May 25, 2020

How I Stayed Stuck in a Small World.

I celebrated two years alcohol-free earlier this month, and it just keeps getting better.

I am a five foot, two-and-a-half-inch woman.

I will never relinquish that half inch. I’ve been measured enough times at a doctor’s office to know it’s legit.

Sure—when some tall jock in high school was resting his arm atop my head and it was “cute” to be petite, I rounded down to 5’2.” As I got older and progressed well past the Freshman fifteen, I rounded up to 5’3” so it allowed me to carry my few extra pounds and be in the “healthy” range.

But no matter where I fall in that one-inch range, I am short in stature. My voice doesn’t carry as far, I often race to keep up with people when we walk, there are even times when I can’t touch the floor when I’m in a chair, sitting down. Most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by people bigger than me—and rather than explode into a petite firecracker like one of my favorite actresses, Holly Hunter, I turned into a wallflower.

Previously content to play a supporting role in friendships, jobs and relationships, I have started to come into my own in sobriety.

One of the integral parts of my sobriety journey is my relationship with yoga. I’m a member of an online community, with monthly lessons. I joined last September, just as we were celebrating Fall Equinox with accomplishments for the year. I had plenty: I visited over 20 cities, documenting my brave explorations on social media, I got a promotion (of sorts) at work, I was nourishing my body and down nearly 20 pounds. As we moved into new intentions for the Fall, one thought kept bubbling to the surface:

you must write again.

Writing was a childhood passion of mine. Journals of poetry and short stories still line up on my bookshelf, ribbon-worthy books and A+ papers tucked away in totes full of mementos. It was something I continued to dabble in, but my creative fire was snuffed out by alcohol, most of the time.

As I was becoming clear-headed, I knew I had to reclaim this gift. I set goals around submitting articles, beginning to research pitches and online avenues for personal essays. My yoga group rolled into an eight-week module on “playing it big”, so I hired an accountability coach to help me through the beginnings of a book I wanted to pen.

Along with my desire to write, something more sinister began to bubble to the surface: my fear of rejection. Though I was vulnerable enough to admit this in journaling exercises, I felt powerless to overcome it. Every deadline I set for myself came and went and, even though I was sober, the fire was once again snuffed out—only this time by fear.

What I didn’t understand at the time was intentions don’t come to fruition overnight (patience is something I work on, in sobriety) and even though I felt like I was retreating back to the sidelines, I was actually leveling up.

Something magical has happened around mid-April for the last two years.

I’m learning more about cyclical living, so I am convinced that when most of the world is enjoying the full onset of Spring, I’m about to enter into an energetic Summer. Here I am, mid-May, and the juices are flowing. Somehow, some way, the seeds I planted last Fall around using my gifts and playing it bigger are finally starting to germinate. I’ve been writing a blog for nearly a year, and am finally getting comfortable sharing it, connecting with twice the subscribers in two weeks than I’ve had for the better part of a year.

Rather than continue to research the “perfect pitch” to death, I finally just sent a couple out.

What’s the worst that could happen?

I shared the standard automatic replies on my Instagram story proclaiming #iamawriter, and the universe has rewarded me 10-fold. I’ve been reading “Light is the New Black” again, and each new page I read feels like Rebecca Campbell read my mind. Friends are applauding my courage and grateful I’m saying what they only feel deep in their hearts. I am finding and using my voice.

And damn if it isn’t uncomfortable.

But like a snake experiencing growth, it’s what happens when you shed the skin that is too small.

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