Two Steps Back, One Forward

Writer's Weekends:  A 2014 Tradition!
Writer’s Weekends: A 2014 Tradition!

It’s easy to look back and make my life seem so worth it. At the same time it’s just as easy to claim all of my dreams to come true in the new year. In fact it is expected of me.

Is it better to look back or look forward?

A few people in my life struggle to see me in the present because they are stuck seeing me as I was in the past. My dad, for example, will forever see me as a twelve year old and as much as I’d like to change this, I respond to him ninety percent of the time as a teen instead of a thirty something. Annoying, but true.

What is it about the past that is so hard to let go off? Why I do look back in such celebratory ways? Just last week I forced my poor, tired friends to walk six avenues in New York just to have a look at my old apartment building which I didn’t even recognize right away once I got there. The thing about this time of the year is I always remember all the good and so easily erase the bad. And really it’s what I do with all experiences. Maybe like childbirth you are meant to forget the bad so that each year you can restart with the same amount of energy as last year.

Today I was forced to evaluate my writing here and this past year. It got me wondering about my boundaries online and in social media. How much of what I share is too much? What is really important? Is anything important at all? Why do I continue to post pictures on Facebook even after I acknowledge the filtered view they show of my life? Why is my account active? Why do I write here? Does anyone even care? Have I become so dependent on social media that sharing about my life has taken president over living it?

One thing I know for sure is why I started writing here as Dream2write on Color My Palate. One night, inspired by a friend’s courage, I started writing about my past. More specifically, my grandma who was the best cook I’ve ever known. I wrote about how her cooking is the reason for my foodie self today. Food is vital to my family’s livelihood. That night after finishing the post, I had this feeling of accomplishment for the first time as a writer. You see all my life I lived in the shadow of a greater writer one who wrote easily and intelligently. I never thought I would feel pride in my writing. I was so insecure. So this Friday night when I wrote my first post and had the feeling of pride, I wanted more of it–greedily. Thus it began–my blog, my story.

Is it important?

Maybe, sometimes, mostly to me.

Does it define me?

No, but it sure does help me understand my life and the decisions I make.

I learned to embrace my cheesy nature and let go of pretension. It happened first in rebellion, but here I learned to value my true nature. One that others may misinterpret as self-pitying or lengthy navel gazing. Well actually I guess I do both and am comfortable with it.

Eight years ago, I claimed my core value as an educator in my final essay: Reflection is the key to growing as a learner. Without looking back and evaluating where one comes from, she can’t become better. No fancy vocabulary, just simple truth.

So there, it’s my core value: navel gazing.

Do I let it over take my present life?

No, but I do let it inform the present. The good, bad, and ugly.

At the end of it, this blog has helped me to be less angry, less confused, less hurt, and more forgiving.  Doing this in a public way may be controversial because not everything I write will be interpreted in the way it was intended.  However, at the end of the day, that can happen with all writing.  So I’m okay with that.

On social media, I declare my end of year ritual:

I close this year with gratitude, love, and forgiveness.

I forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made–big and small. I hope to not repeat them next year, but if I do, I hope that my family and friends will forgive me again.

I’m grateful for the full life I live. One in which I have the freedom to do whatever I want and be exactly who I want.

Love– I love sometimes in ways that suffocate others; other times from afar; always with all my heart.

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