I was going to write a little more about Rose and Ned this week, but after finding myself in a conversation that left me troubled and thinking – and, actually, finding it the mirror of a previous conversation that left me troubled and thinking, I decided to write about something else instead.
I’ve decided this week to write about guts.
“I admire anybody who has the guts
to write anything at all.” E.B. White
I’ve been keeping a blog now for a whopping six months! I have to admit, before September, it had never occurred to me to keep a blog – I mean, I didn’t even have a website! Even through my move to Colorado, every last scrap of business I’ve enjoyed as a midwife has come my way by word-of-mouth. But, when I learned that if I hoped to get the book I’d written published I had to have one, I got cracking at it. And I’ve come to enjoy it. I’ve come to enjoy it, and I’ve even begun to see it as a thing with the potential to stand on it’s own – published book or no published book.
As I wrote on my about page, “my life’s been filled with generous souls and some profoundly transformational moments. Those generous souls, bubbling over with wisdom and knowledge and insight, launched me into my moments of transformation… I desire to pass what I’ve been given along.”
I’ve come to enjoy keeping this blog, I’ve come to see it as an opportunity to share the many gifts I’ve been given, and, recently, I’ve come to see it as an opportunity even for others to share the gifts they’ve been given.
I didn’t write a book because I’m a wonder among midwives. I’m not keeping this blog because I’m a wonder among midwives. There are so many amazing midwives among us! Amazing women who’ve been attending births longer than I have, who’ve attended more births than I have, who know more than I know, who are more skilled than I am, and who have better stories than I do.
One of the things I’d like to do with this blog is introduce you to some of these amazing women. With that in mind, I’ve begun sending invitations to my midwife friends to write a little about themselves, their routes into midwifery, and their practices, etc, for me to share here.
That’s when I had those two disturbing conversations.
They both went a little something like this: “Wow. You know, you really open yourself up to scrutiny when you write in public that way – you really open yourself up to some criticism.”
Yes. Yes, I suppose that’s true.
But, so what?
It made me think of that EB White quote, “I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.”
It made me think of Brene Brown’s Ted Talks and book, DARING GREATLY.
Brene launches her book with Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech:
“It isn’t the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who’s actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who comes short again and again,
because there’s no effort without error and shortcoming;
but he who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
and who, at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Yes. Maybe, likely, per writing this blog, per writing a book, per telling my story I’ll be scrutinized, I’ll be criticized.
But what of that? I’ve done my best with what I’ve been given. I’ve done my best with my life. I’ve done my best with it and, guess what? For all my good intentions and best efforts, I actually deserve a bit of critical scrutiny. Who doesn’t?
I’ve been given a gift. God’s given me this life to do my best with, and my efforts to do my best are my story, and my story stands to be the gift I give back to God. My life and its story is my thank you gift to God.
And it, good, bad, ugly, and even worthy of a measure of scrutiny and criticism, is my gift to you as well.
Good, bad, and ugly, here’s my life! Take it, and be entertained, be encouraged, be warned, be inspired, be enriched.
Then do your best with the gift you’ve been given, and, please! Wax brave!
Share who you are! Share what you’ve done! Have some guts, and share your gift with us!
Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife and Author
Books by Kim: