walking confetti cannon // Becoming Kelly // www.becomingkelly.com

I'M KELLY.

I’m a walking confetti cannon,
loaded and ready to celebrate
every big decision, milestone, paid mortgage, and penny found in a parking lot.

 
 


Here’s What I Know For Certain:

  1. You have stories in you.
  2. There are parts of who you are that you’ve never staked your claim to because you’re scared as hell of what it might take--what you might have to let go of--to become who you are.
  3. I’ve been scared, too, and I’m sure I will be again. Like shame, fear like this can’t survive empathy.
  4. I see you. I think you’re amazing. I want you to see yourself the way I do.

                I can’t wait.

 
 

Who i am

For the past 11 years, I’ve been teaching writing and literature in high schools, colleges, and universities. Teaching and learning are both vulnerable and brave acts of curiosity and self-love, but they’re rarely framed that way. We are all asking to be taught, to be heard, to be understood, to be trusted, and to be allowed and encouraged to grow.

I’ve always known that I’m meant to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve always practiced my craft. During the transition to a new job as a full-time English professor--Yesssss insurance--I overextended myself; I signed up for every committee and volunteered for every conference. I wanted to be immersed in this new environment and learn by serving, but the demands I made of myself and allowed to persist weren’t sustainable.

I was writing: emails, feedback on student essays, meeting notes, lists of More Things To Do, lesson plans, frantic texts, and panicked Post-It reminders.

I was writing for survival.

The survival of the performer (my representative) whose job it was to go into the world and show everyone just how productive--and therefore valuable--we were.

I needed the writing and work of my representative to be accepted more than I needed to speak and hear the truth I wasn’t writing. I needed approval and a place to hide more than happiness.

For Christmas, my husband bought me a pocket-sized red leather journal. The first page was a copy of e.e. Cummings’ poem [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]. I hadn’t had a journal in years. I hadn’t written a single sentence that was my own. I saw the journal, but especially the poem, as a reminder that my heart was mine to carry first. He gave it back to me not because it was too heavy for him to carry, but because it was time for me to remember that it was mine.

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He gave me back to myself, placed me back into my own hands.

Even when I was busy with all of the work of the world, I would remember my journal and the poem--and myself. I started telling myself that heart work comes before hard work.

I started writing stream-of-consciousness journals that turned into a series of personal essays. I kept writing because seeing the truth that had been floating in my mind and heart was like redemption. It was freedom in a dancing pen.

I kept writing for myself, then branched out a little in Instagram captions, then in Facebook posts. I started to show up for myself publicly so that if I ever became Depressed again, someone would notice and come looking.

I wanted that someone to be me.

Writing saved me and brought me back to myself during a long, beautiful, terrifying year. I always knew I was a writer, but the thing about knowing what you’re meant to do is that you have to put that thing into practice. You have to do it. Denying it is denying a piece of who you are, and denying yourself the most incredible joy you’ve ever created your damn self FOR your damn self.

 
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