To be brave

So, I didn’t want to be brave on Tuesday.

Even though we were only 1 school night down, by Tuesday – I’d had enough of the week. Recently, I’d dared myself not only to name, but to believe my deepest dreams. I’d been challenging myself to stand up strong and ride my life with abandon and abundance. It meant taking a few risks while daring to reach deep for the richest taste of this journey. Letting the unknown ride lead to wherever it would take me – even though I knew I’d grab a few bruises along the way. If only I could trust where I was going. If only I could believe that it would be safe. Because I can’t really see what it is that my thrill-seeking ride is moving me towards.

For me, it’s easier to see where I’m riding from.

But on Tuesday morning, I woke up already tired. I kinda wanted a break from my recent bravado. I needed a rest from being strong. To step back from the risk of the ride. Yet it was on Tuesday that I was asked continually – again and again and again – to step up and to step out. Even though last Tuesday;

it was a struggle just to get out of bed.

On Tuesday morning in a local hardware store, three women told me to be brave. I was told that I was strong enough to put a wooden clothes horse together armed with only a flat pack instruction box and a rusted Phillip’s head. I had tried to pay for the already assembled model they had on the shop floor. To this, these three women wearing matching fleece vests looked at me sideways. As if I was denying our collective sisterhood strength by coping out and admitting I don’t do tools. They assured me that if Chip, Chad, or Chase – (or whoever their gen Y lad on the store floor was )- could put the thing together in 10 minutes, I was smart enough, bold enough and brave enough to have it assembled in less than 5.

It took me 90 minutes and an angry right palm blister to get that stupid wooden horse to hang our wet clothes. And as this piece of masterminded domestication unfolded itself into all it’s full-load-hanging capacity, I stepped back and waited for the flood of dopamine to kick in. At task completion, this pleasure centre neurotransmitter was supposed to flood my brain and tell me what a great job I had done in mastering screw skills. To remind me of how brave I’d been in stepping up to the flat-box challenge. But I was left just feeling more jaded with the ride and a little betrayed by the sister-hood. In faking my bravado, I felt I’d faked myself. I was so pissed off at myself so much that my blister popped.

I wanted to shove the rusted Phillip’s head up the collective sisterhood’s bare arse.

The call to arms continued throughout my day. The local school asked me not to worry, but that my middle red couldn’t open her eye. My local builder asked me not to worry, but the twelve thousand dollars worth of fireplaces wouldn’t work. And it was this Tuesday that I had so wanted to take another heart-step. To pull my Self out of myself and to follow a gnawing dream. But with so much life administration to attend to, it seemed I didn’t have time to be a daredevil. I didn’t have what it takes to balance the juggle. And with each time that I was asked to step up and be brave, it got harder and harder to find my sword.

Especially when I could feel myself shrinking back behind my shield.

It was later on Tuesday, at the very public pool, where amongst the safety net of the anonymity of white noise, I had a little cry. Not so much because of the broken fireplaces. Or my broken middle red. Or even the broken, bleeding blister on my right hand. I cried because I didn’t want people to tell me to be brave anymore. I cried because I didn’t want people to tell me to be strong. I cried because I felt broken. And from within me, a quiet voice that I have – the one that seems to creep in when I drop my guard – was telling me not to believe in me anymore. And as I listened more to what was within, this small shadow grew bolder. Using the bravery I was letting go of to feed it and telling me that I didn’t have what it takes to be a dare devil. It said I wasn’t smart enough to create something from my dreams. It told me that everyone was going to see through me and call my bluff. That I should head back into my comfort zone and nestle into the safety stagnation via my back-up plan.

My shadow told me to let go of the dreams I had dared to name.
Because to build them to be real just seemed to be too bloody hard.

Think seated twists, standing backbends and yin forward folds.

It takes a great deal of faith and a whole lot of courage to live your truest life. To put you deepest heart out into the open and to let go yourself be guided by what your path brings. Living large means there are times where you will feel suspended in your vulnerability. Where you are fully exposed as to who you really are and what you’re all about. Living large means living raw. It means sometimes you will bruise and sometimes you will bleed.

And it means sometimes the bravest thing you do for that day is get out of bed.

I wanted someone to hold me on Tuesday. To take the risk reins of my life for the day and have the ride. I wanted someone else to steer the journey for a bit. I was tired and I was confused. All my bruises seemed to be bleeding. And my own blood made me scared. I didn’t need the be-a-strong-independent-woman talk. Or the follow-your-deepest-heart talk. I didn’t need the new-age-enlightened-herbal-supplement-back-bend talk. I needed to accept the reality of contrasts between the dawns and the twilights of my journey. I needed to stop seeing life as a grand adventure. I needed to be held while I was broken a little so as to have a safe space to let the true light re-enter. To be reminded that work done with patience and kindness is as strong as work done with bravado and strength. I needed to know that part of believing in yourself means doing so when you don’t feel very brave or very strong at all. And it means knowing where to go when you need a reminder of what it is to be you. To never lie to yourself.
And be brave enough to cry when you have to.

I woke up before the dawn on Wednesday – still feeling raw but somehow open to a new day. My outer landscape was still the same. Drying clothes on the wooden clothes horse. A tegaderm dressing across the palm of my hand. My middle red softly sleeping and a lot of money worth of useless fireplaces still sitting in their boxes on the slab. I sat by myself and within myself. Watching my long shadow silently – until the volume of her voice began to recede. She reminded me that sometimes to grow, we must bleed. That sometimes to fear, we must surrender. And that sometimes to be brave we must be still.

While you let someone sitting next to you at the public pool hold your hand.

I don't want to be strong today.
I don’t want to be strong today.

x

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