It’s the end of the year and I’ve updated my Facebook picture for the first time in five years. It wasn’t easy to do, but I appreciate all of my friends who liked it—friends who love me despite the fact that I am not skinny or perfect or beautiful. Friends who understand with Maya Angelou, that I too, am a phenomenal woman.
I was taught to hide while I was growing up. Hide if you didn’t look good enough. Hide in the house and not answer the door to bill collectors. Hide and not answer the door if your friends come over and your house is not perfect. I was taught to hide how many times I moved and how little education I had. I was taught to never mention weight around my mom or moving and our life of instability to my dad.
I have hid in sheds, cabins, houses and in cars—below the window, watching the trees whip by in the sky because I was of school age, but I didn’t go to school. And I was taught to lie to church members and say I was doing home study when I never took one course and my parents never bought one school book.
How do you overcome a life of hiding behind little lies that glue and hold your family together like one big spider web? And how do you overcome when your parents lie about you to a judge to discredit you for telling the truth and laugh when you confront them? This happened over five years ago, but still I’ve been hiding. Until I learned what narcissism is, before I couldn’t connect the dots so I continued to hide.
I think we can stop hiding when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect. I’ve decided to forgive myself for not being the weight I wish I was, not writing the books I wish I had written, not making art years ago and not being assertive enough in my past. When we forgive ourselves, we can release the old and get on with the new.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story,
the light side and the dark.
In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am
and what God’s grace means.
– Brennan Manning
Last year my word was motion. I think I was trying to find a way to make some sort of motion to stop hiding, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen. I made some moves–first by publishing a book of my great grandparents’ love letters. Then I came out of hiding by making art and oh, wait for it—walking in public which literally terrifies me. I think I’ve made some progress, but I still have much to do in all of these areas.
This year I am choosing a very intentional word—RELEASE!
1. Allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free.
“the prisoners would be released” to set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate, set at liberty
2. Allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely.
My first RELEASE is Gratitude:
Gratitude for the joy of making art and getting paid for it.
Gratitude for my artist friends from Art 101 who cheered me on and challenged me to make better art.
Gratitude for my husband who is my number one patron, best friend, lover and partner in the crime of tearing down the masks and freeing others to do the same.
Gratitude for my family members–whether we see eye to eye is irrelevant to love.
Gratitude for my Christian friends both in the blogging community and in person. I am thrilled that I belong to an active and very loving church–the value of which cannot be over stated.
Gratitude for the ACoN Community who also supports me and encourages me. By telling our stories we are healing each other!
Gratitude to God for energy and health to make it through another year.
Gratitude for my sweet feline muses Kitteh Coon Cosette Evangeline and Minkah Mhotep.
As I look forward to 2015, I plan to stay out of hiding and RELEASE some things I have been holding onto for years.
Release anxiety and fear and ban them from my life.
Release unwanted pounds (we’ll see how this goes).
Release more art–Artist Kelly Rae Roberts calls this unleashing our joy—It is a sweet release!
Release my story—It’s time to own my story. I’ve been working on a couple memoirs for a few years and I believe 2015 is the year to finish them.
Release those family members who do not choose to walk with me in authenticity and integrity to do as they choose with no hard feelings.
Release myself from the expectations of others. I will listen to and answer to God–not any human being.
Perhaps you too, are choosing a word instead of a resolution. Words are not only freeing, they empower us to dream of the good we can do in this new year. You know that famous quote from Gladiator? Well it’s true, so dream of the good you can do!
What we do now (in this life) echoes in eternity.
PS If you share your word in the comments below or share my blog on Facebook, I will enter you into a new drawing–this time for a pack of Little Red Survivor Cards. The winner of the last drawing for a pack of Healing Flowers cards is Barbara from HomesteadHillFarm.
And here is a little reminder for all the phenomenal women who read my blog–let’s come out of hiding and own and claim it!
(RIP Dear Maya!)