I am doing my best to live brave. To conquer what it is that holds me back. As I do I find that it in some respects it gets a little easier to step into the brave. And with these bravery steps joy is slipping in. Actual joy. I am liking this.
A couple of Wednesdays ago I put on a pair of roller skates for the first time in probably 25 years. Can I just tell you that roller skating is NOT like riding a bike. Your muscles do not remember what to do to keep your body upright. Age and gravity are also very unhelpful to this staying upright process. In my head I knew what to do, but my body, mind, and the wheels were not working as a cohesive team. I only fell once. I made it around the rink twice. Then I put my shoes back on. Twenty minutes was long enough. I think I may even try again sometime.
A few years I ago I would never have even tried. The fear of failure and embarrassment of falling as well as the fear of physical pain would have kept me on the sidelines.
Later that same night several friends and I went to our local Applebee's for karaoke. Normally I am just a spectator or a group singer, nowhere near the microphone, just standing down there with the group, can't really hear me kind of a group singer. Never would I get up and attempt to sing on my own. Putting a microphone in my hand is means for an instant panic attack. However, that night I went up and sang...
...............ON MY OWN.................
(meaning by myself, not the song "On My Own").
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! Yes, I did! Not just once, but twice!
So, what changed?
My perspective. I quit caring (as much) if I made a fool out of myself.
I also made friends who supported me and lifted me up. I had a cheering section. They didn't care if I fell, or went flat. They cared about me and they made me feel like I could do it and even if I couldn't they would still be there. I surrounded myself with support.
Now, it isn't that I have never had people in my life who would do that before, I know that if I had let people in, that they would have been there for me. I never gave anyone the chance to be the support I needed. I had to learn how to let them in before I could open up. I also needed to learn that I am okay. Just the way I am. I don't have to measure up to some imaginary bar in my head. Who I am is good enough. That is huge. Learning that didn't happen over night. It has been a process of small little steps to get here. I am still learning it. Walking it out daily. Also I learned that if someone wasn't there for me when I needed them to be that it wasn't a reflection on me. That is where they were.
Another thing I have learned is that when I open myself up it is giving permission for the other person to open up as well and that is when JOY comes in.
Live brave friends, one step and one day at a time. You are enough. Just where you are and who you are. Take chances. Get messy. Fall on your butt. Sing off key. Take that next step. Find your cheering section. Be someone else's cheering section.
It took 40 years for me to get here, but here I am and I am loving it!