I started this 15 Things thread a few months ago, to reflect on the things I've learned since I started writing this weblog. In retrospect, I was climbing out of a hole back then. I had a bad winter, dark and depressing. Part of the reason winter was hard was because I was afraid. I was alone and afraid of being single, afraid of my own loneliness. I had a health issue that scared me more than I wanted to admit, an ominous presence in my consciousness every day. And I was afraid to let go of the law, and its promise of a secure, respectable, profitable profession. I was pretty sure I didn't want to practice again, but I wanted to keep that as a safe fallback option, so I felt I had to walk a careful line, in case I wanted to go back. It felt dangerous to admit the truth: that I'm creative and that I need to spend a fair amount of time outdoors. At times in the winter I was hanging on with a brittle smile and a too-loud laugh, just trying to hold it all together. I wished away my instincts and my fears and my longings, trying to pretend they weren't part of me.
I keep learning this lesson, but it's a hard one. It's so much easier to admit who you are, admit what you're scared of and tackle it, than to cork it up. Why does it feel so much harder? I don't know.
I do know that this is the life I have. I might as well try to fix things that are broken, to get things that I want, to make things happen. There will be time later to revert to a safe course if this doesn't work. I'm trying to admit what I know and what I don't know, what I want and what I know to be a trap for me. I'm trying to take risks even when I'm scared. I'm trying to be more fluid, to let myself respond more. It feels really good. The more I do it the easier it gets.
Over the past couple of months some acquaintances have exclaimed, "You look radiant! You look so healthy." It has happened three or four times, with different people, or I wouldn't remark on it. Something shows, I guess. I feel happy and healthy, comfortable with myself. I have things to do -- lots of goals -- but I don't feel so much like I have things to prove. I don't think I realized the extent to which I was chasing external goals for a long time. Seems strange that this is what I should be writing under the heading of "Being Brave," but it feels like one of the bravest things I've done is walked away from the practice of law, in order to discover how to be myself.