when the show is over

I had the privilege of posting at Eat Move Write earlier today. I say privilege, and I mean it. It was also an honor. There's just something about being published on someone else's site, especially someone that you admire for both writing and weight loss.

Maybe I am a bit too hard on myself. Or rather I am a bit too hard on myself, and I often find it hard to believe that my words mean anything to anyone. But they do. And not only that, I am finding that my words mean a lot more than "anything."

I've wanted to be a writer for my entire life. But in a lot of ways, it has always been a "want" and not a reality. Many people will say that if you write you are by default a writer. And it's true. But for some reason, I felt like I had to be published or have a certain number of followers or any other variety of details in order to be a writer.

Much like my thinking about the reasons I didn't lose weight that I talked about in my guest post, I stopped myself from writing. I stopped myself from taking the illusive first step.

I have the degree in writing. I also have, from what I was told at a workshop, the understanding of grammar. But there is something missing in my writing. It's a freeness that I once had, I think. I'm afraid to take risks now. I stick to what I know. I write ideas other people provide. I remain in a comfort zone with writing.

It's much like with weight loss. Even though I wasn't happy or healthy, I was comfortable with where I was.

I actually thought I was thinner than I was. But I stayed away from cameras as much as I could. I stopped taking pictures with my husband at every chance, and I even refused to post any new pictures of myself on Facebook or here. I'm still weary of posting pictures. But I'm slowing coming around.

I think it's because I see progress. I see what leaving my comfort zone can accomplish.

A year ago this September, my sister-in-law got married. I wore the dress I bought for my own rehearsal dinner three years ago this September. And when I put it on, I could tell that it didn't fit the way it once had, but with little time left, and nothing else to wear, we left for the church.

I see the difference now. In fact, I saw the difference as soon as the pictures were on facebook. But I didn't take the first step. Because I wasn't ready.

It's the same with writing. I see what is happening. I know what I need to do. But I have convinced myself I wasn't ready.

Right now, though, I am trying. I am stretching myself and dabbling in guest posts, in short stories, in contests. I'm concentrating on my novel. I'm taking risks, and I'm allowing myself to be a writer.

And just like that first step I took, I know it will pay off. I just won't be able to take a picture of it in the mirror.

(title from "these friends of mine" by rosie thomas)

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