Before I let this new year get too far ahead of me, I want to share our family's quote for 2016.
Rather than making resolutions, I like setting an intention for the year and I like choosing a quote that resonates with that intention. And a hashtag ;) I started doing this in 2014, and I'm keeping up the tradition this year.
Last year I read and loved two books by Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston and she has spent the last decade plus researching vulnerability, shame, worthiness, and courage by listening to many, many people's personal stories and analyzing them for common threads that can shed light on what these concepts look like and mean in real lives. Her books are wonderful. I read The Gifts of Imperfection, which is about what it means to live an authentic life - to live life from a place of worthiness. And James and I both read Daring Greatly, which is about vulnerability and why vulnerability is the most important part of courage.
So this year's quote comes from that book, Daring Greatly.
Here we are in a new town, in a new state, closer to our east coast family, but more than an hour drive away from any of them, looking at new jobs, new schools, new people, new home, new everything.
And it's exciting!
And it's scary!!
And at the moment, our new house is the only place that feels like home and I really just want to hole up in here with the kids and enjoy a life of solitude and not bother making friends or looking at schools or thinking about going back to work or any of that hard, scary stuff. K? Thanks. Bye.
Ok, no. Of course I'm not going to let myself do that. But this year I clearly need a quote that will help me feel brave enough to get out of the house and learn my way around this new town and try to make some mom-friends and get my kids enrolled in therapy and school and train for this half marathon that my sisters-in-law have gotten me into and - gulp - look into going back to work and decide what I want to be when I grow up.
All of those things make me want to throw up and then get back in bed and hide under the covers.
But ok, Brené, I believe you. For me, showing up definitely feels like the hardest part. Lacing up my running shoes and walking out the door. Getting the kids dressed, wrangled into their car seats, and pulling out of the driveway. Clicking "Publish" on a new blog post. Clicking "Join" on a local parents group online. Speaking up to actually talk to a stranger in real life.
Showing up means being seen, and being seen means taking the risk of feeling rejected. But showing up and being seen also means taking a chance that I'll be accepted just as I am. And it means putting myself out there to experience and learn and grow.
Last night there was an information session on Kindergarten and Pre-K programs in our county that was organized by a local parent group on Facebook. James had joined the group and found out about the meeting the day before. He suggested that it would be useful for me to go. I suggested that the thought of going to a meeting with a bunch of strangers to talk about something as stressful as school choices was going to make me throw up. I could feel the tension creeping up my arms and into my shoulders and neck. But I knew he was right and it was a good opportunity and it made more sense for me to go and not him because I'm the one who takes care of enrolling and making appointments and scheduling therapies and classes for the kids. So I reminded myself of this quote and I went to the meeting. And I didn't even throw up. And I met another mom with a son with special needs. And we chatted about transitioning from Early Start services into public school services and how confusing it all is.
And when I got home and told James all about it he said, "Thank you for being brave."
As a family, we did a big, brave thing at the end of last year. We showed up here in Durham! Here we are! As exciting and scary as it may be, for better or for worse, we took the chance. And now we've got to keep showing up and taking chances so that we can keep growing and enjoying life, and find a sense of belonging here in this new place with all these new people.
So here's to a year of being brave and showing up. Showing up, being seen, risking rejection, and taking a chance on finding a place to belong. Because everybody deserves to be seen and to belong.