It seems strange that we call it leap year when it is really just one day.
I set arbitrary goals for myself: never run less than 3 miles, always fold the clothes when they come out of the dryer, write X number of words before that cup of coffee, never press snooze more than once, etc. There are often caveats I allow myself: never run less than 3 miles unless you are stuck on a terrible, mind-numbing treadmill. Always fold the clothes when they come out of the dryer, but who knows how many days I will leave said clothes in the dryer. You get the idea. I have come to lean heavily on this tactic to shape my "work day." I say "work day", because as of leap day 2016, I do not have an employer. Even so, my sweetheart has invested in a workspace for us to share downtown. I am the only one to use it so far, mainly because he is disciplined enough to work effectively at the house.
One arbitrary goal was to send out a particular query letter by leap day. I wrote it, I re-wrote it, I reworded it again, I wondered how it would be received, but on leap day I sent it. I leaped.
Then I tried to not agonize on what might be wrong with it. I have to move one way or another, so I let it go. This seems to be a theme of this blog: I have to move, I have to try. Maybe, to set the goals with no caveats. To find the strength and courage that I had forgotten or maybe never believed existed in me. I bruise easily- both inside and out. I'm sensitive, hyper-empathic, and my skin breaks and bleeds with little pressure.
This is going to get messy.
Here's the more honest way to say it: it's already messy. I am a mess, and I'm not going to keep hiding. The same courage I use to dig out of my closets and the dark corners of my home is unearthing hidden parts of my soul that, with the right goals and nurturing, are going to change into something. I hope it's beautiful, but there are no guarantees. I'm quite certain a lot will need to be discarded: drafts of work, ugly elements of me, damaged relationships I have carried. I am attached to all these things, and they are weighing me down. I have to let go. This does take courage and strength, and a lot of deep breathing. This takes trust.
Friends, you will see me fail here.
Just try not to laugh too hard, okay?
Welcome to leap year.
Erin is a doula, writer, mother to men, and teacher on permanent hiatus. She loves how writing connects us and thrives on the bright edges of human experience.