Thursday, October 14, 2010


In my kids' karate class, the instructor (who is absolutely amazing) asks the children to learn and understand the importance of one quality for each belt they achieve.  His definition of courage is spot on for me.

Courage is taking action in spite of fear.

Courage is the quality I am struggling with the most and is the quality I want most for my children.  We lead our children by example.  We can say whatever we want, but they see what we do more than they hear what we say.

I enrolled in a writing class this fall to help overcome my fear of reading my writing in public.  Writing this blog is easy - especially since only my husband and my daughter read it.  Writing poems and stories only to keep them tucked away in my desk drawer or filed away on my hard drive takes no courage, only creativity and perseverence.  Reading poems and stories in a circle, either a large one or a small one, with too many eyes on my face as I read is not easy for me at all.  I am in awe of people in class who clearly enjoy reading their heart-felt writing out loud.

Last night in class, I had the courage to read several dark, gloomy poems out loud to a group of women I had never really met before.  It was horrifying.  My face and neck were blotched with red, showing everyone my anxiety, which made me more uncomfortable.  I wanted to cry as I read words that were so personal to me, that I had only read to my husband and daughter. 

Even though this was amazingly difficult, I am so proud I did it.  I didn't back down (although I almost did), I didn't turn around on the way to class, and I didn't chose to read something more safe.  Instead, I choose to take the action I was most afraid of, the one action that made me stronger yesterday.

The wonderful thing is my husband and children get it.  They understand completely, even my nine year old.  In my son's eyes, what I did yesterday is the equivalent of being brave enough to get a black belt.  I stood up and did something I have never done in all of my life.  I am a ninja.

Today I prepared three poems for a writing competition, also a first for me.  My husband suggested we celebrate tonight.  I win just for putting the poems in the mail.

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