The Vulnerable Gnome

Be Brave Friday

Yesterday, there was a package.

And the package was addressed to me.

Inside that package wasn’t actually a present I ordered for someone else, which is what I was expecting. Inside that package was the unexpected; it was a present for me.

Not just any present. A handmade present.

Not just any handmade present. A gnome.

I love gnomes almost as much as manatees. That’s a big love. And here was this brown, adorable gnome that had travelled in a dark box surrounded by packaging, taking this journey where he didn’t know his reception, didn’t know his outcome, didn’t know if he’d get there, didn’t know if he’d be loved when he did.

Jumping up and down, I hugged the gnome to me and started tearing up, because I am so lucky and I know what it’s like to feel like that gnome: boxed in, afraid, not really knowing where I’m headed and getting bumped around a bit in the transit.

Maybe you feel a bit like that sometimes, too?

the most excellent gnome

But in the package was also a handmade card about being brave that I truly needed this week. It was like getting the best, biggest, unexpected hug (if you’re a person who likes hugs).

When you write books or a news blog, when you share your art, when you share your thoughts, you put yourself out there and that is vulnerable. I’ve been feeling pretty vulnerable these past two weeks.

This vulnerability is especially when you aren’t perfect. Believe me, I am SO far from perfect. And my ego wants me to never make a mistake. Ever. But my heart is so lucky and blessed when people let me know that I have. I am often shocked by how kind and gentle people are with me when I misspell their names.

Despite that, the other night I went to bed thinking about the news blog and the ways I earn money (not the news blog, I put out all that content for free because I want people who can’t afford the news to have at least some news), and I had such a crisis of faith because of a small error.  

“I can’t keep doing this. Why am I doing this?”

I whined. A lot. Luckily, the dogs didn’t mind.

And the next morning, I woke up feeling the same way, which never happens. In the shower, I thought, “I need a sign from the universe about whether to keep doing this.”

The first email I saw was from a journalist subscribing to my news blog and thanking me for the straightforward reporting. And then I received another kind email about the same thing. And then I realized what I dork I am.

It is sometimes so hard to believe in yourself. It is sometimes so hard to forgive yourself when you aren’t perfectly perfect. And then—whoosh—in sweeps the universe on the backs of kind humans who go out of their way to say something kind.

How amazing is that?

I’m very lucky. Not only do I get gnomes in the mail. I get kindness and correction with kindness. How cool is that? I know so many people in local government who get the exact opposite every day.

I hope they get kindness and I hope that you get that too, and I hope that you can be brave enough and vulnerable enough to go out there and learn new things, run for political office despite people spitting venom at you, support your causes, create words and art and story and friendships. Because sometimes it all can seem so overwhelming.

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness.

She also says, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.”

I am so lucky that I have the gift of knowing so many of you and for knowing Susie via the dynamic duo of Art and Liz. I hope you all get to have a lot of Susies in your lives. And gnomes. I hope you all get a lot of gnomes.

You Don’t Have To Be Brave

Living Happy and Stuff

Photo: Me

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What the what?” Or maybe you’ve put some expletives in there. I’ve been posting about being brave week after week after week as I push against my social anxiety and post paintings.

Here is the thing: I grew up in a family full of fear. My older sister was allegedly afraid of grass when she was little. Grass! My mother was afraid of a litany of things: birds, closed-in spaces, wide-open spaces, high spaces, water over her head, bridges in a storm. My brother inherited the bird fear, or maybe he learned it. So did my sister.

my adorable mom

And I grew up thinking that I didn’t want to be anything like that. No offense to my mom because she was wonderful, but she changed the channel if Donald Duck was on and he’s a cartoon. She wouldn’t go to parks with seagulls. She wouldn’t go near a feather pillow.

I grew up chanting “You have to face your fears” when my television turned on at night all by itself or when I had to take an algebra test or when I convinced twelve girls at a fourth grade birthday party to all hold hands and confront whatever the heck was making that groaning noise in the kitchen. Spoiler: it was the fridge and a snoring dog.

I faced my fears one after another. My voice? Check, make a podcast. Not scary enough. Make a live podcast. Art? Check, do some art. Post it online. People constantly telling me I made a mistake? Check, make a news blog without an editor.

A Friend’s Words

One night last month, a friend took me aside at a gathering and whispered, “You know, you don’t always have to be brave.”

She had a beer in her hand and a determined glow in her eye.

I gawped at her.

She nodded and twirled away back to the gathering. And I was left with her words.

You don’t always have to be brave.

It was shocking. It was the opposite of my mantra. I think our society (or a lot of us in it) believe that you always have to be brave. But life isn’t about always facing your fear, is it? If you’re afraid of sky diving, do you really have to sky dive? If you’re afraid of going bankrupt, do you really have to lose all your money? If you’re afraid of having a concussion, do you have to give yourself a concussion?

Facing all my fears has definitely expanded my world, but it’s okay for me to enjoy the world I’m in just as I’m in it, too. There can be balance.

You Don’t Always Have To Be Brave.

That’s the thing. There is sometimes a power to not pushing yourself into doing things that are really scary for you — like downhill skiing when you have no depth perception. Cough. Yes, cough. That is me.

It’s okay to sometimes hunker down, build up your reserves, and just be. That’s right. Just be. It’s okay to be who you are right in that moment. And that might not be the same who you are that you are in the very next moment. Humans get to change, to discover, to grow, to decide when and if they should be brave or not.

If you want to, you can come hang out with me at Living Happy. I’m much better about posting there. 🙂 No pressure though!

GHOSTING – BE BRAVE FRIDAY

I took the first part of a painting class and as everyone was putting up their paintings, I ghosted out. Seriously, I snatched my painting off the easel and ran out, while these other people who had time and talent to take two hours out of their afternoon made friends and connections as they looked at each other’s works in progress.

Brave?

Not one bit.

Apparently, I have a lot of work left to do.

At first I pretended to myself that the reason I rushed off was because the painting was such a mess—chaotic colors—dry brushes—clashes and strokes that made no sense—and then I admitted about one mile onto the Crooked Road that it was because I was such a clashing, chaotic mess. Not the painting. Me.

I was such a mess that I called Shaun and told him what I’d done.

“Are you going to go back next Tuesday?” he asked.

“Of course not. I ghosted out.” My hands tightened around the steering wheel. “I told them how my sweet mom said I didn’t have an artistic bone in my body and I wanted to prove her wrong. I was so vulnerable. Nobody else was so vulnerable. They were real artists. Rocky Mann was there!”

“He’s a potter.”

“He’s real.”

“You’re also real.”

“An art teacher was there! And another potter and—”

And then because the wireless coverage on our island sucks, I lost the connection.

When I got home and dealt with all my own editing and writing deadlines and family (dogs and cats and human) needs, and wrote stories for my local news blog, and went to a meeting, I let myself look at the painting again.

It was still an unholy mess. And I broke all the rules. It was supposed to be about color and light and looking at plants through that. My plant became some sort of geyser. A bird head in rough form snuck in. A woman, small with hands lifted to the sky stood at the bottom center.

I don’t know how she got there.

And I don’t know how I got here either. But I’m going to try to channel a little more fierce next week. Maybe go back. Maybe not turn myself into a ghost or other transparent things.

Anyway, I hope that you get where you want to be this week or next. I hope you turn yourself solid. No more ghosts.

Here is that work in progress. Or possibly “work that’s about to be painted over.” 🙂

Agh.

Be Brave Friday – Spanx Are Not Meant to Be Worn Backward

BE BRAVE FRIDAY

I was going to write about so many people being brave in our high school’s lockdown this week, but I’m not ready for that yet, and this came out instead.

It’s long (I write novels), but I hope you’ll give it a look anyway.

I was talking to a man at the Chamber of Commerce dinner this week and I hadn’t seen him in a while.

Okay, let’s face it. I haven’t seen anyone in a while unless you count Halloween and picking up the farm share and going to the farmer’s market.

And I told him how terrified I was about going up to get an award for being someone that the Chamber president thought did good things for the community or that they admired or something like that.

“We’ll be rooting for you, Carrie,” he said. “You’ll be great.”

“God love you for a liar,” I said.

“No! No, you will.”

Two minutes before I got the award, I went to the bathroom and realized that I put the Spanx underwear I’d bought on backward and the lacy parts were not on my front, but on my butt, making my already non-existent butt even less existent.

“No,” I half yelled.

A woman in the next stall made a shocked noise.

I was not alone. I was with someone who made shocked noises.

Here’s the thing: I could have done one of two things. I could have taken my underwear off, turned it around, and have her see in that space below the stall me trying to yank up my underwear over my big, knee-high boots that are supposed to make me feel like Wonder Woman.

There in the bathroom stall of the Atlantic Oceanside, I did not feel like Wonder Woman. My boots were highly recognizable. She’d totally figure out that it was me who yanked her underwear off and did a switch-around in the stall.

I imagined going up on the little stage and having her stand up and shout, “THIS WOMAN JUST TOOK OFF HER UNDERWEAR AND SWITCHED IT AROUND! SHE CANNOT EVEN PUT HER UNDERWEAR ON CORRECTLY! DO NOT GIVE HER AN AWARD!”

I did not have that kind of courage right then, and I yanked those stupid underwear right back up backward and flushed the toilet and opened the stall. I washed my hands, but I couldn’t even look in the mirror.

“Coward,” I whispered. Not very self-love, I know.

A tiny bit later, Nina Barfuldi St. Germain said a bunch of super lovely things about me and my news blog and I heard none of it. She said my name. I stared. A million years passed. Well, they did in my head.

Alf Anderson, the director gave me a sympathetic look and for a second, I thought he knew about my Spanx, but no. He knew about my stage fright, which happens before I speak, but especially happens in front of people I know locally. The smaller the crowd, the worse I am. Shove me in a school, put me in another state? Put me in front of 1,000 strangers. I rock it. But my own community? With backward Spanx?

I stood up. I walked over. I got on stage somehow, hugged Nina and thought, “Her shoulders are so tiny, how does she do so much, how does she hold so many things together?” And then I thought, “I bet she isn’t wearing her Spanx backward.”
But I looked at Alf and Nina and the lovely man from the beginning of the meeting and Shaun, and they gave me safety.

The award was supposed to be about me, but I knew it wasn’t. The award was about community and people loving you and you loving them even when your Spanx are on wrong and everything might seem backward.

While up there, I told this story about how my daughter and I were once stuck in a flash flood in Charleston and how we hunkered under an awning, watching water spew, filling up the road, thundering down around us, and a kid looked at me and said, “ ‘Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced,’ Soren Kierkegaard.”

And I was sort of flabbergasted because here I was in a flash flood in Charleston and a pre-teen, barely teen, guy was quoting Kierkegaard at me. I wasn’t flabbergasted that he knew the old philosopher because I know teens are smart and amazing. I was flabbergasted that he gave me that quote like an offering. It was a special offering because in one of the book that I had coming out, the teen protagonist is a big Kierkegaard fan.

And my own little quote came to me, “Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.”

I gave that to him and he smiled. He said, “You either brave it or you don’t. But I will root for you.”

And that’s what it’s all about. It’s about rooting for each other and sometimes our own selves. It’s about giving offerings like Nina of the strong but tiny shoulders did. It was about all those people in that room, working hard, being brave, supporting each other and the kids and the employees, and places like the library, and making community.

Helping others is an act of bravery because it’s an act of hope.

Caring about others is an act of bravery because it’s an act of empathy.

Rooting for others is too because sometimes they might not be wearing their underwear correctly.

I promise that I will root for you through all the forces, hidden and unhidden, and I truly hope that we can all root for each other—in good times and bad—and maybe especially bad. I will root for you. And sometimes that’s a little brave.

*These paintings are some of the first I did and they are on bookshelves because I thought only ‘real’ painters used canvas. And I’m sharing them here because for me they are about hope and becoming. And they remind me of all the people I’m rooting for.

My art shop is here. 🙂 My news blog is here.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY

I wrote a story for my online news blog, THE BAR HARBOR STORY, a couple of months ago, and in this story, I didn’t mention the name of the woman who had an appeal before the town regarding the use of her home. She made it incredibly apparent during that public meeting that she didn’t want her name mentioned because she was afraid of stigma.

After I ran the story a couple of months ago, even without her name, she still contacted me, heart-worried that the story could potentially impact her. And I took that story down. Our local paper just ran the story this week and mentioned her name.

Was my choice a good choice?

It was a good choice for my own ethics.

Is it a good choice for my wallet? Probably not. When you write or blog, you have to make a ton of choices all the time, and I’m positive that most of the time I make a choice that doesn’t benefit me financially.

Sometimes I fail to make the right choice, but it’s usually not because I don’t care.

Sometimes sensationalism wins in a lot of news reports (this wasn’t one of those reports), but when it’s local news, I think it’s really important to remember that most of the players aren’t Marvel villains or superheroes. They are people who will make mistakes just like I do. They are people who get worried and have anxiety and have lives beyond the page.

Sometimes people care more about strife than trying to make their own selves or their neighbors’ lives better, stronger, safer, less full of worry.

But as humans, we have to make that choice, not just in what we write, but in what we think.

We don’t have to always make the toxic choice. We don’t always have to think everything is a bipolarity, us and them, my way or the highway. We can remember to try to do the least harm and the most good.

I hope that we do make the better choices even if it doesn’t make us bank or get us likes or hits. I hope that institutions and individuals can continue to make a better world, starting in our own brains, our own houses, and our own communities.

Believe me, I’ve written stories that I regret now. And made choices that I think, “Doh! Carrie. Bad move.” We all do, but part of moving forward is moving forward together and trying to do better, right?

Why is this a BE BRAVE FRIDAY post?

Well, because almost every time I right something like this I:

1. Lose a couple friends

2. Someone tells me I’m schmaltzy

3. And because I was pretty scared to make this news blog even though I’ve been an editor and reporter. News is so important and the potential to get things wrong is always so horrifying to me.

Here’s some unfinished art to make it super brave. 🙂 Remember, I’m pretty sure it’s not done, so don’t judge too hard.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend and feel good about things and feel brave, too. ❤

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – NO JUDGEMENT

Ah, as many of you know, I get super stressed and major imposter syndrome about sharing anything artistic or doing anything where people can hear my voice.

And because of that I have a super hard time actually doing things like buying paint or canvas because it means I’m using money to make art rather than pay bills or buy pellets for winter. That’s why this painting is actually mixed media. I ran out of a lot of paint this week.

That’s okay.

Running out of a lot of paint and only having pretty low quality paint brushes is cool in a way because it pushes me. I have to think in different ways.

Life, I guess, is kind of like that, too.

I talked to someone this week that used to really intimidate me. They are smart and no holds barred. Sometimes that’s a scary combination in a person. And I used to have so much anxiety about talking to this person. But I did it. I talked to them. And you know what? It was good. I made a connection, I think. I had fun.

Why? Because I remembered that they are a person too.

“You used to be so fearful,” they said, which is really similar to something a local bookseller said to me last year.

And I think part of it is that I know how flawed I am. I can’t even remember to shut the closet door, but it’s okay. We are all flawed and imperfect and if people want to judge me? That’s okay, but I’m going to do my damn best not to judge them.

There’s a sort of freedom that comes with that realization—a freedom that I’m hoping will extend to me being able to share paintings and art. Because all my fear about art is about being not talented enough and being judged for that. That’s not really what life is about, is it? It’s not what art is about either.

Brené Brown said,“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

I have been super lucky lately because writing a local news blog has pushed me out of my hermit ways and I have a reason to find connection. I hope you find more and new ways to be brave, too.

My little art shop.

What’s The Least You Can Do?

Be Brave Friday

Every year my ancient nana would call me up to make sure that I’d voted.

“It’s the least you can do, Carrie. The least you can do,” she’d say. “It’s our civic duty to protect the enchanted.”

Who are the enchanted? According to my nana? Women. Children. The disenfranchised.

My nana, Rena Philbrick Morse, was not a least-you-can-do sort of person, but voting was her bar for the ‘least you can do.’

She had high expectations of her family and of women.

Voting was tremendously important to her because women’s right to vote happened on her tenth birthday. She always heard from men that she knew were less intelligent than her disparage women’s brains. A farm girl, she heard a lot of men say that women were too delicate to do physical labor. That farm girl lived to be 100 and spent 99 years of it working her garden.

When women were give the right to vote, she celebrated with her mom knowing that she would have a voice.

A voice.

The Horror

My nana was a tall woman, rail-thin, brought up three kids of her own when her jazz drummer husband left her. She was involved in New Hampshire for an extremely long time. Her eldest son ended up desegregating the UNH fraternity system back in the 1950s. She was the valedictorian of her high school and her mind? Her mind was brilliant and so sharp. She was a woman who was stoic. She didn’t emote. She was a plank of barn board that refused to bend no matter what beat against her.

So when she called me crying one November, I couldn’t understand. I thought someone had died.

“No,” she gasped. “No.”

It was worse than that.

One of my older relatives didn’t vote. She had claimed she had ‘no head for politics.’ She’d been lying about voting for years.

I’m not sure how my nana survived that.

But she did. She survived because someone needed to drive that relative to the polls. She survived because she knew she had work to do. We all have work to do.

The Purpose

The purpose of motivation and engagement or protecting ourselves and others through words, through action, through voting? It’s your purpose. It’s our purpose.

In the local politics of our town, a lot of people don’t agree about things and they argue like their souls depend on it, like the world will collapse if their point of view doesn’t become policy, but they still manage to jump each other’s cars (mostly), make casseroles when someone is sick or dies, applaud each other’s kids when they score at a game. They mourn when someone suffers a devastating loss and celebrate when there is a win.

And hopefully they will vote in November.

I told someone about what my nana said and they responded, “The least you can do? It’s one of the most important things you can true.”

That’s how so much of this life works, isn’t it? Sometimes the things that are the least you can do are also some of the most important? That might be voting. That might be talking to a neighbor. That might be making connections and giving someone praise. But it’s something. We all can do something. And keep doing it. Until our world gets better.

Be a Breathtaking Rough Draft

And try not to freak out about the good things

Be Brave Friday - The Suck at Running Edition
Be Brave Friday – The Suck at Running Edition

I’m going to get an award and it’s freaking me out.

No, writing world, it’s not a National Book Award, but an award in our local community, and it’s very lovely and also very strange because it’s a recognition of me trying. Trying to do good stuff. Trying to get facts out. Trying to make the community a better place. Trying to make sure people have a voice.

It feels weird to be recognized for that when I don’t ever feel like I’m doing a good enough job.

Eleven years ago today, I was doing press via national radio news things for the book, DEAR BULLY, which I co-edited. It was an anthology of true stories by writers about the impact of bullying on their childhoods.

These radio moments on places like NPR were totally outside my comfort zone because I have a Muppet voice and slosh my s’s, and radio is all about voice. Kind of like podcasts.

And it was sort of weird because my piece in DEAR BULLY was about getting mocked about my voice and being told I would never be successful because of my voice, that nobody would take me seriously.

Which is probably a big part of why I am a writer.

Nobody can interrupt you when you write.

Nobody can hear your sloshy s-sounds.

And nobody sees it when your skirt falls down.

But awards? Awards and radio interviews or even goofy podcasts like our one tonight mean that for a tiny brief moment people can see you.

And it’s cool. I’m super lucky that I get to be a writer and I wouldn’t change it for anything, but sometimes I wonder what I’d be if I didn’t have this voice. Would I be braver about things like awards? Would I be an actress or a singer instead of a writer? A public speaker? Something else entirely?

Or if I had this same voice, but we lived in a world where difference didn’t easily mean cruelty would my anxiety be a bit less about people noticing me.

You know?

Despite what it might seem like on social media or podcasts, I’m a person who actually prefers to sit on floors rather than stand behind podiums, to applaud others and celebrate their awesome. And every time something good happens where I get attention, I kind of look over my shoulder and wait for something bad: some criticism, some complaint, or — you know — just my skirt falling down.

I’m trying to stop that looking over my shoulder and it’s not always easy, but I’m trying. It’s all part of evolving, right? So, I’m really thankful for this chance to evolve.

Choosing to see light in other people can be hard sometimes when there is mockery and politics and trolls. Choosing to promote light can be hard, too, because then people call you schmaltzy or a Pollyanna or Captain Hallmark. But trying to make your choices be full of gratitude and light? That can sometimes be the hardest thing of all. So, I’m trying to push my anxiety down and be cool about this award from our local chamber of commerce.

One of my old writing teachers created a book for other teachers (before the era of self publishing) and in it, he talked about “breathtaking rough drafts.” His favorite rough draft was like the one created below by one of his students.

And I’ve got to tell you, I think I’m still in that rough draft stage, hoping to someday be a breathtaking final product but currently in the massive throes of revision with scratch-outs and additions everywhere.

Anyways, if you are being mocked for being different, I am SO sorry. I hope you find the strength to make it through. I hope those people who are mocking you realize how poopy they are being. I hope you can find a way to realize that difference is an awesome thing. I hope that we all can move into the world of breathtaking together. ❤

BE BRAVE FRIDAY — THE GUY WHO SANG

He was walking next to me, one step ahead, turning to face me, pausing so I could keep up. “You’re going to a bar? Off campus? With people who aren’t students?”

“I am.”

When I was in college, I got to get out of my college bubble because I dispatched as part of my work-study. I was poor, so I had work-study, grants, aid, and a small loan. Being a security dispatcher meant that I talked to and hung out with people who weren’t students, professors or staff. My college was pretty great. But honestly? Between that dispatching job and interning for Janet T. Millsfor two summers when she was the Androscoggin County District Attorney? It’s where I learned the most about the world and people.

The other student stopped, turned to face me and said, face full of raised eyebrows and slack lips. “Why?”

“Your face is a question mark,” I told him.

“You are devastatingly weird,” he huffed and walked on. A second later, he said, “You didn’t answer my question.”

“Why not?” I liked the people at work and at my internship.

“Because it’s unsafe,” he said. “You don’t—They are older than you.”

“Not all of them.”

“They aren’t students.”

I stopped now, right on the edge of the campus where the student housing ended and the Lewiston apartment buildings began. “So, students are safe, but regular people aren’t?”

He didn’t have a real answer. I went out to that bar because I was always doing things back then that made me uncomfortable, that made me learn, and I watched a coworker sing “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with a skinny, pale guy on the fiberglass karaoke floor in a bar that smelled like 90s cops’ thick deodorant, chewing tobacco, and beer. Half the bar was cops and people from the DA’s office, though not the DA, and the other half were people that the cops had arrested before, that I’d seen in the courthouse. They all mingled together. Or at least they did that night.

The guy my coworker was singing with had a criminal record and a frame that barely held up his skin; brown hair leaked past the ridge of his t-shirt. She sang a song she hated, but she knew her voice sounded good when she crooned out Streisand, even when she had too many.

“Thank you,” she said to the totally inebriated guy and to the drunk audience. She thanked the guy out of professional courtesy not because he sang well. He didn’t.

“Welcome,” he replied so loudly that it came over the microphone and we all laughed. He took a bow.

He didn’t leave her side when she walked back to our table. He ordered two margaritas and paid.

“I might sleep with him later,” she told me, leaning in, all alcohol breath.

He said to her, still so loudly, “You’re beautiful singer.”

“Thank you.” She flipped through the book of karaoke songs and the guy was off to the john. She looked at me. “You never go up there and sing.”

“Can’t do it,” I said.

“Why not?”

“Too scared.”

“Of singing?”

“Of sucking.”

On the way back, he-who-was-not-afraid-of-sucking clapped along and took the microphone away from a man serenading some fishnet wearing girl with a country song I didn’t recognize. He strained to wiggle his hips to the rhythm while he sang. He couldn’t. He tried some pseudo sexy pelvic thrusts.

“Carrie is afraid of singing,” Jessie announced.

my art that I’m always so afraid to share.

He eyeballed me and his hand clung to the curve of Jessie’s back. “Carrie looks like she’s afraid of a lot of things.” He leaned forward so all I could smell was him; beer sour, tobacco stained-breath. “You are afraid of your own damn voice, aren’t you?”

I was. Jessie wasn’t. He obviously wasn’t. But I was and I still kind of am, but I’m working on it.

Every week, I’m trying to learn that it’s not the end of the world to get a small detail wrong and that you can correct that detail and that it’s way more important to focus on the act of speaking, writing, singing, reporting, doing. It’s way more important to enjoy and be a part of the process.

But it’s so hard sometimes.

How about you? Are you finding ways to be brave, to put your voice out there, to sing and not worried that you might not sound awesome? I hope so. I hope you do.

Also, I made a QR code for my art place. How cool is that?

BE BRAVE FRIDAY

This week I reached out to another woman even though I was afraid to. If you don’t know, I’m actually technically an introvert. Reaching out is hard for me.

But it wasn’t about me being an introvert.

I was afraid to reach out to her because I’ve started a local news newsletter/blog and this person is someone who shows up in the news. At a meeting, I watched someone else try to vilify her and another person call her an adjective that is often used as a derogatory qualifier for women who have hope in positive outcomes.

People have called me that adjective a lot especially when it comes to political issues or politics in general or even when it comes to my faith that humanity can be better, that as individuals we can make the right choices.

If I reached out, I wondered, would she scoff? Would she think I was ridiculous? I decided that I didn’t care because it mattered more that she knew that someone saw and recognized what she dealt with—even if that someone was just me.

At the meeting, I didn’t speak up because I don’t think that a reporter’s role is to shape the tenor of a meeting, but it was incredibly hard for me not to speak up because what happened pulled at two of my core beliefs: trying to be an impartial reporter of the news to the best of my abilities AND standing up for people who are being maligned. I beat myself up about my choice for a while.

But the next morning, I ended up emailing her, telling her that I saw what happened and that though I wasn’t her mom or her friend I was really proud of her for being brave.

Why was she brave? Honestly, I think that anyone in local politics who puts themselves out there in the hopes of trying to make a better community, to create compromise, and to try to do that in a vulnerable and kind way? That’s pretty damn boss. I definitely don’t agree with every local politician’s political decisions, but for the ones who go into that political arena with good intentions? It’s so hard.

So, I guess my point on this be brave Friday is that if you see someone else being brave? Give them some props. Let them know that you see them. Actually, maybe it doesn’t even have to happen when people are being brave. Maybe we can just all actively work on letting people know, no matter what they are doing, “I see you.”

I see you.

I hope you all have the best weekend. Shaun is doing something super ridiculous on our live podcast tonight, LOVING THE STRANGE. And there is an art sale this weekend of my things. Also, our latest episode of our true crime podcast, DUDE, NO is here and it’s all about a Maine man who was shot by deputies, mummified accidentally and toured the country after he died.

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