Beyond the year of double-dog dares

I almost didn’t come back. After three months of ignoring the promise I made a year ago today, how do I have the nerve to show my face here?

Here’s how. Even though my commitment to doing one brave thing a day for a year petered out at about eight months, I’ve come out of this year substantially less wimpy. I tell the truth more often, even when it means admitting defeat or being embarrassed. I say no more often, whether to work I don’t want, or to the expectations of generations of mothers who NEVER leave dishes in the sink.

I’ve learned a bit about the lies fear tells, especially about failure. When I try something difficult or new, like writing fiction or hula hooping or telling the truth about my religious beliefs, fear puts up a wall that pretends to be a mountain. Pushing against it seems pointless, but after about a thousand moments of resistance, there is suddenly open space. After a while, these walls became a green light, a signal to just keep moving forward.

I’ve let go of some things, too, like concern for what people think of me, and about 36 pounds. Maybe spending more time out in the open made the extra weight an unnecessary cover. Or maybe paying closer attention to what I want clarified the choice between chocolate and good health. Either way, I’ll take it.

I’ve jumped off cliffs, climbed rock walls, and belly danced. I’ve braved wild geese, parent-teacher conferences and a room full of people expecting me to be funny without a script. I’ve gotten up at 5:30 a.m. to write even though I’m terrified I’ll never come up with anything good enough to publish. That continues to be my biggest double-dog dare.

This has been an amazing year for me, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to read this blog. I’m not done with it, even though it has served its initial purpose. If I were brave, I’d keep writing, even when I know the writing isn’t as good as I want it to be. And if you don’t think that’s brave, you should try it sometime.

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14 Responses to Beyond the year of double-dog dares

  1. I was just thinking about you the other day and seriously missing you! I hope this isn’t goodbye.

    Congratulations on the incredible strides you’ve made this year!

  2. I’m proud of all you’ve done this year, most of which I would never have the guts to try myself : ) Please keep posting!

  3. The nice thing is that you can take a break and we will still be here welcoming you back. I had lunch with two fellow bloggers this week, and we all shared the same fears and concerns as you feel. Good luck, and don’t push yourself to do what you don’t want to do. Except that I love your blogs: no pressure!

  4. lesliehobson says:

    Telling the truth is the bravest act of all.

  5. sj says:

    I was just thinking about you last week, and wondering what bravery you were up to!

  6. Jayne Long says:

    So nice to see you back when I logged into my emails this morning. I missed your blogs. What a year you have had! I could not have done all the things you did…….you ARE brave!

  7. I think it sounds like an amazing year, where you have achieved great things. There is no law that says you can’t change goals to suit the reality of where you are and what you are achieving. I am impressed and honored to be able to share your journey with you. I have missed reading you lately, but I am so glad you are doing amazing things.

    Lisa

  8. speaker7 says:

    Welcome back. Keep writing.

  9. Go Jules Go says:

    Amen, Dory! I’ve been missing you! I’m so glad this has been such an enriching experience for you, because it’s certainly been a joy to witness from our end, and I’m glad you’re not done with this blog yet. :)

  10. Glad to see you back and to hear how much you’ve learned about yourself in your year-long adventure.

  11. amanda says:

    Not only do I love this post for its content (good job!), I absolutely love the way it’s written. Keep it up.

  12. Jodie says:

    Glad your back, I was wondering what happened to you. :) Also thank you for this blog, it got me thinking about my own fears, and how I should face them. :)

  13. Margie says:

    Fear and bravery – we all wrestle with some aspect of each. You are a role model to all who don’t know how to keep them in balance.

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