Looking back at the year I can see that God was prepping me for “unashamed” before 2013 rolled into town. New year’s Eve is also my wedding anniversary, so it is a busy time. A few days prior my friend had pulled a few strings with her friend and he agreed to take a look at my online presence. If I was really going to make a go at this blogging thing I needed someone to show me the ropes. Collin Kelly did just that.
I had to learn about self-promotion, about how to value my own skills, how to stand up unashamed and say, Hey! I have something to say about that. Hey! What I know maybe is important too. I had to learn to choose myself. I learned in this year of unashamed, to not wait for someone to pick me out of a crowd, to stand up and say, Hey! Pick me!
It wasn’t natural. I spent the first few months on twitter typing something out and not posting it, then daring myself with my one word. “What would you do if you were unashamed?” Usually I would click send. So I did. Look twitter is where people all watch tv shows together but in a place where pants are optional, but also, some really interesting conversations about social justice and religion, and the intersection of these things is being had. Right at the moment I worked up the nerve to ask my friend, unashamed, if I could post for her series, she up and asked me.
That post took off in a way no one was expecting. A bunch of people I really respected linked it and shared it, and I was featured for the first time as a Rachel Held Evans Sunday Superlative. My husband and I joked I won the internet. Somewhere in the comments section someone re-sparked my desire to write the book I had started six years ago. What if I was unashamed to say there was a book inside of me?
Turns out if you name the book inside of you it comes on out. I have a manuscript to prove it. In the millions of tiny unashamed steps I started calling myself a writer. Then I decided to pay for a class. At the least I figured it would extend my platform a smidge. I joined Story Sessions this spring when I finally learned to be unashamed to ask for things I want, even when they cost money. My amazing husband didn’t even blink. Of course. Just like that I found my tribe. And they cheered me on when I wrote my two most popular posts ever. 200,000 and 100,000 view respectfully. They held my hand when I wrote and edited my book. They tell me they believe it will get published when I get rejected by agent after agent. Then they kick me off of Facebook when I am supposed to be editing. I cannot imagine my year without them.
In the spirit of unashamed I wrote about my boobs, my frustration with the church and my job, about crapping my pants in public. People still loved me, and accepted me, on-line and in real life. I need not be ashamed of what I really think.
Unashamed didn’t just change my online appearance. In February I got my nose pierced, in October I got a tattoo. I decided to stop being ashamed of the things I wanted, that if I really wanted them they weren’t silly. It seems it wasnt just on Twitter that I needed to decide to choose myself.
I have laughed louder, said more, painted (but not as much as I wanted to). I wrote my butt off this year, maintaining my blog while I wrote 100,000 words of one and a half manuscripts. I looked myself square in the face as I stopped worrying about what any one else thinks, and I turned into a person that it turns out I really like.
Unashamed was quite a ride. But it was so good I asked God if I could keep it for another year. I got a no. But I have about 36 more hours of unashamed, and I plan on using every inch of them up.