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  • Writer's pictureBethany Lynne

a word of intent

I’m a purposeful sort of person, so I pick a word of intent at the start of each new year. I deliberated at length, back in January 2021, and though embarrassed by the word I chose, couldn’t find a better option to encompass all that I hoped for the year to follow.

My word for 2021? Soar.

It made me want to vomit a little in my mouth. All I could picture, was cliché freshmen dormitory décor. But at the start of 2021, I was three arduous years deep, hustling after distant dreams, and swimming upstream towards uncertainty. Three years of climbing towards the industry, surely meant I'd come far enough to leap off the mountain top and fly, right?

This year felt like anything but flying.

Restrictions in my career field continued. Covid-19, variant spikes, cancelations and fear ruled nearly every stage production I acted in or directed.

I left the comfort of my single apartment due to financial strain. I resided in a space over the summer, stripped of every comfort of home, and gaslit when expressing basic human need.

I found myself as the object of a community’s gossip. My circle of trust shrunk drastically, as I learned of previous friends who actively engaged in my slander over the past two years.

After swearing off relationships, I was convinced to give another a try. It was a short airplane ride to the end of the runway, before it was clear one of us was not prepared to take off.

I gave into workaholic tendencies, leading to the consequences of severe burnout.

None of these things felt like the flight of freedom I attempted to manifest at the start of the year.

However, my word of intent actually did reach fruition, just... in an unexpected way.

Soaring can mean “to rise or ascend.” 2021 wasn’t an easy glide of air-born ease. Instead, it was a tethered hot air balloon: fully inflated, me in the basket, ready to rise, but in order to do so, there had to be a process of untethering.

I was untethered from fear and uncertainty in my career field, by continuing to go. after. it.

  • I had my first starring role in a musical as Cathy in the The Last Five Years.

  • I directed and streamed my original play, The Flight of Katherine Fletcher, at Zeiders American Dream Theater, with a 20-person cast and crew, safely, in the midst of a global pandemic.

  • My 10-minute play Mom Jeans, was featured in a local playwright festival.

  • My second full length play Castlewood, was workshopped at a local university.

  • I added fifteen film acting credits, two stage credits, two film crew credits, and two voice over credits to my resume.

  • I directed three stage productions.

  • I completed three additional semesters of grad school.

  • I completed my third full length play, Sober Poptarts.

  • I wrote my first screenplay, The Space We Fill, to be filmed in 2022.

  • For the first time in my life, I solely worked in my career field as a director, actor and writer.

I was untethered from the fear of voicing my needs.

  • I repeatedly set and maintained boundaries across work, career, friendships and family.

  • I confronted people who slandered my name.

  • I learned to accept help, gifts, and acts of kindness, without feeling an obligation to reciprocate.

I was untethered from relational expectations.

  • My beliefs were reformed and deepened on gender roles and equality.

  • I’ve grown into my gifts as a leader and a woman, and I'm learning to use them unapologetically.

  • I let go of the belief that the right partner will heal all past relational wounds, and instinctively know how best to love or meet my needs.

I was untethered from self-inflicted expectation.

  • I let go of the desire for everyone to like me.

  • I let go of people who I’d once considered friends.

  • I let go of artistic opportunity that didn’t adequately afford me the support or healthy work environment I desire to operate within.

  • I let go the desire to control my life and the people in it.

  • I let go of others definition of success, and embraced my own.

  • I stopped holding my tongue for fear of being misunderstood.

  • I continued to be my best and most reliable advocate.

  • I accepted that the process of untethering is life long, and that I've made incredible progress.

I have indeed, initiated my ascent, though it took a full year to do so. I’ve learned that soaring is a lonely process, but ever so freeing. Oddly enough, I feel more light and more grounded then I’ve ever been.

I’m still mulling over my word of intent for 2022. I'm a bit nervous to settle on one, if I'm honest. But I know there’s only growth on the other side.

Here's to the ride. -B

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1 Comment

Jacquelyn Grace
Jacquelyn Grace
Jan 03, 2022

You are intelligent and brilliant, and I admire you so much. 2020 and 2021 have been challenging, but I’m so grateful I got to make a lot of memories with you. When I look back, I no longer feel the sorrow. I only feel warmth because you were always there. Love you. -Jackie ❤️

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