Holy Sh*t…

Day 365
Day 365

…I did it. 365 posts sharing my one year of exploring what artistic expression looks like for me.

I began the journey in a home I no longer live in, made the time to do something regardless of where or how I was – Spain, Colorado, the day I moved, Arizona, my sister’s graduation, sick kids, sick husband, sick self, road trip, fire evacuation, birthdays, huge work events, vacations. I’ve written honestly from the rawest part of me, living completely open and exposed. There were things I tried that didn’t work while some things I discovered and now can’t imagine not doing forever. I worked through fear, excitement, exhaustion, loathing, embarrassment, love, and anger. My kids, and probably my husband, can’t wait for this to be over. Isabella asked me tonight, “So are you going to do your post and then never do it again? Ever?”

And I have to say I can’t do that. Will I continue to do and post something everyday? Probably not. But the thought of doing this project and then stopping altogether. Nope. That’s just not a possibility. To be fair, Isabella followed up her question with, “Mom I want to read everything you’ve done from the beginning.” Which tells me even though she’s sometimes hated it, she recognizes the importance of it to me.

People have been asking me about this day, this final day.
“What are you going to do?” I don’t know. I’ll see when I show up.
“Why haven’t you been bringing it up the closer you get?” Because it’s a lot of pressure. What if it’s not a great post? What if it’s not inspiring? What if? What if? What if? Geez, one would think I hadn’t gained anything over the last year.

Self PortraitIn some ways I’m as nervous about posting this as I was on my first day. But in others I’m a world away from the day I turned 39. I remember something someone said to me when I spent 3 months in Kenya in 1998. Toward the end of the trip she said, “You seem more comfortable in your skin.” Little did she know it still didn’t fit, I’d just figured out how the dynamic in the group worked and stretched and pulled my skin to be less noticeable. That’s what I’ve done for most of my life I think; test the temperature of the room, check for all the exits and see what had to be done or said to make sure everyone else was comfortable, often to the discomfort of myself. I hid in bulky clothes, made myself as invisible as possible and never had any opinions.

But not anymore. I’ve had glimpses now of what it feels like to be me in my skin – exposed, imperfect, proud, beautiful, crazy, ugly, scared, composed, a flight risk, confident, and curious – I’m all of that and more. Now sometimes when I’m uncomfortable it’s because I’ve stood up and been seen and therefore the situation is awkward. But at least I showed up for myself.

Here’s the final paragraph from my first post:

So here I sit, wondering if I’ve bitten off something the size of New York, and yet that’s the idea right? I don’t know. I won’t know unless I try it. I’m starting this blog to hold myself accountable to a daily output of something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be big, there’s no one grading it, it doesn’t have to awaken buried feelings in others, or bring someone to tears. It can be a line on a page or a snapshot of a bug-splat on my window. The only rules I’m going to have are these:
Be gentle with myself.
Be imperfect.
Post everything, even if I think it’s bad because how else will I see improvement at the end of the year.
And finally, if someone says a nice thing about what I’ve done say, “Thank you, it’s true.”

There’s not a thing I would change about my adventure. I set myself up well with simple but expandable rules that are good for a lifetime because my journey doesn’t end at day 365.

Tomorrow I turn 40 and I’m in this one for the long haul.