I loved going to the Editorial Board meetings on Thursdays.
The Editor was a savvy, strong woman who knew who she was and offered no excuses. A great role model for me. I observed how she masterfully cut off comments that droned on for too long, changed the subject when necessary, and her overall leadership of the group. I enjoyed the members of the Board, too, how each one of them brought a different perspective to the items of discussion.
We got to meet VIP's, politicians, and other newsmakers. For the most part, I was surprised to find myself unimpressed. One or two politicians stood out here and there, due to their seeming rather genuine, but I thought I would be more wowed by those in the public eye. It was a bit of a let-down. They were ordinary people, just like me. Many of them lost track of their tone when they got overly-passionate about a topic. Some of them talked too much. One very well-known public figure showed up wearing a shirt that looked as if it had been slept in. It being an election year, we were invited to the paper-hosted public forum. This is where I had my eyes opened when it came to how imperfect we all are, with few exceptions. Tempers flared, basic rules were ignored, and the Editor/ Moderator had to quite forcefully demand that a man in the audience sit down and remain silent.
Those on the stand who retained their maturity level made an impact, but they were the minority. I'd always envisioned community leaders as a composed, well-controlled lot. That forum changed my mind.
It occurred to me that everyone, every one of us, is just trying to make our way through life without making too big of a fool of ourselves. Titles, degrees, status, net worth...none of it protected against being painfully human.
If those people could put themselves out there into the public arena in such a way, writing out my innermost thoughts seemed to pale in comparison, guts-wise. People watched those VIP's every move, every word, every deed. As a writer, I had the delicious advantage of delay and physical separation. I could think about what I was going to express, and even after writing it out I could edit to my heart's content. Writing was mild, stacked against the spectacle that many people made of themselves. The thought gave me an additional spark of courage.
I continued to blog daily, which increased reader's comments and my ratings. One morning I switched on my computer screen, going directly to the blog out of long-practiced habit to check the numbers. On this particular morning, I had trouble believing my eyes.
I called softly to my daughter, who was just waking up in the bed several feet away. She groggily peered at the screen when I asked her to tell me what she saw. My eyes were too tear-filled to be sure.
"Is that an eleven?" I asked her in disbelief, half-expecting to her answer in the affirmative.
"No, Mommy," my teenaged daughter said affectionately, then softly said, "It's a number one."
On that particular blogsite, my essay blog was the top international blog in its category.
I put my head into my hands and cried as my daughter rubbed my back and said, "Way to go, Momma."