A year ago today was the first frost in my hometown, Sudbury, Ontario. I was packing up the car to drive south to Tennessee, a journey filled with hope, fear, and the unexpected. Pacing back and forth from my bedroom to the car, I loaded my belongings. Suddenly, I slipped on the ice, my boot waved into the air, and I flew down a flight of stairs. But I stood up. I moved on. Sure, I acquired a few bruises, but that wasn’t going to stop me. The next day I got in that car, and I drove south to Nashville. Alone, mind you, I had never driven for more than three hours at once or in a big city. It has taken me until now to see that moment for what it was; a metaphor for what was to come, and surely, that same metaphor stands for the journey ahead.
I had just spent the last seven months in my childhood bedroom. It was a time of grief; there is no other word that describes the feeling with more accuracy. With only two months of college before me, I was ready to launch into the world. But I found myself back at home, taking online classes, longing for missed goodbyes with close friends, and wondering what to do next. I lost motivation. I lost hope. It’s funny how it’s in the small things. I had been putting off hanging my paintings. To me, that felt like a commitment to staying. I hung them with my hope in August. If you told me then that I would where I am today, I wouldn't believe you. I often feel like I haven’t come far enough or accomplished enough. It’s easy to look forward to where you want to be. I try to look back too. I am learning to celebrate progress.
This year has been overflowing with fear, hope, failure, success, loneliness, friendship, bravery, discovery, community, and the unexpected. Never in my life have I grown so much. I have found myself as a confident, passionate, creative, inspiring, daring woman. Some might find it arrogant to speak proudly of who you are, but I do not care. I am learning to let go of what others think. I can not express how many years I’ve been working towards getting confident on that list. And that - that is probably the thing I am most proud of.
I guess what I'm getting at is this, it’s not easy, but it is worth it. Even if you fall, even if you fail, when you are learning and growing, that alone is worth the risks. If there’s something you want to do, if there’s somewhere you want to move, if you are able to, do it. I dare you.