My husband is continually amazed by the contrast of me on the page/screen and me in reality. He met me via my words and so thought me this bold, outspoken woman, and though I can be her when I need to be, I am closer to the image that Rodgers and Hammerstein paint of Cinderella, but my little corner is an office that was once a bedroom and my chair sits in front of a Macbook.
I am most comfortable when I can write. I don’t stumble for words (or mispronounce them). No one can hear my slight lisp or the accent that veers back and forth between Southern Iowa and Northern Alberta. Like Cinderella, I can be whatever I want to be. Whether or not that is really me, I haven’t yet discovered.
Almost exactly a year ago, I left the high school where I taught for the last time and headed home to continue purging and packing my belongings and begin my wait for Rob to arrive from Canada. Within a week, the house was near empty and ready for its new owners and we were on our way to a new life in another country.
I am the least adventurous person I know. I am the last person that anyone who knows me would imagine could meet a man on a message board in December and marry him on foreign soil six months later, willing and ready to begin anew.
However, I could write it. The story of love across international boundaries conquering all with a mousy, yet determined, heroine and a sexy, sturdy hero leaping over and pushing aside all manner of obstacles to be together.
But I am living it instead. Minus the mousy. I am shy. Not timid.
Nothing is more terrifying to me than new people and yet I have put myself deliberately in the position of being the new girl over and over most of my life. As blood-curdling as the prospect of a room full of strangers is, I changed schools 5 times in a 20 year teaching career and this was after taking a job in a city where I knew absolutely no one to begin with.
When I came here last June, everyone save Rob and my younger step-daughter, Jordan, was a stranger. Everywhere I went was some place I had never been. And I did a lot of it on my own with only my four and a half year old as back up.
I joined two writing groups, have made myself a regular at the gym and the Starbucks (the only familiar landmark in a Twilight Zone of same yet not same places).
They know me at the grocery, the bank, the child-minding and the school. Maybe not so much a testament to me but to the smallness of our town. Still, I have found a home.
And I write. Send my writing to the world via this blog and MSU and the comments on the blogs of people I have come to know through my initiative and theirs.
My comfortable place is behind the words I write and the stories I dream, but I have and continue to move past and move them out into the world along with myself.
*So what better topic for Hump Day Hmmm this week, eh? Tell us about your comfort zone, outside your comfort zone, and share a journey you took outside your comfort zone…what happened? I think reading each of these stories will pull each of us beyond our own existing horizon, so I really hope for a lot of participation. Let’s even beat last week, which had over a dozen submissions! (I was ecstatic!)
To motivate you even more, I’ll put a prize on the table again: a Morgan Spurlock book or DVD. Choose among his Super Size Me, Don’t Eat This Book, or Season 1 of 30 Days.”