Don’t run. Stop holding your tongue.

 

I want to be brave. I am not always. There are moments, things that reach back from our past, that remind us of who we are – of who we’ve been – and how fear changes over time. Something odd occurred to me, today. There’s a parallel situation from over ten years ago, a little thing. Just a whisper of a shadow. Different time and place, but the same shade. Then: I was fearless. Then: I refused to allow myself to give in to the ghosts. Today: I caught myself wondering. Today: I caught myself talking myself out of an idea.

I was listing all the reasons why not. Except, they weren’t really reasons. They were excuses. They were that little idiot voice that lives in the back of a person’s head, rubbing salt in every wound that you forgot you even had. If, ten years ago, I was brave – what changed? What is it about growing up (okay, growing older) that erodes our fearlessness? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s that we fail to nurture that part of ourselves. Perhaps it’s the day-to-day grind that wears us down. Perhaps it is the endless list of responsibilities, instead of laughter. Perhaps it’s the have tos instead of the want tos. Whatever it is, whatever the root cause, it stops here. It ends now.

Sometimes, you have to do the exact thing that you are afraid of. Sometimes, you have to prove it to yourself. Sometimes, you need to be a little less You Now. And a little more of your past. The truth is that even the most spectacular disaster teaches us something. The truth is that there really aren’t mistakes. There’s what you do and what you don’t do. There’s how you feel or don’t feel. There’s love or there isn’t.

And there’s being brave. I can’t help but think of Sara Bareilles’ new song, Brave. There’s nothing worse than letting words fester underneath your skin. There’s nothing worse than letting fear – of anything – win. So, it might be crazy. It might be ridiculous. It might be the foolish idea born of a mad moment. But it also might be real. It also might be true. It also might be the best thing you almost didn’t do.

This, I suppose, is why I love the word yes. It opens doors. It breaks down walls. It punches a hole through a window. Yes begins everything. Yes teaches us. Yes reveals us. So, when faced with a choice? With a scary thing? Don’t let fear steal your yes. Don’t hold back, because life is wonky and difficult. Don’t hold back at all.

Be brave.

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