“Most often, after you have completed something you didn’t want to do, you wonder why you were so worried in the first place.”
~Madisyn Taylor, Daily Om
I feel like I live a double life – the life of an introvert forced to become an extrovert. As a teacher and leader at school, I’m constantly expected to stand up, speak up, and innovate. I love experimenting with lessons in my classrooms, integrating new technology into my teaching, and finding exciting, experimental ways to jazz up my teaching. Not much phases me in my work life. After 24 years, I’m comfortable with who I am, what I do, and that I can get the desired results. It doesn’t take much courage; it’s natural.
In my personal life right now, it’s a different story. I feel most comfortable in old routines, sinking into the safety of the predictable and sure thing. I default to pattern, to embrace only the tiniest amount of change. This year has tried me to the core, pushing my acceptable comfort levels to the bursting point. I breathe in change and exhale a need for consistency, but it’s slow coming. I’m parenting differently, I’m living differently. Some days it feels almost normal; others, I wonder how I landed here. It takes extraordinary courage some days just to make any sense at all.
Last month, about two days before the deadline, I took a deep breath in and hit ‘submit’ on a live spoken word production called “Listen To Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone”. I’ve wanted to audition for years, but always found it too inconvenient to commit to something that big at this time of year – normally a time when I’m in and out of the snow, driving up and down the state to ski races on the weekends and watching track meets during the week.
But this year, all that changed…so I decided to change, too. I went with courage.
And to my absolute surprise, my essay made it through the first cut, and I passed the in-person audition. No excuses anymore – it’s official. I am part of the 2015 Listen To Your Mother cast in Plumas County, California. You can read all about LTYM here, but for now, I need to get comfortable in front of a microphone; no hiding behind the keyboard now. I’ll be reading my essay, Extraordinary in the Ordinary, live on April 30, and it will be taped and broadcast on the LTYM You Tube channel this summer. Ack!
In an effort to embrace change and live in courage, I’m stepping out into new territory today…my first attempt at vlogging. This piece was originally written after I read the book The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver. The book was about survival, and how we create stories to help us muddle through life and make sense of the world around us. It reminded me of three distinct times in my life where the theme of power was prevalent: in my childhood, in my twenties, and recently, as a forty-something mom.
Step one complete. Less worried now than I was before…and luckily, I still have a month to rehearse.
JanineNovember 22, 2015
Wow you are really stepping out of your comfort zones! Good on you! I must admit I dabbled with vlogging and it was going well till I got and listened to feedback from my family. I need to follow your lead and have another go!Reply
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Jennifer WolfeNovember 22, 2015
Janine, don’t give up. It’s a whole different experience hearing someone read- maybe think about the type of post you’re reading aloud and see if it benefits from an oral reading. Good luck!
Mackenzie GlanvilleNovember 21, 2015
I was truly captivated as you read your words. These stories were so powerful to me and made me reflect on my own experiences, especially as you said goodbye to your home, something my 11 year old has just done and is finding it hard to get over. You will be amazing in front of a crowd as you read with, oh how do I explain? You just capture your audience and draw them in. You should be immensely proud! Thank you for linking with #FridayreflectionsReply
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Jennifer WolfeNovember 21, 2015
Oh Mackenzie, thank you for your kind compliment. Vlogging is very different, and you’ve motivated me to keep trying! Thanks for organizing such a great group of writers for #fridayreflections.
sueNovember 20, 2015
I admire you for making the vlog and you have inspired me to perhaps put this on my list for 2016. Stepping out of our comfort zone is not always easy but we are pleasantly surprised most of the time when we do. I loved your vlog and post for #Fridayreflections and have subscribed. Have a great weekend!Reply
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Jennifer WolfeNovember 20, 2015
Sue, thank you for your kind comment – I appreciate the support for the vlog. It wasn’t easy to do, as I’m much more comfortable with written words. It was fairly easy to do, and I hope that when you do yours, you’ll let me know! Thanks again.
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[…] Living in Courage: Three Vignettes Vlog […]Reply
My Inner ChickApril 6, 2015
LOVED the Vlog, Jennifer. Nice to hear your voice.Reply
Congrats on LTYM! Aren’t you glad you hit submit?!!
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Jennifer WolfeApril 6, 2015
Thanks, Kim. Vlogging is such a different medium…I’m going to keep practicing! And yes, I’m glad I submitted. So far it’s been a cool group of women. The performance is in a few weeks-yikes!