Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Back to School Eve


I wrote a letter to myself today. That sounds a little strange, but I was in a professional development workshop. We were to think of one or two people who had taken a chance on us both professionally and personally and send them a note stating, “Thanks for taking a chance on me.” That’s it. No explanation. 

Both of the people who I thought of professionally - Brad and Karen, for the record - are people I have no easy way to contact. No emails. We’re not Facebook friends. I don’t have their cell number.

So, I picked myself, kind of. I picked my writing email - Kat Ryan. I thanked myself for taking a chance on me.

My husband might have just rolled his eyes.

I disagree.

See, putting your writing out there in the world is hard. It’s asking to make yourself vulnerable. It’s letting others judge you, and judge you they will. 

I mean, let’s be real here. I’m writing romance books. The world already decries romance books as light, fluff, mommy porn, etc. Do I think everyone will like my books? Nope. 

But I’m beginning, just beginning, not to care. I’m proud of myself for trying, for taking the leap. (I also have read Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena quote a time or two.)

Tonight, as I do every night, I talked to God. Every night I thank them for different things. Often, it’s for my heart, which might seem strange. 

My heart is large. Not medically so, at least I hope not, but with empathy. Some might think this is a good thing and it is, in a way. It also makes life harder, I think. I feel things. A lot. I get my feelings hurt easily. I worry, I mean, hello anxiety. Watching the news is hard. I want to help everyone. Reading social media is hard. Friends post little digs about things they don’t believe in or agree with. Which is their right, but sometimes I struggle with the comments.

It can hurt. 

But I’m learning, with age, to appreciate my big heart. I think it’s what helps me write stories. Reading the edits from my copy editor tonight found a comment where she told me that my superpower is world building. That she felt like she knew the town my characters were inhabiting two books in and wanted me just to keep writing more and more. I feel what these characters are going through. I think about them a lot. I can’t stop, to be honest, and so I write their stories down.

Tonight what I’m feeling is empathy for my students.

It’s Back-to-School Eve. Tomorrow is our first day of school. I’m so excited and cannot wait to meet a new group of students. Some kids, I’m certain, are also pumped. They’re ready to see their friends. They’ve already set out the back to school clothes. Some are dreading it. Summer is freedom, school can be a cage and they are trapped birds. And for some, the start of the school year is filled with anxiety. They don’t want to be expected to share, to participate, to be vulnerable. 

I get that. I do. 

And so, tomorrow I will greet them all. I’ll love them as much as I can. I’ll work hard to meet them where they are and help them grow beyond their wildest dreams. And I’ll remember how hard it is to put yourself out there and ask nothing of them that I wouldn't ask of myself.

And mostly I’ll treasure their hearts, whether normal sized or far too big like mine. Because we need all kinds of people in this world. Our beauty lies in our differences. I’ll work to teach them that too.

Have a great school year.