The natural tendency when you are sick is to be home. You don't want to be at work. You don't want to be out with friends. You just want to be home in your own bed. Now, think about the chronically ill. Someone who everyday battles feelings from "not up to par" to "god just kill me now". What is their natural instinct? To stay home, be alone, isolate themselves. And honestly that is what I have done for several years now. I have only gone "out" when I needed to. My children's activities forced a certain level of interaction with other people. My husband's job as minister forced me into interaction with others. But then my children grew up and left those activities, and my husband left his job. I woke up one day and realized that my interactions with other people were severely limited. And as much as I loved my husband, I needed girlfriends.
So I hit the computer looking for a book club. I came upon Meetup. I looked through several different groups. Researched the books they had read in the past, and looked through their members and pictures. I wanted to find women who were in similar situations as myself. I hit upon one with an unlikely name, "The Southern Ladies Book Club". The pictures showed women who were goofy and quirky but nice looking. So, I joined. In September I drove to a parking lot to meet 2 new women and drive to Durham to meet 8 more. I was terrified.
This summer my best friend, Allison, and I started crafting together once a week. We enjoy doing many crafty/artsy things and found doing them together was even more fun. As the weeks went by, we began to talk about selling our goods. (She makes amazing handcrafted jewelry and is already out there in that business.) So we did it. For the past two weekends, we have gone to craft fairs and had a booth. Yes, I put out there in the public things that I had created. On top of that I came face to face with strangers. The word stressful doesn't even begin to cover my feelings.
I have a great part time job that I get to do from home on my computer. It is fairly easy and honestly a bit tedious. Jack and I both do it, and that makes it a bit more fun. It is with an educational company so it keeps me feeling somewhat in the loop. Recently Jack was looking for other jobs because our screening was not as profilic as in the past. He came upon a job that sounded right up my alley! It is reviewing video tapes that teachers submit and giving specific feedback to help them improve. So, I applied. Part of the application process was to view a video and give feedback without any training on the specifics they were looking for. This was a nerve-wracking ordeal. I really want this job.
Now I find myself bare and vulnerable. At times I am scared out of my mind, but there is also an excitement. I am starting to develop friends in the book club. I am even going to do something with some of them outside of the club! I have found friends, on my own, who like me! ME! Not the preacher's wife, not Stephen's mom, not Allie's mom, but KAKI!!!
At those craft fairs, people actually bought my creations. They actually thought they were cute. I made money!! The door is now wide open. I started small, but I have BIG ideas. Allison and I are starting a new venture in 2013. It is exciting to see where this leads us.
As for the job, I don't know yet. It is highly likely I won't get it. I know the lady who created this and the program doesn't have time to train people, so they are looking for people who naturally norm like they want. But the possibility is exciting. This means I might find something one day that is a bit closer to the classroom!
The advent season is about joy, hope, love and peace. In stepping outside my comfortable space, I have found joy and love in being accepted. I have found hope that there are more things I can do to contribute to this world as my children need me less. Peace settles around me as I decide to not settle for a limited life, but to go after much, much more.
Where are you today? Are you allowing your fear to hold you back? Or are you out there making the most of this precious life you have?