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“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – A.A. Milne

I don’t remember reading Winnie the Pooh as a child, although I think I must have. I don’t have children, so I didn’t read that story to anyone else, either. I could choose either the above quote or the more well-known:  “You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. And smarter than you think.”

Both quotes resonate with me in different ways and for different reasons. I’ve talked before about isolation and how difficult it can be to break that cycle. I’ve been inching my way out of my own forest for several years, taking tiny little steps and then resting. Because moving out of my comfort zone, even at the pace of a drugged snail, is mentally and emotionally exhausting for me. Moving almost 2,000 miles away from everything (and everyone) I’ve ever known was an incredible feat of inner strength for me. It rocketed me out of not just my corner of the forest, but out of the forest itself.

Now that I’ve done it, the second quote comes into play. I am braver and stronger and smarter than I think. I’m in a totally new environment now. For me, the trick is not to find a corner of this forest and burrow in. It’s hard. I’ve had moments of sheer panic (only a few, really). I’ve wondered – briefly – what in the hell I’ve done. And then I look around and I realize that what I’ve done is create a wonderful opportunity for myself  – an opportunity grow, an opportunity for real and lasting change.

I am back to taking baby steps again, but that’s okay.  The important thing is that I am still moving forward, still willing to take a chance. One of the ways I am staying open is by doing this writing challenge. I had planned to do one prompt per day, but I got busy and sidetracked, but I’m catching up now. I knew it would be challenging (that was the entire point), but I also knew that it would help me get in the habit of writing every day. One of the problems I encountered with writing only when I felt like it was that when I did feel like it, I didn’t know how to start. I would stare at the screen for a while, then suddenly I’d remember a thousand other things I had to right now and then I wouldn’t get back to the blog and whatever I wanted to write.

I have always kept the blog separate from Facebook. I didn’t want random people reading the blog to know my real name (not sure what difference that really makes) and I didn’t want people on Facebook to know I had a blog. I had people I worked with as Facebook friends and I didn’t want to get Dooced. I also didn’t want some people to know I’m gay (oops!). But then I turned 50 and left a conservative part of the country and decided I don’t really give a shit anymore because it’s 2017 and it shouldn’t matter. With that decision, I decided that my blog didn’t have to be such a secret anymore. In the last few months, I’ve let more people know about the blog, which is both liberating and scary. I’ve also been talking about this writing challenge and letting people know that I’m doing it and where to find the blog so they can read what I’ve done so far.

Braver than I think, indeed.

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