Stepping Out

It is super scary to step out of hiding. I picture myself standing just inside a cave, where the light is seeping in. Freedom is just on the other side, and nothing is stopping me from leaving, except for myself.

Wave after wave of “what if’s” come crashing into the opening of the cave and I close my eyes and hold my breath. Dozens of ideas come through me, and I file them away in a folder in my phone list, no good. Already having made myself vulnerable in my previous posts, I realize that now it’s time to make that leap, find my focus…but fear holds me down. It keeps me inside where it’s safe.

Fear is supposed to make us grow, but the only way it succeeds in doing so, is if we face it. How can I ask my children to be brave and do difficult things when I cower and let fear hold me back from some of the simplest of tasks.

Fear has kept me from publicly sharing a photo of me and the person I hold most dearly.

Our relationship, our identities, the family we’ve built, the values we hold; these are all things for which I am so thankful and proud. My wife and I rarely get pictures together aside from a selfie, and we haven’t yet had that dreamy couple photog session. My mom snapped this picture of us and it just captured the pure happiness and love that any couple would love to rush to Facebook and gush over. Before I could even figure out the perfect words to go along with it for a post, I deleted it. Before I even hit publish I already had critics and disapproving voices in my head. This is the same thing that happens every time I begin to see a plan come into focus for this blog. I know what I want to say but I’m scared.

Two things are being accomplished here.

First, I’m publishing this totally gorgeous picture of us because, I love it. And because worrying about the what if’s really scare me, but I gotta dip my toe in the water sometime. My first step out of my comfortable cave is to put up this photo.

Second, I’m ready to make the leap. Topics will vary but be based around my little large family, and can include many things ranging all the way from recipes and paint projects to parenting advice, being gay (cause that’s what I am 🤷🏻‍♀️), and everything in between.

This is me, one step closer to freedom.

Kindness Over Everything

I gave up on making New Years resolutions years ago.

Instead I spend the whole year setting intentions and changing and growing, or staying the same as much as I can. But the one mantra I want to embrace from here on out is:

Kindness over everything.

I used to apologize for taking up space.

I said I’m sorry. A lot. Just ask my bff Terrea. At one point she lovingly offered to smack me every time I said it, but was afraid I might bruise. To be fair, I also tried to make it my resolution to not say it so much, and she was trying to help.

My point is, my entire life I felt like I was in the way. Insignificant, unneeded, inadequate. If I had something to say, no one ever heard it. I was a wallflower. Very few people saw me, really saw me.

I have apologized to poles for accidentally bumping them, people.

Sorry to bother you. Sorry, I need something. Sorry I’m sick. Sorry I exist.

They don’t want to hear what you have to say. You don’t have what it takes to keep up a conversation. What you have to say is irrelevant. You don’t know anything.

Why was I like this? I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that somewhere along the way my self esteem got knocked way the heck deep down low. I didn’t understand why people believed in me. I was a fraud. Somehow I had stumbled through life up until this point, and it was all by accident. That’s what my brain was telling me anyway.

But there have been people in my journey through life that have seen me. Truly seen me. The number is few, but their impact on me is immeasurable. They are the people who have told me what they see in me. Things I couldn’t believe at the time. But they did. It’s true what they say about happiness being an inside job. But the inside job is just the final step. It doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. I might not be in the place I am now without the love of a friend. A family member. An acquaintance of a friend who became like family. People who have come into my life and shown me that I was in a chrysalis. They held up a mirror and showed me the wings they saw folded up inside.

What I’m trying to say, if you have stuck with me this far, is that we all possess a power. Will we use it to help, or…? It’s not hard. It can be spelled out in one word: kindness. And it can be something as small as telling someone the goodness you see inside of them. Tell someone when they have done something that makes you smile. Love. Simple kindness goes a long way. Some of you will never know the stitches you put in my heart. But they hold, strong as ever. And I treasure your time. I pledge to be kind. To use my voice, which wants to be heard, to spread kindness and to show love, and to let people know when I see something in them.

Share your ideas for ways to spread kindness.