My friends, I’m proud to share with you the story of a winning year – 2017. A year that is a complete foil to the one prior.
See, my 2016 was plagued with internal conflict and loss. But I countered that beast of a year with valor and can claim a victory in the battle for personal betterment. And report that, for as much as I focused inward (out of necessity) in 2016, I purposefully extended myself outward in 2017.
During this year of saying, “YES!” and being intentionally vulnerable, I did many things outside of my comfort zone. In return, I received the gift of community and a place I could FINALLY call home.
First, I joined this Mom’s Blog you may be familiar with. . .
I took a chance. I had just said goodbye to my last remaining grandparent, giving my third eulogy in too short of a time frame. But the words I spoke on the dais resonated yet again with my family. I was boosted by their praise.
Then I saw a posting on Facebook that Wine Country Moms Blog was taking applications. I was past the application deadline, but I stayed up writing my submission anyways. One of my grandma’s final gifts was giving me the courage to take my love of language public. Divine intervention?
The next thing I know, I’m writing for a blog that reaches thousands.
So, I kept putting myself out there!
I got on video chat with people I’d never met and was schooled on the world of social media. I carted my kid to a meeting to engage with “teammate” strangers, bringing raspberries from my fridge and an unopened box of Cheez-Its, whilst others had whipped up gorgeous breakfast concoctions.
But I gave them ME – unfiltered and real. And you know what? I made friends, despite not having a gourmet bone in my body.
In short, I was daring.
I showed the world a day in my life as a working single mom, messy house and all. I shared my body insecurities, then posed in my skivvies for a set of photos that had me in panic. That is, until I saw them and felt genuinely beautiful in my skin.
This past year, I’ve talked candidly about divorce and the challenges of co-parenting. I admitted that I almost set my house aflame via a kitchen fire. To put it simply, I delved into a myriad of personal topics. I was real, even though being real is scary sometimes.
But, I kept being REAL. And you know what? I finally found my place in this area.
I didn’t expect that agreeing to write for a local blog would help me stumble into place. That a year later, I’d walk into town and actually run into people I know. I’ve lived in the North Bay for almost a decade, and that hasn’t happened until now.
I’ve met so many amazing, local girlfriends through the neighborhood group associated with WCMB. I’ve also engaged with strangers moving into the area. No lie – I met one of my closest friends this way.
And those “teammates” I met at the aforementioned meeting? Now they’re my confidants. We were close before the fires, but staying up on a group chat for 48 hours during trauma bonds you like few things will. I’m forever grateful for these women.
But I didn’t just say, “Yes” to joining a blog. I also sought out relationships.
In ways like I never did before. I went on a “first ‘friend’ date” this year with a woman I met while out of town, who ended up living blocks away. And it was basically one of the best moves I’ve made all year, considering she’s now in the elusive bestie bucket.
I said, “YES!” to dinner with my neighbors and have been blessed with a relationship with them that is almost familial.
Get this? I’m even dating. I’m not divulging any details, but I will say that I’ve been rewarded for putting myself out there with someone who is pretty amazing.
Going into 2017, I knew my soul needed more.
I’m humbled that by simply reaching beyond the status quo, I was granted everything I could wish for and more. This does not undermine the support system I’ve had in place for years, though. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have the very best long-time friends and family. But they are not geographically close, which is tough.
Being vulnerable kick-started a self-evolution that improved my world in so many ways. I encourage you to say, “Yes” a bit more next year and to take those leaps of faith. I promise, there are gifts on the other side of that line that we draw for ourselves.