You know, I never made a theme for 2015.
I should have seen that as a sign of what was to come.
2015 has been one of the most unpredictable years of my life. It started with such pain and sorrow, so much regret. That deep sadness gave way to unexpected opportunities that I probably would not have been open to, without the pain and lessons I had learned at the beginning of the year. I went from being a stay at home mom who was homeschooling, neck deep in volunteer work, and working at home, to being employed full time in a career that I have unknowingly been preparing for my entire life, sending kids off to public school and my babies to another person to hug them and love them while I am at work. Instead of wearing sweats all day and occasionally throwing on leggings for fancy moments, I now own a hair waver and at least 4 shades of lipstick. I've backed off of nearly every extracurricular activity and protect my time at home fiercely because I miss my babies so much it hurts and I don't want to work all day, then go out again without my kids when I get home. I've learned to prioritize in new ways. I've learned to treasure my time with my babies instead of counting the minutes until naptime. I love my new way of living... and, at the same time, I am so deeply grateful for the years I spent at home with my kids. I now see what a gift that was and how it has given us all a bond that I hope we will have for the rest of our lives. If I had to go back in time and give 2015 a theme, it would have been "Value it". This year I learned that phases of life, no, life itself is short. Things can change in a blink of an eye. The moment we are in is a gift and we need to see the value in each gift. We should not take a single breath for granted.
Now, here I am. It is almost 2016. I need a theme for the year because I see clearly that while last year I survived the upheaval, I know that this time I really need some sense of direction.
Someone attempted to pay me a compliment today. I think. Honestly, I'm not entirely certain what the plan was there, but I am choosing to think it was a compliment. This person told me in one breath that Sam and I are quirky and different and that this person really likes who we are, but, then this person focused on me and told me essentially that I shake things up more than this person is fully comfortable with and that people don't always like me because of that knack I have for making a few waves here and there.
I get that kind of comment a lot. A lot, a lot. And, every single time, without fail, I go into a funk. I find a place to sigh and frown and I go into my head and beat myself up for being too... me.
I try to tell myself I'll stop being myself and be better than myself. I'll be Kimber 2.0 and everyone will love me and no one will ever find fault with me and life will be perfect.
In that fantasy I am probably also a C cup. (My dream world, my rules. And bra size.)
But, here's the deal.
Sure, there are things about me that make people uncomfortable. I am very opinionated. I'm passionate about things that I care about. I'm not afraid to say exactly how I feel. I'm protective of both people I love, and people who aren't able to protect themselves. I have a teeny bit of "little dog syndrome" going some days. I still swear too much. I have a bit of a lisp. I work better alone than with a team, if only because I prefer to work at a speedy pace while I multi-task at least 2 other projects at the same time. I (still) don't like Tom Hanks.
There is a lot about me to be bothered by.
But, for every person who doesn't like those qualities, there are just as many people, maybe even more, who love me BECAUSE of some of those qualities. Even more importantly, I have spent so many years of my life agonizing over every little nuance that makes me who I am today. I have cultivated some traits and learned to clamp down on others. I've seen abilities in others and taken time to develop those abilities in myself. I've learned to act braver than I feel and I've trained myself to weigh out the benefits and consequences of every action I make before I do something. I've worked hard on becoming who I am today. I've tried to be smaller, quieter. I've tried to be more mindful and gentler. But, you know what? I've learned to be more restrained in some of my reactions, but, I'm still the same Kimber on the inside.
I manage to make waves just by existing.
That part of me who hears the critics sitting in the cheap seats around my personal arena wants to hide sometimes. Lots of times.
But, I'm done with that.
This year, I'm going to be the moon.
I'm going to shine. Sometimes I'll shine big and white and right up in your face. Sometimes I'll just be a sliver in the sky. But, big or small, my ripples, my waves will exist. I'm going to honor the fact that I am blessed to be able to make waves at all. I'm going to share my tiny, slight, bright, overpowering, quiet, distant, in your face light.
I'm going to shine. And, while I shine, I'm going to do as much good as I can with every single day I have.
I'm going to shine while I work.
I'm going to shine when I'm at home.
I'll shine when I take on a project and I'll shine when I set a boundary in order to protect my time with my family.
It is going to be hard to remember to shine and not hide my light because I'm afraid someone will complain that the light is hurting their eyes. But, you know what?
People can toss on a pair of sunglasses if my glow is too much.
This year I'm going to shine.
Shine with me. Please?