Lately I’ve found myself drawn to the stories of others who have lived their lives with courage and authenticity. Those who have dared to live out loud and speak their truths or challenge notions or reach heights and do things that most of us would be too afraid to do.
I’ve never thought of myself as brave. I’ve never been a trailblazer or a risk taker. I’ve never quite had the confidence to draw that much attention to myself.
As a kid I somehow picked up the story that I wasn’t good enough and that’s a tragic little plot line that tends to end a good tale long before it even begins.
I don’t want to draw the wrong picture though. I didn’t suffer a bad childhood. I come from loving parents who have both always done everything in their power to support me. This wasn’t a line that they told me. If it came from them at all it was something they transferred to me unconsciously. Perhaps it’s a story that they were told, or that their parents were told.
Perhaps I got it up from other kids, or from a teacher somewhere along the line.
Who knows how these things get started or how many generations they get handed down. I do know though that I don’t want it to be my legacy and I don’t want to pass it on to my children.
It doesn’t matter where I picked this story up; I’m not looking for blame. Tracing the origins is a game I play merely out of curiosity. What matters is that I believed it. I bought it and breathed it and lived it.
I can’t recall a specific event more than another. But I do recall a pervasive feeling, throughout my entire childhood, that I wasn’t as smart as other kids, or as good at sports (or anything else), or as talented, or as funny. I always had this sense that everyone else knew something that I didn’t or that they understood something that I didn’t understand.
It’s only as an adult that I’ve started to realize how misguided those perceptions were. I look back over my life and can see all the times that I got in my own way by not believing in myself and selling myself short. Decades of opportunities cast aside in doubt and fear.
The great part about a story though is that it can be rewritten. We can end them. We can begin again and start fresh on a blank page. I refuse to end mine with I could have, should have or would have… I want to look back and say, “I did.” As long as I have pages left in my book I am determined to fill them with new stories about opportunities seized, connections made, and moments lived to their fullest.
I want to be brave and I want to inspire courage in my children. I want them to take risks, to have crazy wild dreams that they chase because no one ever told them that they couldn’t do it. I want them to grow up believing a story about how they could be whatever they want to be. I want them to always know that they are good enough.
From this day forward I want to dare to dream, and then go make it happen.
“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live, maybe one of these days you can let the light in…show me how big your brave is” ~Sara Bareilles