurities and trusted myself. But it feels like a really, really long time since I was that brave. I miss that. I miss surprising myself instead of being so predictable. Which is why I never make resolutions. I know myself too well. I know I won’t keep them. I don’t even remember the last time I even thought about making a resolution. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies , setting yourself up to fail, and self-doubt. I must be fun at parties.
So this year, I’m making them. I’m making ALL THE RESOLUTIONS. Because why not? Go big or go home, right? The more I make, the more chances I have to keep them.
I was reading something today about not making grand resolutions and instead breaking them down into smaller action items. You know what? Screw that. I have grand plans. I want to write a book. I want to blog. I want a puppy. I want so many things for myself and my family. And if I read this one year from now and I’m no closer to any of those goals, I’m not going to be embarrassed. Because this year, I’m not going to not try because I’m afraid of what might happen, or what people might think. Because honestly, I don’t think I’m afraid of what people will think if I don’t try – I’m afraid of what they might think if I DO. Like my ambitions will somehow infringe on their personal space. I keep ruminating on my cousin Christina’s words at my Nana’s Irish wake, that Nana had high standards for herself and everyone else, and that was ok. I am just like her. I, too, have high standards – the difference is, I’m not holding myself to them. I’m letting myself get by on good enough. And I’m worth more than that.
So this post is going to be my vision board. My touchstone that I can come back to when I’m losing my way. Like so many of the women on my social media feed, I am choosing a word for 2016, a personal mantra. My word is fearful.
Being fearful does not make me weak. Without fear, we can’t be brave. I am fearful – I am full of fear. I am full of strength to overcome those fears. Google has two definitions for fearful, and the second is “very great.” When David said that he was “fearfully’ made, he was saying he was made by a person of whom he stood in awe. I am fearful, and I am awesome.
So where will I get my inspiration? From my social media feed, yes. From The Reset Girl and her goal-setters club, because it’s never too late to reset my life. From Lara Casey and her Power Sheets. From Ira Glass*, Ted Talks, and my daughter Klara, who stands in front of our full-length mirror and marvels with glee over how big her butt is getting, because she hasn’t yet learned that girls are supposed to be ashamed. From Elsa, who I hear every day reminding me: “I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let it go.” From Glennon Doyle Melton, a fellow warrior, and Jessica Kirkland, who taught me my new favorite phrase: “As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” From Dean Sanderson on “The Grinder,” who has given me a new way to answer every fear that pops unbidden into my brain: “You can’t write about that, no one’s going to care.” But what if they do? “You can’t do that” But what if I could? From the Disney songs I sing Joey to sleep with: because dammit, if I keep on believing, the dream that I wish will come true.
I’m tired of not writing on here because it doesn’t have a consistent tone, or theme, or message. I like writing, so I’m going to write. The rest will follow. I wrote this, and I’m posting it, and I’m proud of it, and now I’m going to bed, because my first resolution is to get more sleep.
*It’s worth hearing him say it in his own voice.