She is out there for all the world to love and judge.
She has been born for all the world to embrace or reject.
She is shining bright, whether or not she succeeds or bombs.
And, it feels awesome.
For my first book signing I went in with absolutely no expectations, or at least I tried..
No expectations = no disappointment.
And, just like everything else in this incredible journey, He had a lesson for me.
The store manager at Barnes & Noble said that if I sold 10 books it would be considered a very successful signing.
Part of me me thought for sure this was doable. And of course, that perfectionist part of me desperately wanted those 10 sales, better yet 11!
But then there was reality. It was a super nice day in St. Louis that day, which is sometimes hard to find in early Spring. I am a first time author. And, my book is about one of the most shamed and misunderstood topics in our society.
Shit, I'd be lucky if I sold a couple books. And 45 minutes into the signing, I had settled for selling just one.
Panic did try to settle in. But, I fought her off by choosing my perspective. I practiced gratitude.
I am an author. I am an author signing her first book in a real bookstore.
God, I am grateful.
And of course, He quickly started showing exactly why I was there that day for my first book signing.
And, it was not to sell books. For the record, I only sold three or four that day.
I was there to connect with and educate people.
First, was the older woman who stopped by and told me about her grown children who went through infertility. As we chatted, she was adamant that they got kids so they are completely fine and would not need my book. You can bet I took that moment. I pointed out that part of the title is Lifelong because the infertility journey changes us forever, even if you do get the happy, healthy kids out of it.
No sale, but she promised to tell her kids about the book.
Next, there was the woman who looked at me with the fellow warrior compassion and said, "I had to go through infertility too and it didn't work for me either." She then told me about her two amazing daughters she adopted from China. We talked about the childfull life and the scars that the infertility journey leaves us with.
No sale, but we connected as mothers, her as a mother to her adopted girls and me as a childfull mother.
Perfectionistic panic set in, if I couldn't get these two women to buy my book, then I did not stand a chance of making one sale today.
And then, He gifted me the moment that the entire day was for.
A mother and her three kids were lingering by the table, I smiled and said, "Hi!"
The mother then pushed the younger daughter forward and said, "She would really just like to meet a real-life author."
My heart soared and I smiled hugely, "I guess that is me, I am a real-life author now."
"How do you exactly write a book?" she asked excitedly.
As I am telling her my book writing process her mom picks up Ever Upward, she lights up, "They're IVF babies!" as she places her hands on the tops of the girl's and her twin brother's heads.
She goes on to explain that they both know how hard mom and dad had to fight to get them and how they are products of infertility treatments. And then her eyes fill with tears as she realizes that infertility did not work for me. I tell her that Ever Upward is about my journey, defining my own happy ending and how I live a childfull life.
And, that I am OK.
The conversation continued with much excitement. I gave the little girl an Ever Upward journal, "For free!?!", she exclaimed and asked me to sign it.
I made her promise that she would write in it every day for at least 30 minutes because this helps our creative writing muscle grow. Her mom then explained that she would be homeschooling next year and she looked at her daughter and said, "Maybe she will be your English pen pal? Why don't you ask her?"
I of course said yes. As they walked away, I took that all familiar deep knowing breath and felt my soul settle, tears came to my eyes and I got it.
No sale, but an amazing moment of childfull living.
That is ever upward.
I have always known Ever Upward was not about the royalty pay outs or the fame. But, society (and my own perfectionism) can really challenge this truth at times. I am thankful that through practicing my daily work in recovery, I was open enough to accept the gift of what my book signing was really meant to be for and mean; connection and education.
Doing this work allows me to be open to what He has in store for me, the true gifts. It is only through this lifelong work that I allow it to be good.
Better than good; ever upward.