Who I Am {On Being Brave}

The wind blows and I squint my eyes against the swirling red Oklahoma dirt. Hold my hat to keep it from blowing off my head. Without thinking I start humming the tune to “Oklahoma”, you know the one. Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain? These last few weeks have felt like constant wind. Something always blowing me backward, a bit of dust always in my eyes. Just a little uncomfortable.

That’s because decisions are being made. My decisions. Choices about who I want to be in this life, things I want to do, how I want to be remembered. Choices that mean taking care of myself, nurturing my gifts, and being brave. Decisions make me nervous.

This is all new to me. For over 10 years I’ve been a wife and a mom and that’s all. At least those roles have been my main ones. And even before the husband and the kids came along, I never put much stock in my dreams, in myself really. I did enough to get by, never really excelling in anything. It’s hard to write those words out, but it’s true. I was afraid to stand out in any way that was different.

If you’d asked me in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve given you the stock answer: Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Veterinarian. None of those things were me, though. While all noble professions and each with their own challenge, none of them made my heart skip a beat or gave me a rush of excitement when I thought about them. But that’s what everyone else was saying, so I went along with it. Those were cool, smart things. Things that, in our high school minds, would make us rich. Those were the things that mattered.

Then college came. Ha! College. I only finished 2 years because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be. I jumped from major to major without serious consideration (thought I think I had it right the first time: English). In the middle of my second year I got married and had a baby. Being a mom is something I always dreamed about, so staying home with my son was a no-brainer for me. I regret exactly zero of those decisions, but I do wish I had gotten to know myself back in high school. I wish I had realized the power words had over me, the beauty I found in them, the emotions they stirred up. I wish I had understood then what I would need now.

I long to look back now, as a 31 year old woman, and laugh, shaking my head over my silly thoughts and behavior. I can’t, though, because here I sit, a 31 year old woman, stuck in my childish ways and still afraid of who she is. 

I’ve been afraid that my offerings won’t be good enough in this great big world filled with amazingly talented people. I’ve been afraid that I’ll labor and toil over these simple words and there will be no one to read it. I’ve been scared that I’ll put my true self out there and it won’t be wanted.

These last few weeks, though, I’ve decided. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter who reads these words, because this is when I feel alive: when the words dance from my brain through my fingertips and onto the page. And what is the point of life if we don’t feel alive? I’ve decided to be brave and write the words and spill my heart in hopes that someone else feels the same way.

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While these last few weeks have felt uncomfortable and risky, they’ve been so amazing. I want to encourage you to do the same thing. What are you good at? What makes you come alive and tingle with excitement? Is there something you struggle to do, but that gives you joy and satisfaction?

It doesn’t matter if you’re not the most talented or gifted. It so does. not. matter. Each and every one of us has been given gifts for a purpose and a reason. The world needs each and every one of us to play our own notes in our own ways.

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So this is me, stepping out, being honest and brave and true to myself, stepping off the wide and easy road of what-everyone-else-is-doing and, for once, searching for a narrow road I can call my own. Care to join me?

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25 thoughts on “Who I Am {On Being Brave}

  1. This was beautifully written. I think we’ve all been there at one time or another, in some capacity. For a long time I bought into the idea that I had to be something before I could really get out there and live. I’m lucky to not have student loans, but I haven’t done the things I actually dreamed of doing because education and career took a higher place than anything else did.

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  2. Such a beautiful post. I found myself in your words, down to every sentiment from the hiding to the bravery. Seriously–I thought, “she’s writing my heart!” Thank you for this.

    You go for it–play your note. This is good, strong stuff.

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  3. This is so beautiful, and I’m beginning to feel the same way. I just celebrated my 30th birthday and I’m feeling more and more like following my passion is what’s best for me. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t even matter if I’m scared, as long as I do it. I’m glad you made the decision that’s right for you 🙂

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  4. I first thought this was you Harmony.
    To start with, Sarah, I have to say this is lovely
    And then that it spoke my heart as well. As a 77 year old woman, it reminded me, that I never as a young woman dared step out on to that road you talked about.
    Just in the last few years have I been brave enough to even acknowledge my talents and passions.
    My education was limited, my self esteem none existent. Yet I always knew there was something to say of worth inside me.
    Thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful daughter, I’ve of late begin to speak my thoughts. Not in a blog, but occasionally someone will ask me to speak a few words, and even knowing my grammar
    is poor and I get all nervous and forget details, I am true to myself.
    I’m happy for you young women who find your voice at an early age.
    I love reading your words about your lives that so clearly come from your hearts.

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  5. First, thanks so much for participating in my Motivation Monday link up. I LOVED this post. Often times we are afraid to follow our dreams and think we aren’t good enough or compare ourselves to others, but as long as you are true to yourself and honest with people, they will respect that. Far too often people just do the things they need to get by without doing the things in life that really bring them joy, especially in regards to work. I feel that if you are going to spend at least 8 hours of the day doing something, it should be something that you enjoy. So major kudos to you for stepping out and finding something that really makes you feel fulfulled

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  6. Oh my gosh, I love LOVE this post! I was headed to college as an English major when I decided to go through beauty school and work my way through school. 18 years, 1 kid and 1 1/2 marriages later, I am slowly working my way out of the salon and into a writing career. The uncertainty is daunting, but getting up every morning excited for the day is something I have waited 18 years for.

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  7. Every time I sit down to write and share my story I feel like I am making progress toward sharing my story and growing more. I love the community that blogging brings as well. Write on, share and do. Can’t wait to read more from you in the future.

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  8. I am right there with you! I have been asking these BIG questions and choosing brave a lot over the last couple of years. The answers have looked so different then I thought it would – but it’s been good.

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