• Jill O. Patrick

Showing Up

Last year in February 2018, I had hoped to attend the 19th Annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference in New York City. When the date of registration came and went, I knew shorty thereafter, in February 2019, I would show up for the 20th Annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York, February 8-11, 2019.

I knew and understood that I needed to do something different. Something that would not block my showing up for this one-of-a-kind event. I had to be intentional about the process and not simply leave it up to fate to magically work things out. When the registration date became available on October 23, 2018 for the 2019 event, I signed up immediately.

There have been many other occasions when I wanted to show up for an event, and I could not nor did not. There have also been other times when I had not necessarily wanted to show up for an event and I did.

Showing up not only in New York, but other places as well, I'm learning is not simply about going some place. Showing up is becoming to me, a sort of calling, a realization of the purpose of my physical presence at a particular time and at a certain place.

Traveling to New York City alone would be an experience I was grateful to have had. I felt pride in my ability to arrange and prepare for the journey that would lie ahead.

New York City has a way of making me feel like a child who has traveled too far away from home. I've been there just a few times, and it still feels so far away, almost imaginary like the fictional place Wakanda from the Black Panther movie.

Along the shaky railroad ride to New York, I felt accompanied by the strangers I met and the employees on board. I took in the various views and took photographs as I travel from one part of the east coast to the other as I sipped on coffee and read pages from my new book.

As I sat freezing on my way to New York City bundled up and covering my head with my blanket, and overheated upon my return back home, complaining with nearby neighbors on the discomfort of the temperature, I knew and understood this entire experience would aide me in realizing the magnitude of simply "showing up." A term I've began using and hearing more in conversations I'm having with others.

Each time the phrase "showing up" comes up in a conversation, I feel a sense of pride, determination and independence when I reflect on things I could only experience in person by attending.

During my visit to New York, while having lunch at The New York Central at the Hyatt Grand Central, I met people and enjoyed the view as I celebrated my own accomplishment. I looked outside with pride as people walked by, cabs crawled past and vendors sold hot dogs and other foods, in the cold New York air right before my eyes.

I enjoyed the view so much that I found myself dining in the same area on more than one occasion. My food delicious, my self-esteem and my view at an all-time high.

As books can often take us to imaginary places, so does our ability to show up. I believe that if I continue to show up, that I will continue to enjoy many of the many things life has to offer, including having opportunities to sign my children's book, Chevy, The Perfect Pet, for a new friend.

I'm so grateful that I was able to show up and maybe even stand tall like a pineapple or sculpture, lol!

Continue to take good care of yourself.

With love,