Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 62: Daring to Dream

My dream has always been to be a wife and mother. College was merely preparation for a backup plan should Prince Charming not ride in on his white horse soon enough. But that backup plan was never very definitive. I figured I'd need a career of some sort, but never really felt passionate about anything.

Thankfully I was married and pregnant when I graduated with my second bachelor's degree, and thus spared the grueling task of muddling my way through indifference toward a career path.

Little did I know, however, that becoming a wife and mother as I had dreamed would also stir up passion for a traditional career. (I say traditional because mothering is a valid career choice!) Suddenly I cared so intensely about so many things, and I wanted to use my talents (and expensive, so far monetarily useless degrees) to make a difference in my community and the world.

I thought about all the things I could see myself doing: homeopath, naturopath, doula, home birth midwife, lactation consultant... But all those things would require more schooling and take me away from my children, and my responsibility and greatest passion still remained with them. These are things that the future may hold for me once my children are grown, but they weren't right for our family's present.

But I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't fulfilling my potential. Not that mothering wasn't important enough or challenging enough - God knows it is - just that there was something else I was supposed to be doing, other parts of me that weren't being utilized and challenged.

I worked so hard to earn degrees, then even harder to educate myself and grow as a person and a mother that I felt like keeping all of it to myself was a waste, almost selfish. (And now my fingers hover over the delete button because that all seems much too self-important. But I'm learning not to shy away from my strengths and abilities and not to sell myself short. So yes. I do have something to offer the world! *blush*)

After some time on discussion formus with some amazing women (who I hope to meet in real life some day!), I finally landed on writing as a way to impact the lives of women in my community and those far beyond my physical reach. This I could accomplish without ever leaving my children's sides. And while it doesn't allow me to give the hands-on support I'd love to offer (to every women on the planet), it's an opportunity to exercise some creativity and fine tune a talent in a way that hopefully brings something positive to someone else.

I know I can name a few women whose writings were pivotal in my mothering journey thus far, and I'd be humbled and honored to be a source of knowledge, inspiration, or encouragement for another woman in the same way.

But freelance writing isn't exactly an easy road. In fact, odds are you'll put yourself out there over and over only to be rejected over and over, especially as an unpublished writer. So each time I'd start working toward a submission, I'd find an excuse to give up long before I sent anything off.

I never admitted out loud that writing was one of my dreams, and especially not that I wanted to do it for any reason other than than a paycheck, because saying that it meant something to me would make it that much more painful and embarrassing to be rejected.

For two years, fear of failure kept me from ever trying. It even kept me from figuring out what exactly that dream of writing looked like, because entertaining the idea only led to visions of the inevitable reply: not interested and negative self-talk: it'll never happen.

It was somehow more tolerable to reject myself than to take a risk at having my work rejected by someone else, even though that meant cheating myself out of a chance at acceptance and success.

Then I started this project.

This didn't start as a writing project, and even now it isn't a writing project. But it is a space for me to take an honest look at myself and to challenge myself to do and be better for my children. And thanks to lots of encouragement from those of you reading along on this journey, I realized that writing is part of that.

I don't ever want my boys to see themselves for less than what they are, to write themselves off or downplay their abilities. I want them to be confident, take pride in their talents and use them to accomplish their dreams, whatever they may be.

They're not going to learn that by watching me squander my own gifts. If I want that for them, I'd better show it to them.

So as I write this, my first published article is appearing in a magazine - a small, local, free magazine...but I'm published. It's certainly not the fulfillment of my dream, and it's not work that I'm passionate about, but it's a stepping stone down the path, and one that I couldn't have taken if I hadn't put myself out there.

And now the challenge is to make time - somehow, someway - and take risks to keep moving toward the goal of having something meaningful published in a more prominent place.

Rejection is going to be part of the process, but after putting my writing and so much of my "dirty laundry" out in the open for everyone, including me, to see here, I'm ready to face that fear. I know what I'm capable of, what my gifts are, and more importantly who I am, and none of that is defined by whether or not someone else accepts or rejects my work.

So if I've given any inspiration or encouragement to any of you reading, please know that you've given me much more in return!


  1. Congratulations on getting your article published! It takes a lot of courage to send off your work to strangers.

    As for inspiring others, you can certainly count me as one of them. I spend my Sundays catching up on your blog usually and I have learned a lot already from you and your journey.

  2. The words of encouragement mean a lot, and I'm honored to be a part of your own journey. One that is about to change radically in just a few short weeks, right? :D Very exciting!