I’ve never been particularly brave. Not really.
My brother (a 4-time military veteran) is brave. My mom (a single mother of two and retired police detective) is brave. But for most of my life—in my family and in my head—I have not been the brave one.
Sure, I have done some things that might be considered gutsy—I have moved away from home a few times and left a well-paying full-time job to start a freelance writing career.
But those things didn’t scare me; they challenged and stretched me, but I wasn’t afraid of them. They didn’t require me to act boldly and consistently in the face of my fears. Not really.
Being myself—my full, authentic, true self in front of everybody else—that has always scared me.
I didn't always realize it, of course. It wasn't until my 30th birthday actually, when I woke up with exactly the life I thought I wanted and realized it didn't belong to me, it wasn't actually what I wanted. That was when I realized how deeply disconnected I felt from myself.
Granted, my life—myself—wasn't all some false persona. There were many public-facing parts of me then (and now) that are true:
I never forget a loved one's birthday.
I refuse to start the day without coffee.
I relish any opportunity to learn new things.
I love to read more than I love to do most anything else.
These things are true, and they've always been true, but sharing them, being them has not been brave; they fit very neatly into the narrative I thought I wanted for my life: I am smart, I am thoughtful, I am capable, I am perfect.
I have it all together. Don't worry about me.
Anyway, those truths ("I'm a book nerd!") don’t really push me. They never scared me. They do not unveil the parts of me I have spent three decades trying to keep hidden. So no, I haven't ever been brave. Not really.
At the same time, I don’t believe that you have to go to war to be brave. There are a lot of small (seemingly insignificant) ways that you can show up every day that require everything of you—they require fearlessness and transparency and endurance.
I have known the ways that I could be brave—the ways that I could be honest with myself and the people around me about who I am, who I want to be . . . and then lived into that fully. Engaged fully. Shown up fully. AS MYSELF.
There is so much of myself that I have been afraid to embody, and to show to the world. And let’s be real, I am still afraid.
I just refuse to live in fear of myself any longer.
And showing up that way? As all of me? That is really fucking brave, too.
This blog is the manifestation of a seed that has lived in my mind—and incessantly (annoyingly) in my heart—for years. And it is my personal call-to-action.
This blog is about being brave enough to be myself, through intentional practice in ways big and small; not so someone else can consider me brave, but so I can know it and believe it and live it for myself.
I know it won’t happen all at once. But worse is to worry that it may never happen. So in the meantime, I will practice. I will take baby steps—and share them here; steps toward substance and honesty and a full embodiment of all of the woman that I am.
On this blog and in my life, my only hope is that I will somehow show up every day being brave enough to be myself.