So today is the official start of my two weeks vacation. It is a much needed break and I am grateful for the respite from the day job. I spent most of my first morning lounging in a hammock in the backyard, taking advantage of the uncommonly cool weather (July mornings in Texas that aren’t hotter than hell are hard to come by. One must wallow in them when the opportunity arises.) If I let myself, I’d probably camp out in that hammock for the next two weeks, living off dark chocolate and potato chips and never putting on real clothes or seeing any actual people. Sounds glorious, right?
On the contrary, it’s kind of a problem…In fact, it’s quite perilous to my very life! I’m being a little overdramatic, you say? Let me explain….
You see, last year’s vacation consisted of me, my couch, yoga pants and endless hours of Netflix. A couple of friends quite literally had to drag me out of my home and into the sunshine just to make sure I was still alive. I’m pretty sure I even hissed at them, like a vampire might after being drug into the daylight. As long as an internet connection and an endless supply of wine, dark chocolate and potato chips were available, I probably could have stayed in my apartment forever. It’s really quite sad, but it’s the honest truth.
I’ve been a hopeless introvert most of my life, existing frustratingly in shadows and living life from the sidelines as a supporting role. It’s easier to watch other’s adventures and misadventures play out rather than have to actually interact myself… Right? Not so much…
Though I think there is some element of shyness innate to my nature, I don’t think I’m really meant to be an introvert. Despite my hermit-like tendencies, I do need and love being around people and crave my own adventures. I’m just kind of afraid of them. My being an introvert is completely self-inflicted….out of a fear I keep letting win.
I vaguely remember being fearless as a small child. I can’t tell you how many times my parents had to take me to the emergency room due to the fact I thought I was invincible and needed to rescue this or that poor creature. My child self kind of thought she was a super-hero…a little too literally. I have the scars to prove it. Somewhere around the age of seven though, my world got very real and very uncertain….almost overnight. My mother was diagnosed with an especially cruel disease and a bloody war zone became our daily reality. Somewhere in the middle of learning how to survive, that fearless little red-haired super hero got lost in the shadows.
The battle of my childhood and early adulthood is now a ghost, but the habit of hiding in shadows is the thing that haunts me.
I started this blog as a chronicle of my journey towards being brave. One of the hardest things in the world for me to do, the thing that takes every ounce of my courage, is telling my own story. To tell my story means being seen and that terrifies me. It’s much easier to stay on my couch in my stretchy pants, hidden away in a dark apartment, where no one expects much out of me, than to risk being seen or heard…to risk giving pieces of myself away. But that’s not the life I want. I’ve never really wanted that life. You can’t exactly be a superhero from the safety of your couch…
Swinging away in the hammock this morning, today’s scribble came to me as I reached down and swatted away a mosquito trying to make my arm his breakfast. A trickle of sunlight hit my arm and lit up four words inked into my skin. I had these four words inked into my left arm a few months ago in memory of that fearless little red-haired superhero. Somewhere along my journey someone told that little girl she mattered and was made for something more…and she never forgot. In the spirit of that fearless little superhero I had the words placed in a spot I would see them everyday, so on days when I’d rather stay hidden, I’d remember instead how important it is to be brave. Sure, it’s easier to hide, but that just allows the Fear to keep winning. And no one, if they’re honest, really wants that.
We all have a part to play in this thing we call life. In the deepest parts of us, we all have something to say, something to give, something to do…things that are worth the risk, that could save a life, encourage thousands, or simply make those around us smile. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made…
Each of us has the potential to do something life-altering and awe-inspiring. Each of us has the potential to leave our mark on the world around us. And each of us has the potential to tell an important and beautiful story, whether its told to a few or to many….if only we have the courage to come out of hiding….
So here’s to the next two weeks…though stretchy pants and hammocks are awfully tempting, I’m hoping to have a better story to tell at the end. Here’s to being brave, staring fear in the face, and coming out of hiding!
The silence falls in folds around my chair, familiar layers shrouding my spirit from other’s curious eyes.
Words…thoughts…love given and received…die unused in shadows.
Such a terrible waste.
I have always feared the daylight…
But now, I fear the darkness more.