10.NINE.18

I do not believe in coincidences. The way I see life and the everyday occurrences of it is as a large intricate tapestry of people, places, events, words—all things connected. My best friend G makes fun of me because of the slight fascination I have with numbers. I’m not exactly into numerology but I pay attention to anything that randomly yet often pops up in my life…you know, since I don’t think anything is coincidental. A few numbers fit in that category, the most frequent (and significant) being NINE. I’m the ninth child in my family, ninth in the group of phenomenal women I get to call my linesisters 💕💚, and there are a few other weird things related to me and the number that might make me sound crazy…but you get it.

Today, I came to my blog to casually peruse and criticize it like I usually do, out of frustration with my lack of consistency, only to find the date of my last post: 01/09/2018 🤯 It has been exactly NINE months.

In that time, I haven’t even attempted to write with the intention of sharing on therawlense. I wrote for school (which got me my bachelors degree after NINE years enrolled…I’ll explain later), I wrote for friends, I scribbled down a few poems and snippets of prose to file away in the abyss of my Google drive, but nothing to put here. Quite frankly, I didn’t want to share anything on my blog. Yesterday, I wrote in my journal after also neglecting that for months. The entry was focused on me getting through this fear thing I’ve allowed to stifle me for years. At the end of it, I wrote a prayer for motivation and renewed determination along with the words of Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This blog is a visible representation of the constant back and forth I’ve had between taking a chance on my passion and remaining in the strange comfort of trepidation. Recently, I acted in that same pattern when I sent an email to a writer who I’ve followed and grown to admire over some time. She was seeking submissions to be featured in a series she has on her blog. I boldly shared a snippet of my prolonged graduation story and told her how excited I would be to share even more on her platform. She replied with directions for submission, eager to have me contribute. I was shocked and thrilled at the same time. With a little under two weeks to submit, I got to work. I played with a few introductions, entertained various angles and ideas to explore, trying to figure out how much I was willing to share and how I would do it. After a few days and no update, she emailed me to double check on my interest and moved the date up a week. I accepted the change as a fire lit under me and worked some more.

T minus 4 days…scraps but off to a good start.

T minus 3 days…abandoned scraps.

T minus 2 days…lack of time to continue writing let alone finish,  but good ol intention to make it work (even though I traveled out of town to a place with no internet access)

T minus 1 day…obsessive thoughts full of more “ideas”, the Notes app on my iPhone, no sleep AND no progress.

Day of…white flag. defeat. self loathing & beatuppery.

The day after the given deadline, I sent an email letting her know I wouldn’t be sending my submission. I folded again. I apologized for not keeping my word and I admitted that writing was difficult because I wasn’t ready to share that part of my story yet. I was embarrassed and ashamed but I had too much respect and appreciation for her consideration. I had to reach out. Graciously, she replied and let me know my hesitation is understandable. She assured me that I would share when I am ready to and wished me the best. This exchange took place yesterday. I began the entry in my journal after reading her email.

Today, she posted the incredible story of another young woman. I read it and discovered the young woman also writes, she’s from Brooklyn, her and I are the same age and she described her blog as “a work in progress”. I was tickled by this demonstration of God’s sense of humor and faithfulness. How is that for motivation?! I then followed her blog (which is also hosted on WordPress) and that is how I eventually got to my page. That is how the non-coincidental NINE month stuff ultimately transpired.

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I’m sharing all this to serve as a reminder of that tweet. I remember coming across that months ago and feeling an electric surge of hope. I’ve started over SO many times. I’ve made plans I never followed through with and began projects I never finished. I’ve announced  ventures before I worked toward them and I was often more persistent than I was prepared. As a result, I’ve carried a lot of shame and lost quite a bit of confidence.

There is a force working in my favor, nudging me along the path to fulfilling my purpose and all I have to do is go forward and stop resisting.

Somehow, I am still encouraged in various ways on a daily basis. I don’t take that for granted. Whether it be a tweet, a text from a friend, or a conversation with my coworkers, I’m always pointed back to writing or sharing my stories. I don’t find any of these reminders to be coincidental or purposeless. There is a force working in my favor, nudging me along the path to fulfilling my purpose and all I have to do is go forward and stop resisting. Whether I’m crawling, tip toeing or hitting a full sprint, I must keep moving.

For every prayer, there is an answer. For every bit of work and progress, there is a reward. For these reasons, I will not give up on myself. And if you can identify with any of what I shared here, my prayer is that you won’t give up on yourself or your dreams either.