Wow... When I first heard about this project, I have to tell you that I was petrified but ON FIRE. A chance to be brave, put it all out there, tackle Fear, embrace Challenge, encourage and be encouraged by a group of empowered, strong, with-it women? Heck yeah, I thought, I’m in! Then, Fear and reality came crashing in on me. I just agreed to PUT THE TRUTH OUT THERE! MY truth! Oh, SNAP! WHAT HAVE I DONE? Gasp, gasp, can’t…. catch…. my…. breath……
Without going into all the gory details, I've spent the better part of the last three years exploring who I've become and why that's who I am. I have to admit that what I discovered about myself wasn't pretty, not in the least. How did that happen? How did I get so far from who I thought I’d be, who I wanted to be, who I should be by now? I have no idea. Wait, that's not true. I do know. I just don't like it. I don’t know about you, but I can see pretty clearly, when I allow myself that kind of brutal honesty, those moments of compromise when a little piece of me was handed over for whatever reason, never to be returned to me. Choices were made, changes took place, and little by little I became what I was.
(I’m a fan of compromise, by the way; don’t get me wrong. It’s necessary in this life to be open to it and able to do it. I think what I’ve learned, though, is that there are two kinds of compromise: the healthy kind that feeds a person and the relationship, and the kind that suck the life from one person in order to maintain the relationship. You might be able to guess which kind of compromise I made the most often. The reasons are plentiful and quite pitiful, the excuses even more so. Oh, boy, could I write an essay on this! However, I think it’s best I spare you that mess.)
If you’re like me, though, and you recognize some ugliness in yourself or your situation, you work tirelessly for that ugliness to exist somewhere under the surface, where no one else can recognize it. I became the master of “if it LOOKS okay, it’s got the BE okay.” (Shoulda written that book!) When the ugliness did surface or became too much to hide, I found out that my instincts had me pulling away from people I love and care about. I became a bad friend, daughter, neighbor – all to keep the truth from coming out! OUCH. It went a little like this: "it’s MY ugliness, and I’m not admitting it’s there, at least not to you. And if I don’t admit it to you (and everything looks okay on the outside), maybe it’s really not all that ugly in the first place." Uh huh. I honestly hope you have no idea what I’m talking about!
And so, after spending all this time taking stock of myself and the ugliness, I made some decisions. Some big decisions. Life-changing decisions. The kinds of decisions that mean I can look myself in the eye every morning again, that mean I can feel bold again, that have me tackling the ugliness HEAD ON, that have shown me that I can be who I am supposed to be, that I am finally becoming who I am supposed to be. How awesome and scary is that? It's been scary but I think it’s pretty doggone awesome!!! Part of that awesomeness is that I face challenges and fears quite differently than I did a few years ago. Another part of the awesomeness is that I want different things. I want better for me, for my kids. I want to expand my horizons, try some crazy stuff, explore, learn, be passionate about life again…
Enter Patresa and her big idea that she just HAS to share with everyone. “Let’s be big and brave and scare the heck out of ourselves by doing something we never thought we could do! Yeah, yeah, yeah!” (No offense, P, you rock! Admittedly, I’m immensely grateful to you for this.)
To which I reply, “Preach it, sister. Sounds incredible! Let’s ROLL!”
To which she says, “Okay, here’s how this is going to work…” (Leave it to P to actually put the big master plan into action! Good Lord, I love and admire that woman.)
Next thing I know, I’ve agreed to join the COFFEE chicks, as I affectionately refer these amazing and awe-inspiring ladies I now consort with via this blog and facebook.
And somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear Mom’s voice. “Be careful what you wish for, Steph.” Amen, Mom. Amen.
What I wished for was some concrete way to challenge myself, to better myself, to get crazy and, further, to be somehow accountable in those endeavors. Little P delivered it right to my inbox.
To stretch, to challenge, to grow, to chance failing at something (and quite publicly, no less)… it’s an opportunity, for sure. It’s also SCARY stuff. SUPER DUPER and in all ways SCARY stuff!
I have a list of challenges, scary things I want to achieve just because I can try to achieve them. I think that list is going to evolve somewhat throughout this journey, and it will be made public in due time.
For now, though, the reality of what I’ve committed to do is enough of a challenge.
Check that, what I’ve just DONE is a grand and exciting VICTORY! I’ve shared a bit of the truth, MY truth, put it out there and claimed it as my own. I did it. YES!
And you know what? Somewhere in the process of writing this, I actually caught my breath. That means, friends, that there is only one thing left to say today. And that is, "Bite me, Fear and Challenge, you’re going down!"