Nurturing Growth & Pruning: Raw & Exposed

In March, I posited what seeds are you sowing for a fall harvest? I moved to NYC to dust off dreams deferred, namely: (1) getting my books published; (2) turning one into a Broadway play; and (3) starting an education foundation geared towards inner city youth and first generation college students. Ambitious, yes. 
This blog started as a result of the first dream. I used to send my thoughts to friends via email. In the fall of 2010, I sent an email “Just Thinking.” The friend that ended up encouraging me to move to NYC replied, “stop sending emails and start a blog.” I am a loner at heart and value my privacy. I typically have a small circle of friends and through the passage of time, I allow walls to come down and they get to see my soul – bit by bit, little by little. So the idea of putting my thoughts, that I share with my circle, on display for the world was not appealing. Yes I wanted to be published author, but until moving to NYC I had every intention of doing so using a pseudonym. However, I figured if I was going to chase a dream, I had to go full steam ahead and be willing to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is dangerous and powerful. Being vulnerable opens you to attack, but at the same time it gives you credibility and authenticity that is undeniable. In a world of instant satisfaction and doing anything for 15 minutes of fame, I think it only highlights this innate desire to be part of something that is real. The rawness and exposure of vulnerability is when we see authenticity. For me, to share my vulnerability with the world was one of my scariest endeavors.  I read somewhere that you will laugh with anyone, but you only cry among friends. Very few have seen my tears, only those that I trust not to hurt me while I’m wounded. Starting the blog was the beginning of me exposing the heart of me. However, I think in doing so, I have become a better writer and friend to those who’ve always supported my outrageous and seemingly impossible dreams. When you read my blog, you see facets of me that I previously only let few see.  
In pursuing my dreams in the concrete jungle, I am constantly gut checking myself. There is a danger in seeking out safety and stability while dream chasing – the two are incongruent. To chase a dream is to step into the unknown, leaving the safety and security of stability. If Frodo’s journey was easy, we would not pay money to see Lord of the Rings. If becoming a Jedi was simple, who would bother? If anyone could be Neo, no one would care. It’s not the destination, it’s the struggle in the journey that matures strengthens you to become great. Michael Jordan became great because he was told he wasn’t good enough to make the high school team. You can be born with talent, but greatness is learned through trials and tribulations. You only learn to walk after falling on your bottom too many times.  I have no patience for people who complain and have never put themselves out there or people who pontificate about how others should “pull themselves up” but never experienced what it is like to be in a place where they were helpless or hopeless.  However, I respect the person that enters the ring and tries. That in and of itself is an act of courage. These are people that bear battle scars of life.
It is not 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 is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the 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.”
My father used to say, “the only thing that beats a failure is a try, so keep trying. The worse they can say is no and no never hurt anybody.”  Nothing worth having, especially something as fantastical as being an unknown writer getting three books published and one into a Broadway play, happens going the safe and easy route. However, it is much easier when you have a foundation of support. My gut check, please equip me for the journey ahead, knowing when a battle is worth fighting for, and when there is strength in my being still and killing them with kindness. Meekness is not weakness and humility can conquer where an iron hand will never break a determined heart.
I planted seeds for getting my book published at the Pitch Slam. Two agents expressed an interest. One is currently reviewing excerpts from my manuscript. Scary and exciting. That is why you see the increased social media presence and the picture at the top of the blog (all my friends know I don’t want pictures). As an unknown writer, big publishers don’t put much effort in marketing. It is up to the writer to get the word out there. So should the agent take me as a client and my book gets published, I need a readymade platform to market it. That is why I’ve joined Facebook and Twitter, to get the brand out there. However, the trend of tweet every minute and post on Facebook every hour does not jive with me. I’m old school. I prefer handwritten letters and cards. How does someone say anything of substance in 140 characters or less? Because I am a cynic and a skeptic, I could not insult your intelligence by posting for the sake of or merely to get numbers. It isn’t me. My blog expresses where I am at that moment. Life is messy. It’s not all roses and lemonade. Too often it’s manure and sour grapes. You see my ups and downs. I don’t always have something interesting to say. Therefore, I don’t blog or tweet daily. I value your readership and am honored and humbled that you give me a portion of your time. This goes against most social media strategy, but if I have to put on a show to get you in the door, then I am not doing the principal thing right – “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
I want followers that appreciate my humor, irony, cynicism, and vulnerability. I bear myself to you and at times it’s scary because I don’t know how it will be received. You are a wildly diverse bunch (US, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, China), which makes me proud. Maya Angelou said, “when a writer or an artist tries to tell the truth and tries to tell it eloquently, it appeals to all people, regardless of race.”  I strive for a universal voice, a human voice. Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or nationality, there is a tie that binds us all – humanity. The human experience is the same regardless of geography. There is a basic longing for food, shelter, and the betterment of future generations (our children). This basic longing knows no borders or political stripes. I hope that with my blog, in spite of differing opinions, we can still come reason together over the basics of just being human. Share community with me.
A reader contacted me after seeing my feeble attempt on Facebook and generously volunteered to help. A “Rondaisms” Facebook fan page will be arriving soon. In the meantime, I’m on Twitter and learning the language. Send me a tweet @Rondaisms and you can help me learn how to engage in less than 140 characters. This will be interesting. I’m reviewing the situation and maybe I shouldn’t. Oh, I’ll take the plunge in the deep end of social media. Throw me a life preserver please!
Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.