Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Off to the Race: My Year of Bravery

I can fit in this one, Mommy
Three suitcases stare at me from the living room floor. My flight takes off in a few hours, bound for Orlando and a half-marathon race that already has my stomach pitching from fear and uncertainty. My daughter crawls among them, oblivious to their symbolism.

I'm off to accomplish something I've never done before.

And I'm scared witless. Seriously, if I didn't have so much money invested into plane tickets, nonrefundable hotel fees, and race entrance costs, I'd probably cancel the trip right now.

I hate stepping out of my comfort zone. Hate it. I like the familiar, the steady rhythm of a schedule, the predictability of knowing what will happen and when. And that's why I'm going. It's time I learned to be brave.
bravery - noun - the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening : the quality or state of being brave 
You'll notice there isn't a picture of me next to Merriam-Webster's definition. Though some people would consider me brave--in part because of a few years of truly bad luck I've had to weather--I'm a long way off from being close. I went Indie not because I'm brave, but because I didn't want to deal with the repeated rejection of agents. I haven't spent much time on marketing my books because I'm not good at it. It's unfamiliar, so I've avoided it under the guise of being too busy (I am crazy-busy, mind you, but there's always time when something matters). And I've never run a half-marathon before because...well, because I didn't know if I could.

I'm about to find out.

Just as I'm about to find out how brave I can be. 2014 is my year. I'm tired of turning into a wallflower to avoid the anxiety of meeting new people. I'm tired of bypassing my dreams and goals because the tasks associated with them aren't comfortable. And I'm tired of wondering. Wondering what I could be if I were brave.

So here goes. I'm scared, but I will move forward.

I will market. I've lined up several Read to Reviews for The Child Returns and hired a company to help me do blog tours: one tour for three weeks and one for twelve, in conjunction with The Zeiihbu Master's release. And I've agreed to talk to a room full of strangers at the UCF Book Festival. Yikes!

I will race. I've signed up not only for the Disney Princess half-marathon this weekend, but another half in the fall, as well as a handful of 5K and 10K races and a 10 miler in April. I'm collecting medals to hang above my desk, to remind me how brave I can be.

I will not give up. Not when a marketing technique doesn't work, or when a review comes in bad. Not when I injure myself or struggle through a long run. And particularly, not when I feel like a coward. Because bravery isn't about the end result, but the act of trying, of fighting through my fears. 

And because 2014 is my year. No matter what comes of this adventure, my bags are packed and I'm ready to race.

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