Project 52


All year, I fantasized about writing this post.

The last post.
I thought about which direction I’d take it, the options being quite endless.
For a while, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to reveal a brand new project, something exciting. Alas, no project has been underway that is ready for reveal this week.
It took until this week, the actual completion of the 52 posts, to realize exactly what I want to say.
In honor of the last 52 posts, I’d like to take a few steps back, back to the very beginning of this blog.
The truth is, it began as a Tumblr account back when I was in 10th grade.
I came upon the name ThisPublicDiary rather accidentally. I had been wracking my head for an idea, something creative, something that represented me and my words.
I chose HerPublicDiary. That was already taken as a Tumblr username.
I wrote at first anonymously, but then, always a sharer at heart, the identity behind the account was revealed slowly but surely.
In twelfth grade, my brother asked me why I don’t just start a real blog.
Thus – was born.
When I chose the name, I didn’t quite know how accurate the title of my blog would be. But when I read back into my old writing, my newer writing, I’m amazed at how much of a public diary it is.
From those very first posts up until the post last week, I have bared my heart and my soul on this platform, leaving a trail of markable growth behind me.
The last 52 posts have been a journey all of their own.
When I embarked on my year of writing, I was about to step into a classroom as a teacher for the very first time, and I was 100% terrified.
I needed to prove to myself that I could work hard at something I committed to. I had to prove to myself that I could write even when I didn’t feel like it. I had to prove to myself that I could be absolutely and completely vulnerable and let the world take me as I am.
I did it, folks, I did it.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I stepped into a classroom again, for my second year as a teacher, and I felt the strength of my 50 posts behind me, my incredible year of proving myself wrong, and I did it. The nerves were there – change is always scary, but the nerves were completely different. I had proven I could do this. It was a whole different story from the year before.
This past year, so, so much has happened, so many milestones met, milestones that had weighed on me for so long.
I also traveled to Europe for the first time.
I’m also back in school now, having finally focused what exactly I want to do, and finally being ready to do what it takes to get there.
I’m a passionate person, you know this. I have ideas and plans and all kinds of opinions, and at times I’ve feared I’m all talk, and no do.
This year, I discovered I can also be a do-er. It doesn’t always come easily, but I can do it, and knowing that only propels me further into my future.
This past year, I did some really scary things.
I learned that in a million ways, I’d rather wear my heart on my sleeve than keep it locked up.
And that I sincerely hope I can help others trust this world enough to wear it on their sleeves too.
And I still dream of a world that is trustworthy enough for them to do so.
I’ve had some really, really good days.
And some really, really, really bad ones.
I’ve always known life could hurt, but man, have I learned that life hurts.
But on the flip side, man, have I learned about joy, about goodness, about true, raw kindness and connection.
So, what’s next?
What’s next for me, what’s next for ThisPublicDiary?
I don’t know what comes next for me, that’s hardly in my control.
And what comes next for this blog is largely in your hands, dear readers.
For the past year, I’ve selfishly handed you whatever I wanted. There were a couple times that my posts were so bad I found myself really, really close to just deleting it.
The entire year, the whole project was almost entirely selfish – I made a commitment, I wanted to keep it, I needed to keep it, and so I gave.
The weeks you read, my writing had so much purpose.
The weeks you didn’t, less so.
But the year is over.
This past year, I put myself first in a lot of ways.
I needed to. The things I got done, the things I accomplished, they required my full focus and selfishness.
And now…I want this blog to be less about me, and more about you.
Don’t worry – I’ll never stop being ridiculously vulnerable.
But I want to give you better quality content.
I don’t want to write for the sake of writing, not here. I’ll do that on my own personal time.
I want to know what you want to see from me.
It’ll mean probably no weekly posts. I hope to upkeep a certain sense of consistency, but my priority will be quality.
Like I tell my creative writing students – first you have to wring yourself out, get to know the real, raw parts of yourself. Then, you can think about your audience.
This past year, I turned myself inside out, I analyzed the depths of me.
This past year I’ve written short stories, poetry, vignettes and endless ramblings.
What do you like best?
I’m ready to focus on my audience.
At the risk of sounding completely ego-centric (although I hope you know confidently that I don’t mean it that way,) I have a request: If you have ever considered reaching out to me for any reason, please do.
If you liked what I wrote, if you didn’t, if you related, if you found it ludicrous, I want to hear from you. If you wished I wrote more about a certain topic or in a specific style, please tell me. If nothing else, I want this blog to foster human connection, and inspire honesty and vulnerability in all of us.
Here’s to a new year.
Here’s to a year of new connections, new friends and new experiences.
Here’s to a year of quality content, honest writing, and new stories being written.
Here’s to a year of ThisPublicDiary being not only mine, but yours too.
Here’s to a year of maintaining the balance of inward and outward.
 Here’s to a year of ThisPublicDiary: Scene 2.

Blog Post: 52/52!

Featured Photo via Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Getting Out Of My Way

Ambition, hard work, success. All these great, exciting words.

Why is it all so elusive?
Me and big ideas – we work really well in the honeymoon stage. New notebook, new pens, a plan. There is nothing more invigorating for me than the night before I plan to do something. In that moment, emotions are running high, I am so unbelievably motivated and excited.
Then, I wake up in the morning.
Suddenly, there is nothing less inspiring than whatever it is that I need to get done. In the moment that I decide I want to do something, I really truly do want to do it. When it comes to actually doing it, I look at the path I have to take to get there, and it’s riddled with pot holes. It is covered in anxiety and situations in which I will have to leap out of my comfort zone. It is filled with things I have no idea how to do.
That is when I lose my resolve.
It’s not that I want the end result any less, but the time, patience, and good old hard work it will take to get there makes it all seem much less glamorous.
In school, I was the master of getting away with things. I worked to make things easier for myself then, not realizing how much harder things would be later without the skill of working hard.
You know in the movies, when time is passing, years maybe, and the character is killing it? Working long hours to get the promotion, isolating themselves so that they can ace the test, etc. Movie-makers always put those scenes into a fast-paced montage, speeding through a lifetime of hard, hard work.
I always love those scenes. They’re so satisfying. They’re so fast.
Movies can not make rags-to-riches stories without these scenes because it is impossible for riches to come from rags without hard work.
Yet, they must make these scenes fast-paced and exciting – because hard work is ugly. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody wants to think about it.
I am privileged. I have everything I need. I have enough basic skills for me to hold down a job. I don’t suffer from any major physical or mental difficulties, thank G-d. I have a loving and supportive family. I have people who believe in me, people who love me, people who look out for me.
Yet, hard work is my biggest challenge. Persevering and pushing through, even when I am handed all the tools, is my biggest road block in achieving my goals.
Then there are those who have nothing that I have.
They build futures out of the sand, they craft homes out of dust. They keep going, they fight through the searing pain, the hot tears, and continuous crash of everything collapsing again and again. They stand back up and keep on going. 
I dream about being those people. The people who know that the end result is worth the mind-numbing tasks it takes to get there. The people who can continuously remind themselves of their goal, and how much they want it.
Dreaming is what I’m good at – action is my weakness.
Somehow, one of my big ideas became an accidental reality. I’ve always wanted to run some sort of creative writing club, the kind of club that I was lucky to be a part of in High School.
While speaking to a principal that I am thoroughly in awe of, I brought up that idea, and in a moment of bravery, asked if I could teach a creative writing elective in her school.
She said yes, and here I am, the day before my first class.
It is something that scares me like nothing else has ever scared me.
It has made me face myself in so many ways.
As I was working through some of the most important things I wanted to impart with my class, I came upon a big one.
Hard work.
I instantly felt like a total fraud.
I am being careful to teach only what I have been taught, and nothing more. I can only teach what I know deep inside of me.
Hard work just isn’t one of them.
Yet, teaching a creative writing class without explaining to my students the importance of hard work is also an impossibility.
So, I have only one more choice.
Learn how to work hard.
We are now in the month of Elul, approaching the month of Tishrei quickly. It is said that the month of Elul is an opportune time to reflect on the past year, on who you are as a person.
My last year was an interesting one, but without a doubt, I want this one to be even better. I want to be stronger, braver, smarter.
I will start by working on not being afraid of pushing myself.
Of course, I have a million ideas on how to do this, much of will never come to fruition.
But that’s the key – being aware of what I can actually accomplish.
Therefore, I will not promise to finally get into shape, publish a novel, or travel the world. Those are all things that I hope will be a part of my year in some ways, but can not be my one goal.
To prove to myself that I can work hard is something simple:
I will blog once a week. 
I’ve made that promise a million times to myself, but I’ve always broken it.
This is something I know that I can do with hard work and perseverance. I chose this goal for a few reasons:
1. It is exactly what I want to impart to my students: Writing is something that can come out of pure hard work. Waiting for the inspiration is lazy.
2. It is something I’ve wanted to prove to myself that I can do for years.
3. It will push me to write when I have nothing to say. Because when I have nothing external inspiring me to write, that is when I turn inwards and find a part of myself I never knew existed.
While I expect to learn a lot about life and a lot about writing from my students, I am glad to say that even before I’ve met them, they are pushing me to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
Blog post: 1/52

Featured Image: Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash