Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 • No Comments on 2015: Phoenix Rising, Lioness Roaring
2015. The year I almost died. The year I reinvented my writer identity to include memoirist and essayist. The year we became a retired military family and Jay became a teacher and I became a teacher’s wife. The year both of my children were in school for the first time and I regained a regular 3-day-a-week writing schedule after being a full-time stay-at-home mom for a year. The year I learned to say, “No, I can’t” without apologizing or explaining– or feeling (much) guilt. The year I realized longevity doesn’t mean blind loyalty when it comes to either my personal or professional lives. The year I embraced the unfriend/block/unfollow/delete button, both literally and metaphorically. The year I decided life is too fucking short to endure toxicity, drama or bad behavior. The year I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. The year The year we decided it’s time to move. The year that was one of the best years of my life.
2015 has brought change to my life. And as I think back on this year, the expected and the unexpected, I realize that I am stronger that I’ve ever been, but also softer. My heart breaks more easily these days, for myself, for my children, for friends who have hurt, for a world that seems so unkind at times. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But those who mistake my tenderheartedness for weakness have found that I can turn as cold and hard as ice. I protect what is mine, whether it’s my family, my writing or my own heart– and I have done that this year in so many ways.
My increasingly blond hair (so hard to remember it’s no longer red/auburn) prompted a friend to call me a lioness earlier this year. I took it as a compliment, though of course a female lion doesn’t have a mane, right? But then I read this article about how researchers have discovered some lionesses who have, through a genetic mutation, taken on the traits of males– including growing a long mane and roaring like their masculine counterparts–which increases the chances of survival for their pride. I have moved through this year, getting tougher with every professional and personal disappointment, learning to roar louder and be stronger and speak up for myself in ways I never have before.
A lioness with a long mane protecting her pride– that image of myself will carry me into 2016 with strength and heart.