I have always loved New Year’s Eve. I have friends who don’t see the draw but I LOVE it.
In my mind’s eye, I actually see the end of the year as a drop off, like a white cliff, and beginning of the new year as a giant open space, like a vast desert canvas.
It’s a time to reflect on your year, whether filled with joy, hardships, or both. It’s a time to close that chapter and and start a new one. It’s a time to set goals, some vague, some specific, some achievable, some not… all while you toast champagne and maybe steal a kiss.
The last few months have looked different, though. In conversations I’ve had with other women, real around-the-table, tears-and-laughing conversations, when people get vulnerable and share their true selves, I started to see this “thing” emerge.
What is this “thing”? Some people call it the inner critic. Writers sometimes diplomatically refer to it as the inner editor. However, I found in a lot of cases our inner voice can be very cruel. For some, it tells them they’re fat and ugly and disgusting. For others, it constantly questions their abilities, warning that they’re not smart enough, talented enough or don’t have the right skills. Sometimes, it’s so debilitating that they struggle to get out of bed, work, make friends or properly nourish their bodies.
Whatever you call it, you’ve probably felt it, and it can serve a purpose but mostly, it’s a liar. I’m sick of the lies we tell ourselves, that we’re not _____ enough. That we can’t do something because we aren’t ______. That someone else we know is better suited than us. That we have to be perfect. I’m sick of it holding back amazingly talented, kind, beautiful women that I know. I’m sick if being held back by it myself.
“I’m not technical, I can’t start a blog. I’m not a world-famous chef, I can’t develop recipes. I don’t know enough about photography to take good pictures of food. My writing is really really rusty. I don’t know about SEO or plug-ins and I’m not comfortable with self promotion, no one will ever read my blog.”
I thought all of these things, over and over. I felt stuck. There was something I wanted to do, sparked by a few huge events in my life and I couldn’t do it because I lacked the skill, the expertise, the ability, the perfection. One day, with my husband’s help, I just pushed it all aside. I decided, I’m doing this and I don’t care if it’s not perfect. I don’t care if my photography needs work, I don’t care if no one reads it. I’m not doing this for anybody else, I’m going to do this for me.
And you know what? Even though it’s only been a month, I’m glad I did. I’m finding my writing voice again even though it’s far from where I want it to be. My photography skills are getting better, even though it’s a slower process than I’d like. Somehow, my blog has been viewed over 1200 times in my first month and I’ve heard from readers all over the world. I’ve gotten emails from people saying hi or asking me food-related questions. I’ve been able to develop new recipes to share with friends and family and revisit old forgotten ones. It gives me a creative outlet when I feel like I’m going crazy chasing my toddler who’s chief goal in life is to shred/destroy/knock over/pull apart everything in her path. (Praise the Lord for naps, amiright?)
I took this picture this morning. It’s the cherry tree in my backyard. It’s been freezing and snowing for weeks and it reminded me that this tree isn’t going to be stopped by the cold. It’s just prepping for what it needs to do, it may even be saying to itself, “You can do this. Spring is your time to shine.”
Here’s to a healthy, happy, New Year. I hope you’re able to push through that inner critic and just finally do that thing you’ve been wanting to do. You already have what it takes.