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Brave the Storm

            Sometimes, I am insecure. That isn’t easy to admit. Most people don’t even notice. I don’t have an ego. I smile a lot. And it’s easy, I suppose, to mistake that for an overflow of confidence. I don’t know. My point is: sometimes, I am damn terrified. I’m always more apt to find fault in myself than other people. My first instinct to examine a situation, figure out what might’ve gone wrong, and look at what I might’ve been able to do differently.

            There are times where I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, except following my heart, or instinct, or whatever you call it. That doesn’t mean I’m not scared or wondering if I’m screwing everything up. Trust me, I spend a lot of the time wondering if I’m behaving like a wrecking ball. I don’t let that fear dictate my actions, though it’s taken a long time for me to get to that point. I am, as we all should be, a work in progress. Because if we’re not changing/growing, then we’re just…stuck.

            Neil Gaiman once wrote, “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” Somewhere, between being wide-eyed children who find delight in everything and ‘growing up’ (whatever that means, whatever that entails, and whenever that happens to you), we seem to loosen our grip on the ability to be okay with making mistakes. With letting things be imperfect and wonderfully messy. I think, honestly, that life isn’t supposed to be a checklist or fit in a neat little box. I think that’s more like a prison than a purpose. Granted, I still sing along to the music in grocery stores and watch cartoons in my PJs, while drinking coffee on some Saturday mornings.

            I make mistakes. I make them all the time. That used to make me feel ashamed, because I had this unhealthy desire to be perfect. It was…not good. It also is just…stupid. Because there is no perfect. There’s no baseline for that. Everyone is different. What I think is perfect, you might think is fucking weird as shit. My normal might make you balk. And that’s okay. Because that grey area, that difference, is what makes us who we are. It’s what makes life interesting. It’s what starts our hearts going, when the world is cold and we are full of fear and doubt.

            I know how to try. It might end up hurting me. I may make a damn fool out of myself. I make end up figuratively jumping in front a train or a bullet. I may spend time crying on the bathroom floor or pouring myself a giant (maple) whiskey. This is life, lived. It doesn’t always have to be sunshine and unicorns. That’s unrealistic. It is a shiny kind of fake. Something that occurred to me this morning, while my hands were shaking and my voice was too, is that even when I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I’m trying. It isn’t safe. It isn’t easy. But it’s real.

            I used to be the kind of person who needed to know exactly the parameters of a situation. I needed a neatly organized plan. I needed control. And then, things happened that made me realize that control is really an illusion. We make a decision. We do a thing. And then…we wait. Because nothing happens in a vacuum. Nothing isn’t connected to something else. We only control ourselves. There are things that are up to other people. But none of that means we shouldn’t get bloody and messy. None of that means we shouldn’t give a damn and try. Because yes, it can be scary. And yes, trying can often make you feel like your pulse is trying to murder you – and that you might throw up. But the alternative is giving up. It’s allowing yourself to die, slowly. It’s not being true to yourself. It’s being a coward.

            So, Geronimo, darlings. Today, do the thing you are afraid to do. Follow your fucking heart. Because no one is going to make it easy on you.

“So we shall let the reader answer the question for himself: who is the happier man, he who braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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