Happy Heavenly Birthday, Claude. And Happy 1st Anniversary to Me!

Jo Durocher • May 2022 • 2 min read


Today is my dad’s 80th heavenly birthday. It also marks one year since I launched this personal story blog, reaching for my little girl’s dream of one day becoming a freelance writer. 

Claude, as I called him, was an early riser. When I’m up at 5:00 AM most days, like he was, to work on my next story, I place a coffee cup next to mine for him. So I can feel his presence for a bit, in the morning quiet, sitting next to him like I nearly always did before he passed away 25 years ago.

Did I make him proud? I know he’d say yes. Not so long ago, I may not have believed so. Because I didn’t believe in myself yet. Over the last year, this has changed. 

What do we gain from facing our biggest fear? Something I did not expect: empowerment. Not in an arrogant way, rather, in a faith-in-oneself way. For me, a reserved writer who had yet to show her works in over 50 years of life, it was a fear of rejection. I moved through it. Not without any ups and downs: from cold sweats and trembling hands to exhilarating laughs and a peaceful heart, it’s been a ride along a full spectrum of emotions. And I see challenges under a different light now, one that reminds me I can breathe and figure it out. 

The fear isn’t gone: I grew stronger in facing it, publishing monthly personal stories written from the heart and risking a thumbs down twice a week on social media. Leaps and bounds from my former under-the-radar lifestyle.  

Is it worth it? Yes. While writing brings me joy, sharing it with others brings me connection. That need, I now realize, supersedes my fear of rejection. 

Facing it, combined with the cognizance that life is short, has also brought me to a place where I no longer want to compromise myself in seeking acceptance. While I still wish to belong, as maybe we all do, I also long to be. For me, this implies being accepted as I am. I don’t need to belong everywhere, and, perhaps, I first needed to belong within myself. Nevertheless, I’ve reversed the cards: trying to fit in no longer fits in with me.

Now, what will I do with this newfound confidence? How will it serve me and others? Maybe that’s for me to find out on my way to the next anniversary. 

What do you say, Claude? Shall we ride this roller coaster one more time? 

Definitely, I hear. 

See you in the morning, then. And Happy Heavenly Birthday!

Your Average Jo