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As soon as I sat down to write this post, I heard The Von Trapp Family singing:
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu
That’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Little Gretl! That staircase!
I think it’s a sign: I’m ready to say [a fond] farewell…to Engage.
In last month’s prompt, I took it fairly easy and said I’d journal Engage in December. Much of it was looking at the culmination of Engage. Its takeaways. (Which I’ll save for my Sankofa prompt next month.) I looked back at my mind map…for anything I skipped, missed, or that no longer resonates. And, excerpted from that prompt, I addressed this:
I’m turning to [my journal] now because there’s still a depth I haven’t reached with Engage. And I know it! I’ve been avoiding it! And I don’t want the the year to end without going there.
(And there’s the crux of why I do One Word.) (Accountability.)
That question hanging over my head this year is What’s keeping me from going deeper?
(Nothin’ like leaving it ’til the last minute, eh?)
Not because I didn’t know. It wasn’t hard to answer. But — it’s uncomfortable to wrestle with.
Simply put, the answer’s fear. Fear of…mediocrity? Fear of failure sounds cliché. But, that’s true here, too.
Last year, as part of One Word: Curate, I spent time noticing, and eventually addressing, the narratives I tell. I did a fine job curbing the ones I tell out loud. But I’ve noticed I still tell some in my head.
And the thing about that is…it keeps me from:
1 : : taking risks
2 : : sharing + contributing
3 : : growing
All because…I fear I’m inadequate. That I don’t have enough to give.
Believe me — this isn’t playing small. I’m not fishing for compliments. It’s that I lost confidence in myself.
Years ago now, I left collegiate and creative communities when I moved east to west — then chose to stay home to raise children. And because I wanted to be with my babies…was grateful I had that choice…and because they were spaced a bit far apart…it was, well, a long time. In that time, those muscles I developed as a grad student, then teacher, as part of a collective…they atrophied.
And by the time I opened to possibilities? To grow other than as a mother? I’d aged enough, lost my edge enough…whatever that is…that I resisted going deeper.
As soon as it felt risky, when it felt too hard, I’d tread water.
I’d lost my confidence to dive.
I don’t remember where I saw this quote. Somewhere, anyway. And it resonated with me enough that I copied it onto the front page of my bullet journal.
The last couple times I glimpsed it, I paused. And recently I stopped to ask myself — honestly — what are those strengths?
When I answered, I asked myself how I could use them to give, share, grow. And then, without giving myself time to back out, I said yes to an opportunity. And I offered to host a workshop. Without giving airtime to narratives, I looked at myself objectively.
On paper, I can see I have every right to some confidence.
Sure, I may have atrophied. But! Muscles have memory. And I’m pretty sure I can get them back.
Ack! It wasn’t the exit I’d have necessarily picked for a word. But it was — indeed — necessary work. And part of doing it is doing it honestly.
I have a feeling this is just the start. Because next year’s word — well, there’s no telling with that one. It feels like a big one, kind of a bold one. (As in, the word itself feels bold.) (And maybe by the end, I will, too, a little bit? We’ll see.)
The party’s open. Here’s the link one more time. And I’ll see you again around New Year’s! Between now and then, I have some kids to soak up while they’re here…