Reclaim Your Name (in a Way that Doesn’t Suck)

If you’re a woman and you live in the United States, chances are good you’ve got a story about a name change. You’ve either switched your last name, intentionally decided not to, or will make a choice about this down the road. Even if marriage isn’t your bag, I’ll bet you’ve got an opinion about this issue. In my case, the topic has cropped up throughout my life.

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In elementary school my friends and I scrawled imagined names on notebooks, in high school we joked about horrible names we’d inherit one day, and as young women we debated the pros and cons of changing our names after marriage. Not once did I envision the day I’d walk into a courtroom surrounded by my adult girlfriends, on a mission to reclaim my given name after divorce.

Considering Reclaiming Your Name?

If you, too, are contemplating reclaiming your name, then I salute you! Getting divorced is painful enough. I won’t blame you if filling out a billion government forms hasn’t risen to the top of your priority list just yet. I know. It took me three years after divorce to muster the energy to face this process.

By the way, I have no desire to put down my ex or marriage itself. I have genuine respect for both, and I fully intend to give, ahem, one of them a try again someday. And know that I support you wholeheartedly no matter what you choose to do with your own name. It’s a personal decision that only you can make. (Unless you live in a country that has laws about this, thanks to, say, feminist legislation in the ’70’s and ’80s. To that I say, “Wow.”)

For now, though, I’m talking to the would-be name changers out there. If you’ve gotten divorced and want to change your name back, what’s your motivation?

  • Might it empower you, after enduring a draining time?
  • Have you been using your given name as your middle one, and now you’re tired of explaining which is which?
  • Maybe you have cause to keep a healthy disconnection from your ex?
  • Or perhaps the change might simply help you feel like yourself again?

No matter your reason, consider me your virtual cheerleader. I just went through this process last month, so here are three tips I have for you.

Ask For Help

I feel a tad sheepish for giving this advice, as I only followed it myself because I had to. I’m one of those can-do types who really, really struggles with needing people. But sometimes life forces us to acknowledge we’re not in this alone, and this was a case in point.

In my state of Minnesota, changing your name (unless done at the time of the marriage or divorce) requires jumping through a series of hoops. Along with getting a background check and paying a fee, an applicant must receive approval from a judge at a court-appointed hearing. This involves bringing two adult witnesses to testify about your identity.

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My hearing took about 40 minutes, mostly spent on observing the other cases assigned to the same docket as mine. My friend Jess took this shot moments after my girlfriends and I left the courtroom.

After receiving my court date, I had about month to recruit my witnesses. Trust me when I tell you I tried to dream up ways to do this without “bothering” my loved ones. I dragged my feet for more than a week. My plan of complete independence fell through, though, since the entire point of these witnesses is that they know you well. I finally mustered the courage to send an email to several friends, asking for their help.

I figured I’d play a numbers game and invite a group. The thought was I’d be lucky to scare up two friends who’d be willing and able to drive across town at the appointed time. To my surprise, I received enthusiastic, unwavering support. Within minutes of sending the email I’d gotten not two, not three, but four versions of, “I’m in!” They told me they wouldn’t miss this important event, and asked what they could do to help.

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While snapping a few selfies after the hearing, we noticed two bailiffs sitting in the hallway nearby, amused by our smiles and cameras. Heidi had the guts to invite one of them to take a shot. He mentioned how rare it is to see people actually wanting to commemorate their court experience, so he was happy to oblige.

Turn it Into an Event

Even after my friends said they’d come no matter what, I still had a hard time accepting their help. It took me another week or so to decide what to do with this avalanche of support. Should I just choose two of them? If so, which two? Was I sure there wasn’t some other way to get this done, without putting any of them out?

In the end, I took a deep breath, and decided to go all in. I invited to the whole crew. After all, court hearings are open to the public. I knew we’d be respectful of our fellow courtgoers, who’d be facing who-knows-what. There really wasn’t any reason to hold back, other than my own hesitation about meeting this unfamiliar situation so openly.

My friends’ enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and we decided to celebrate with breakfast afterward. The courthouse, located in the county where I reside, is easily 15 minutes east of where the others live. One of my favorite cafes is only three blocks away, so it seemed like a good excuse to introduce them to it.

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Look at these awesome ladies! Having them with me in court absolutely transformed the experience. The courtroom was more formal than I’d pictured, and their support counteracted my nervousness. And, yes, we all enjoyed our celebratory breakfast treats afterward.

Be Loving to Yourself

My final advice applies to your name-change process, but it’ll also serve you well every freaking day of your life: Be loving to yourself. Changing your name involves a ridiculous number of steps and several months of sustained effort. Gaining legal approval only gets you halfway there. Next, as I’m facing now, you’ll have to record the change in every place your name appears.

Even if your state, like mine, provides resources for streamlining the process, you’re still the one responsible for executing the details. Get ready to fill out various forms, send them to the appropriate places, and pay the related fees. If you’re anything like me, adding these tasks to an already full plate will make you somewhat grumpy. It’s in these moments when you’ll have to break out the reminder to be loving to yourself. I mean it. Be loving to yourself.

When you get distracted and forget, for three days in a row, to get that passport form in the mail, do not berate yourself. After you walk out the door and realize you’ve misplaced the social-security form (yes, the same form you specifically put by your purse so you wouldn’t forget it), let it go for today.

These are the kinds of things that can make you feel like a failure if you let them. Instead, remember this process is a project. It will take time and that’s okay. Pat yourself on the back for any progress you’ve made this far. Take a deep breath. Know that the forms will still be there tomorrow, and think back to your motivations. Then, grab some girlfriends and go celebrate your newfound inner peace!

As always, feel free to share your own stories in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

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No Swimming in the Snow, You Hear Me?

Hi, lovely readers,

I  just wanted to say a quick hello and share a pic I took on a recent walk near home. I couldn’t resist snapping this reminder not to swim in a frozen lake surrounded by snow. Here’s hoping a little winter humor can brighten your day.

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There’s no full post for you today here, as I just completed my first guest post. Making connections with other ambitious women is a goal of my blog, so that’s how I spent my time this week. Along these lines, Blue Car Painted Green is reaching out and finding kindred creative spirits. Check out these recent features on a Saturday Sharefest from the SITS girls and the community page of The Collective Mill.

Have a great week!

Making Stuff: An Act of Love or Bravery?

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Can you believe it’s the last Wednesday in February, y’all? To a summer gal like me, the end of February is a welcome sign that we’re kicking through winter. This year the date brings another milestone, too. Today’s the last day of my first blog experiment. This month, I did something that took me weeks to build the nerve to try: Host a linky party, which is a way to start a conversation for blogs.

In this case, I invited bloggers to submit stories centered around mending self and making stuff. After all, these actions have changed my life, so I wanted to surround myself with gutsy women who are out there doing them, too. There are countless ways to interpret the theme, so I was curious to find out which stories would emerge.

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This week I’m privileged to feature a story that spans a lifetime of making. It comes to us from poet and teaching artist Ren Powell, a Californian who has settled in Norway. (Can you blame her? Check out that shot of her by the lake.) Her post, “The Making of Objects,” brought up a mixture of emotions for me. In fewer than 700 words she traversed the decades and made me want to shout with frustration and longing and finally, vindication.

Powell’s story begins and ends with making things for people she cares about. On the surface this sounds sweet, and it is. But as Powell well knows, making objects isn’t just about making objects. She calls it an act of love; I call it an act of bravery. No wonder I’m drawn to the topic: Anything that combines these two acts is what matters in this world.

What strikes me about Powell’s story is the ease and regularity with which society dampened her voice. Whether she was 8 or 18 or 28, her call to create was present. However, as is often the case with women who express themselves, there were consequences. Each time someone diminished her work, she responded. More often than not, it seems, her reaction involved holding back.

amateurish.pngPowell is hardly alone in this response. (Cough, cough. Ever heard the phrase, “Takes one to know one?”) When people are are told repeatedly over time that their efforts have little value, they hold back as a means for survival. As someone who’s recently learned to overcome past fears and embrace my creative voice, I was particularly struck by this quote: “I studied art in school. In college. I won little, local awards for poetry. But unless it was sanctioned by the gatekeepers who put monetary value on things, it was amateurish in my mind, and amateurish was a bad word.”

And so, I relished the ending of her story with enthusiasm. No longer crippled by the hesitance of youth, she found a way to embrace her creativity. In the end, love gave her the strength to embrace her medium and own her creations. I, too, have become weary of the gatekeepers and hope we can all learn from Powell’s post.

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Thanks again to all the writers who joined me on my linky quest. Here’s a recap. Enjoy!

Initial Invite: Join Me in February: Mend, Make, Change

Week 1. This New Year, What Will You Create?

Week 2. Why Women Write: Global Edition

Week 3. Women and Husbands: Two Stories of Empowerment

Week 4. Making Stuff: An Act of Love or Bravery?

 

Think Everyday Women Can’t Change the World? See Lisa Shave Her Head.

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So, who thinks everyday women can change the world? Here’s hoping you’ve got your hand raised, but I’m on a mission to bring it a little higher than before. My mindset has improved in recent years as I’ve made efforts to spend my free time surrounded by makers and doers. Now I want to share these stories in the hopes I can do the same for you.

This week, here’s who’s inspiring me: Lisa Stiefel of English with Lisa. I met Stiefel this fall when I joined her mastermind group. If you’re not familiar with these, check out Forbes’ “7 Reasons to Join A Mastermind Group.” I concur with the author: My mastermind has expanded my network, exposed me to new learning, and given me bigger ideas. Each week, Lisa and I check in via video chat, where I get to hear the latest on her life and work in Germany.lisa_before

This past Wednesday Stiefel shaved her head. She did it to help others, but she has a message for you, too: Anyone can make a difference. She believes even small efforts matter and that people can help out in any way that feels right to them. I must say I agree! For her, what felt right was to take part in the Irish Cancer Society’s Shave or Dye campaign. (Stiefel lived in Ireland several years ago.)

By shaving or dying their hair, participants show support for people who are going through, or have gone through, cancer treatment. Lisa chose to shave hers and donate it to Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to children suffering long-term medical hair loss. Here’s your chance to find out why she did it, in Stiefel’s own words. If you’re feeling so moved, join me in sponsoring Stiefel’s Shave or Dye campaign.

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What Inspired you to participate in Shave or Dye?

The first time I participated was in 2010. A bus went past me in town with a big poster advertising it, and when I saw it, I just knew, ‘This is something I have to do.’ I decided to combine it with making a hair donation to Locks of Love-I had heard about that organization years ago. My sister is a person who is always finding cool and lovely ways to make the world a better place, and I’ve always admired that about her. She had donated her hair to Locks of Love once way back when, and that’s how I heard about them. My participation in that year resulted in 1 hair donation for Locks of Love, and about 500EUR (approx. $550 today) in donations for Irish Cancer Society.
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I participated in Shave or Dye again in 2012, but that time I dyed my hair bright purple. I wanted to try the other option. My participation this time round resulted in about 200EUR (approx. $220 today) in donations for Irish Cancer Society.
Because Locks of Love don’t accept permanently dyed hair as donations, I had to wait til all the color grew out, then wait til my hair got long enough to be able to make a donation. Now in 2016, my hair meets those two criteria, and so I’ve decided to participate again.
I think it’s a good thing that I am able to do, so why not? When I stop and think about it, there are more reasons for why I should participate in the event than why I shouldn’t. It is also an incredibly liberating feeling. 
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What challenges have you faced as a woman who chose to shave her head?

For starters, it certainly makes a person reflect on the notion of beauty and what their relationship to their own vanity is. Getting over my own vanity was the only thing standing between me and doing something that could really benefit people who are suffering from a terrible disease. And is conventional beauty the same as true beauty? If we believe that beauty comes from the inside out and from being a kind-hearted person, then what does it matter if my hairstyle is conventional or not? 
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By participating in this event, I get to put this value system to the test and gather first-hand experience. Most people who know the background are supportive, but it is still a challenge for many people in our society to see a woman with a shaved head. For some, even with the background info and knowing that it is for a good cause, the stigma is too much to be able to accept. I’ve seen these people cringe at me, laugh nervously and completely inappropriately, or even make rude comments. 

The thing is, I don’t think I look bad with a shaved head. In fact, I think it suits me quite well. And the feeling I get when someone I barely know writes me or tells me, ‘My friend or family member has suffered terribly from cancer. Thank you for doing this.’ far outweighs any rude comment that someone might make. 

The whole experience reveals quite a lot about people, and about oneself.

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What do you have to say to others who may want make a difference but may hesitate to do so?

I would say: Anyone can make a difference, and they can do so in any way that feels right for them. Think about what you want to do, and your motivation for doing it. Reflect on the things that are holding you back- what are those things? How can they be overcome, worked around, or worked with? 
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Any Final Thoughts?

I think we shouldn’t take for granted the importance of making small differences, either. Sometimes something as small and simple as a warm-hearted smile can make all the difference in the world. 
So, there you have it. Small and warm-hearted actions do change things. Let’s take Stiefel’s advice and find our own motivations and goals, then work around the obstacles in our way. Onward!
Replay in Action, Part 1
Replay in Action, Part 2

Women and Husbands: Two Stories of Empowerment

Hi, friends. It’s a Wednesday in February so you know what that means. It’s “Make, Mend, Change” sharing day! This month I put out a call for bloggers to submit stories involving making stuff, mending self, or changing life. Creative women around the world are doing these things every day, and I wanted to surround myself (and you!) with their stories of proactivity.

As it happened, this week’s entries brought two different perspectives on the same theme: husbands. One found her strength after divorcing hers, and other used gardening to celebrate hers. First up came Debi, who submitted her entry through a comment on my blog. I was pleased to discover her blog Hanging Out with Debi, which provides “simple plans for mastering the mental game of reinventing yourself after divorce.”

Story #1: Empowerment Through Divorce

Wow, if Debi’s site doesn’t embody empowerment, then I don’t know what does. I know because I’ve been there myself. I could have used her strategies three years ago, when I went through my own divorce. At the time I remember thinking, “If divorce is as common as the stats say, I can’t believe how many of us are walking around carrying this level of pain.”

Indeed, it took me years to rebuild my circumstances and spirit. For me, self care was no longer a luxury and renewal became intentional. I simply had no other choice. I could have used Debi’s Vibrational Life Transformational Flight Plan and her reminders to ask myself, “So, what do you want?” Replacing negative thoughts with positive action is, in fact, the entire point of my blog. Though Debi’s story and mine (and yours and yours) are different, the need for reinvention is the same.

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Story #2: Celebrating a Healthy Hubs

Whatever difficulties each of us are facing, surrounding ourselves with can-do types will help us along the way. This brings me to my blog-link party’s second entry for the week, a story of renewal I was thrilled to see this post pop up from Sarah the Recreational Gardener. (You may remember her from my recent thrift-shop jaunt and subsequent discovery of a new like-minded, weird lovely friend.)

It gave me great joy to read about the burst of purple she’s added to her kitchen counter. Her addition of this orchid was enough to make me smile on its own, but the reason behind it makes story even better. I learned Sarah and her hubby had endured a health scare a couple years ago, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent surgery and has been cancer free ever since.

Her choice of a vibrant orchid strikes me a like a fitting reminder. After all: I, like Sarah, appreciate the value of finding brightness during Minnesota winters. My heart goes out to them and any of you who may be facing your own cancer journeys. And, as Sarah points out, organizations like the Testicular Cancer Society and the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation are here to help. “If I can inspire one person to either self-check, our encourage a man in their life to check, then my goal is met,” she says, and I support her message.

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We’re midway through the month, so keep your stories coming! Write a post or link an existing one to my party. Next Wednesday, I’ll post a recap. If you’re not a blogger, feel free to comment and let me know what “make, mend, change” means to you.

 

 

Why Women Write: Global Edition

If you’ve been following along, you know I recently put out a call for bloggers to share their stories. Not just any stories, I thought you’d enjoy hearing from creative women about how they’re living the theme: Mend, Make, Change. Each Wednesday in February, I’m writing a post about entries from the week.

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Last week, we met Linda from New York City, who’s making things happen by starting her own blogger’s group. I appreciated the spirit of her story: Undeterred by snowy streets and the possibility of no-shows, she went to the craft store anyway. Across the miles I’m cheering her on, and I hope her attitude will inspire you to go for it and start making that change you’re contemplating.

This week’s week’s submission comes to us from Poland and is all about writing. I was thrilled when this comment popped up on my blog: “I’ve wanted to join you from the very beginning and now I’ve got the post I had in mind.” The commenter turned out to be Emilia Ciepla of The Light Inside of Us, which is available in English and Polish. 

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard not to feel uplifted by a blogger who describes herself this way: “I’m someone looking for sense and light in life and if I’m lucky enough to find them I’m delighted to share them with you.” Her post this week, “Please, Come Out,” reads like poetry and encourages us to let go of limiting thoughts. As someone who’s spent the past few years working on this, I concur that life’s better when I manage to achieve it. 

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Reading Emilia’s words got me thinking about women’s poetry and its ability to travel the globe. My thoughts immediately came to a blogger in Oslo whose work is so powerful I pause after reading each poem, just to take it in. If you’re a lover of language’s stark beauty, or need a reminder that humanity can be positive, I urge you to visit Nomzi Kumalo’s What Are You Waiting For. You only have to read as far as her About page to encounter wisdom such as this:

I believe that silence is golden. I believe that language is power. I believe that most answers lie in nature, meditation and yoga. Within ourselves. Participating in good causes big and tiny. I believe in love.

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Before I started blogging, I couldn’t have predicted how much sanity I’ve gained from participating in this online community of creatives. Amplifying voices of encouragement makes a difference, and my own perceptions are more positive, thanks to the women who are making it happen.

It’s not too late to join the party. Bloggers, feel free to link your stories to the my mend, make, change page. For the next two Wednesdays this month, I’ll reflect on any submissions that come. Till then, I wish you light and love.

Go Find Your Like-Minded, Weird, Lovely Friends

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So I have to tell you about a first-rate thing that happened last weekend. Consider it my own personal proof that life’s more fun when you get over your hangups and let yourself be who you are. For crying out loud, you guys, is anybody else tired of being concerned about what everybody might think of us, anyway?

Here’s the deal. I love thrift shops. I adore them so much I’ve devoted entire blog posts to celebrating good ones like Top Drawer of Austin, Texas. I’m also a huge fan of people who build community, which is what draws me to bloggers. So a few weeks ago I had an idea for putting these two together in a way that brought me so much joy it made my head want to explode.

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It wasn’t all that complicated, really: How about I reach out to the Twin Cities Blogger Collective and invite them along on a thrift-shop hop? We’d visit a local thrift store or two, take pics, then write about it. Yes! I was drawn to the idea and it was simple enough. But simplicity wasn’t my problem. No, my issue was much more diabolical. In order to follow through with the outing I envisioned, I’d have to get over my fear of not being liked.

First of all, I’d never met anyone from this collective of women bloggers. I’d recently joined their Facebook group, but that was my only point of contact. Okay, I had met one, but she hardly counted, as she’d told me about the group in the first place. That left 108 ladies I’d never seen face to face.

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Spolier alert, I pushed past my doubt and reached out to the bloggers. Here I am with Sarah, the Recreational Gardner herself. We explored two fine Minneapolis thrift shops, Junket: Tossed and Found and Time Bomb Vintage.  (Photo by Recreational Gardner.)

Second, I hadn’t entirely gotten over my shyness about taking photos in public. Sure, taking a quick phone snap is practically the norm. Even so, wearing a DSLR around your neck feels like an invite for unwanted attention, regardless of whether or not this is actually true.

Think about it. There’s no way to have a long-lensed camera suspended on your chest AND appear casual at the same time. You might as well hang a sign on that industrial Sony strap. It might boast something like, “HEL-LO, fellow shoppers! You may be here for a spontaneous afternoon jaunt, but I actually planned this. I really, really like this place, and I drove 18.8 miles one way just to come. (True story.) What’s more–and this may be the hardest part to admit–I genuinely care about what happens here today.”

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This is my favorite image from our trip. Yes, it’s a bin filled with typewriter keys. I was  drawn to their stark beauty, and it felt good to run my fingers through them.

I know. My dilemma may not sound like life and death, because of course it isn’t. But I believe there are too many of us walking around, holding back back the best parts of ourselves. What a damn shame! Not only does this habit require a great deal of personal energy, but the world is missing out because of it.

Since starting this blog just over a year ago, I’ve grown braver about reaching out. I’ve learned skills that have helped me feel more empowered. I’ve gained inspiration from creative women all over the world. So when the idea came along to connect with actual people in my own city, it was easier to push past my fear and just go for it. And thank God for that, because the afternoon was ridiculously fun.

Four bloggers responded to my Facebook invite to meet me at a local thrift store, and I was able to sync schedules with one right away: Sarah of the Recreational Gardener. She figured she could score some thrifty yard art for her garden. We agreed to meet along the Minnehaha Mile, a collection of hip neighborhood shops in Minneapolis. We’d head to Junket: Tossed and Found, then walk a block to Time Bomb Vintage.

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Truer words have never been spoken. This sign accompanied the rack of ties hanging on a  display at Junket.

Both shops are nothing short of delightful. The displays are arranged so lovingly they actually talk to you. That’s right. Within minutes of our arrival, a photo in a small green frame spoke to me. (Literally, assuming you count thought bubbles, which I clearly do. I mean, obviously.) It reassured me that I’m among friends and don’t have to be embarrassed.

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Here it is, the photo that reached through the cosmos and spoke what I needed to hear. Check out the kids! I snapped this shot without noticing them. Later, while cropping this image, I saw them for the first time and laughed out loud.

I’ve come to believe this advice is is true of the world as well. There’s no need to feel ashamed. And who are the best reminders of this? Our very own like-minded, weird, lovely friends. So get over yourself and go find them, wherever they may be. Look online, head to a meetup in your city, invite that work acquaintance to coffee. Sure, not every lead will pan out. But that’s okay.

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I thought of my grandmother while taking this shot. She collected napkin rings and had two  displays of them hanging on her dining room wall. You could tell she treasured them, and each ring was different from the one next to it. Dosie was an artist who passed away when I was in middle school. Oh, how I’d love to have an adult conversation with her!

Know that it’ll take time, but seek your community. Surrounding yourself with your people is one of the best ways to draw you out of shyness and into your best self. Find those who are already doing what you want to do. Learn from them. Pay careful attention. Then over time, figure out which ones you can come to meet, online or in person. In fact, I’ll leave you with one final piece of thrift-shop wisdom: “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

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Find your community and you’ll be one step closer to living this out.

For the bloggers among you, do you have your own story of creating opportunities? Join my February linky party: Make, Mend, Change.

So what about you? Who are your like-minded friends? Let me know in the comments!

This New Year, What Will You Create?

“The new year is a great time to create something.” Yay, they were the words of a kindred spirit, all right. And I was psyched. Three days before, I’d taken a risk. I’d put myself out there, in the hopes of finding fellow makers and doers. It’d taken me weeks to build up the nerve, but I’d finally posted a request for readers to submit stories to my very first linky party: Make, Mend, Change. And now, this quote had come from the party’s very first submission!

Linky parties are a method for bloggers to create community. They’re an invitation for others to write about a certain topic on their own blogs. Then, the original blogger organizes the posts together in one place, so like-minded readers can find a lively dialogue there. And though I didn’t know what I was doing, I decided I wanted to learn.

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The thing is: The only way to learn anything is to get comfortable wading into unfamiliar waters. And so, I went for it, despite the “I’m okay with failure” post I’d already started writing in my head. You can imagine, then, how thrilled I was to see a comment pop up: “I guess somebody had to be first.” It was written by Linda of The Linda Life, the brave New Yorker who jumped right in and became the party’s first linker.

That alone was enough to endear her to me. But then I read her post and discovered that, yep, she’s a fellow maker, indeed. I especially loved this part: Just as I was taking a risk to build an online community, Linda was out there doing the same thing to build one in real life. It was enough to bring on a fist pump.

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I took this shot while visiting Austin, Texas (my former hometown), in 2014. On a leisurely walk around Town Lake, I couldn’t help but notice this underpass. Whatever these decals  were promoting, I must say I liked the message!

I enjoyed reading about Linda digging through the snow on the way to the bloggers’ group she founded. You can’t win them all, but now, I can’t wait to see how her group grows. So fellow bloggers. . . who’s ready to join Linda and me on our quest for community? I’d love to hear your own story of mending, making, or change. Changes big or small are welcome, and you’ve got all of February to submit your story. Till then . . . happy Wednesday!

Join Me in February: Mend, Make, Change

It’s my first linky party, y’all! What does that mean? I want to hear your stories. So, anytime in February, write a post about how mending or making has changed your life or someone else’s. The change doesn’t have to be big. (Though if it is, who am I to stop you?)

Maybe you’ll make a note for your kid’s lunchbox, and it’ll bring a smile to her face. Perhaps you’ll take a step toward mending a habit you’d like to repair. Or maybe you’ll tell about a project that’s making a difference in your community. Who knows? You might even make a craft project out of an item that needs mending. Regardless, share a story about changing life for the better.

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Sure, the graphic says “mend you, make stuff,” but you can interpret the theme however you want.

By all means, be liberal with your interpretation. Post a photo, write a poem, dream up a fiction piece, or write a straightforward post. Whatever you do, don’t worry about perfection. Just take part in the conversation.

Then, every Wednesday during February, I’ll write a round-up featuring some of your (sure-to-be inspiring) posts.

 JUMP IN. HERE’S HOW.

  • Get into the spirit of encouraging others, taking care of yourself, and making stuff.
  • Anytime in February, write a post on the theme.
  • When your post is ready, go to the Mend, Make, Change Link-Up Page add your entry.
  • Then, read at least two posts from your fellow party contributors.
  • Pick your fave post from a fellow party-goer, then share it generously on your social media of choice.
  • Check back here on Wednesdays in February. I’ll write a round-up of the stories submitted that week.
  • If you have questions or recommendations, shoot me an email or a write a comment. (Remember, this is the first time I’ve done this, so I’m open to suggestions.)

TIPS FOR YOUR POST:

  • Use original content throughout your post. I know you know this.
  • The point is dialogue, so don’t link to giveaways or anything you’re selling.
  • Go ahead. Have fun.