It took me a while to figure out what not-so-private-part of me I wanted to share. Truthfully, because I’m in a new space in my journey where I’m rediscovering myself. I would jot down notes - take a break. Entertain the thought again, and then busy myself with the kids. The thought of sharing something intimate made my chest tight and my breath heavy. But I knew this was exactly why (and what) I needed to share.
I’m a non-confrontational person by nature. Occasionally, passive aggressive even…sometimes to a fault. I'm not one for drama. Notoriously known for being the “peacemaker”, I feel much more comfortable being a force behind the scenes; a worker bee rather than in the lime light. In fact, i’ve never been comfortable with being the center of attention, and I really hadn't become conscious of this until adulthood.
I didn’t grow up in a home that fostered fear. My parents were incredibly encouraging and supportive. They always told me I could do whatever I put my mind to. They put me in practically every activity I expressed interest in - piano, art, tennis, ballet, etc. - but I didn’t stick with many of them. As I grew older, I reasoned that my list of experiences made me eclectic and cultured. And while I'm sure those were contributing benefits, in many ways I was being non confrontational within my very own being. I hated feeling uncomfortable. I feared the eyes of the crowd watching my every moved. I feared being a failure. So if it didn’t come naturally to me, or if it required being but on display, I shied away from it. I enjoyed taking piano lessons, but when the subject of recitals came up, I peaced out. I loved playing tennis and thought how cool playing at Wimbledon might be, but that meant you had to show up for matches right? Thankfully, most things did come fairly easily, but I developed a somewhat false sense of bravery.
I used to think I was outgoing. And while thats not totally untrue, I took to rationalizing things to justify fears. In college I initially intended on studying fashion design, but thought the fashion industry may be volatile (truth moment :: I watched the devil wears Prada and it scared the living daylights out of me. I was not cut out for all that cut throat tom-foolery) and majored in marketing instead. When I reflected back on instances like this that sprinkle my past, I knew it was something that needed to be addressed. ASAP
I wanted to be brave and not just the pseudo courage I’d project in situations I could predict the outcome. But the kind of bravery that holds when conditions are uncomfortable. Brave when I have absolutely no power over the end result. Brave when my best may not beat out someone else’s, but I still come out of the process knowing I'm enough and that my efforts were valiant. Now that I’ve become a mother, I didn't want my children to see that in me. Although they must create their own path, I want them to know they are capable of anything and for them to have very best model of courage in front of them. I needed my legacy to be one of perseverance; for myself, for my children, and anyone else watching.
Well, be careful what you ask for because 2015 was a tumultuous year and my opportunities for an acts of valor came knocking. One of my biggest test, was going through divorce. Life as I knew it with my love and companion for nearly a decade was coming to an end. All those familiar feelings came rushing back. This wasn’t at all what I wanted for my life and after trying several different remedies, it was truly the last option. But I could already feel the judging eyes, and hear the whisper of prying questions. I didn't want people to think I didn't try. I didn't want to be seen as a failure. But a divorce isn’t a matter of failure. It’s an act of bravery. It was an opportunity to courageously let each other go; Not because it was the easy thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. I wanted our children to see love in the healthiest way possible, even if that meant being apart. Moreover, I knew in that moment and the subsequent moments to follow, there was no turning away. This time I chose to face my fears.
Each day in our lives offers opportunities for acts of bravery, big and small. Don't shy away from your path. While the outcomes are uncertain, courage is the gateway to healing and new beginnings. Once I made that choice to press through, I started living more beautifully and purposefully than I ever had when I let fear hold me back. If you're not willing to challenge yourself, you're not living. Your complying with life. You must address the obstacles ahead, follow your heart, and stay the course. That is the true test of courage.