Truth and Dare: An Introduction
For anyone just joining me, last week I started one of the toughest journey’s of my life. It is my goal to open myself up and to allow vulnerability in my life. I aim to be open and honest with myself and to others. I am to love myself so that I can truly love others. I do not want to merely exist in this world, I want to make it better. In order to do that, I have to start with me.
I am working through the Chipperish Media podcast: Big Strong Yes. The voices inside my head are the incredible NY Times Best-Selling Author, Lani Diane Rich, and my favorite doc Dr. Kelly Brown. If you don’t know these women, you have no idea what you are missing! We will be working through three books: “Rising Strong,” by Brene Brown, “Big Magic,” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes.
For now, and the next few months (because it’s hard being honest with yourself and I’m slower than everyone else), I will be working through “Rising Strong”. This week I tackled the second introduction: “Truth and Dare”. Without further ado, let’s get right to it.
“The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”
-Brene Brown, Rising Strong (xvi).
That one statement in and of itself is a lot to take in. The first piece of honest I need to focus on is the fact that falling down hurts. That this process of self-discovery is going to be painful. Truthfully, just sitting here, typing out these words, committing these words to virtual paper is my commitment to myself and to my readers that I am in this. I will write through the pain. I may not always make sense. I may do a hell of a lot of rambling or beating around the bush, but I am not willing to give up. Knowing that gives me purpose, and will help me live out the dare portion of the quote by Brown.
I don’t know what truth I will be searching for. I don’t know how I will fall. The unknown is terrifying, but I am not going anywhere, and for now… that is enough. We will discover together.
The upside to doing the work here is “vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xvii))
**Gulp** I have been trying to be invisible since I was 12 years old. I kept my head down in school (when I wasn’t being bullied about my weight, my messy and dirty hair, or the clothing I wore). I didn’t participate in class (unless my teacher forced me to). In my attempts to hid, I began losing pieces of who I was. Even physical things like my voice got quiet and meek. To this day I am still trying to get my true voice back.
How does one simply decide one day to be seen after spending 20+ years looking for shadows to hide in? One step to the left and step into the light. You can’t get much more vulnerable than that. Well, you could be naked and doing that, but I don’t necessarily recommend that.
I’ve officially taken my first steps because I am ready to do more than just exist in this world. I want more love, joy, and belonging.
The downside to doing the work here is that “You’re going to stumble, fall, and get your ass kicked.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xvii)). Yeah okay. That’s almost a given. If I have the guts to step out into the light to be seen, I can pretty much do anything.
It is not my goal to rush through the hurt and the scary parts. Yes, we all want to hear the redemption stories about how we overcame some obstacle to get where we are today, and those stories are important, but like Brown suggests, I plan to hit the pause button when I fall and really embrace my emotions. We try to rush through the struggles to get to the good place, but there are many important lessons to learn in the times of struggle and strife. I want to “recognize the power of emotion” and not be “afraid to lean in to discomfort.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xviii)) Leaning Tower of Piza reporting for duty!
Brown describes wholehearted living as “engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness…cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets down and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xix))
I am enough. I’m reading the words, but they haven’t sunk in yet. I am enough. I never think I’m good enough at anything that I do, or that I like to do, especially writing. I am enough. I worry about everything. I am enough. I don’t want to act myself in fear of others rejecting me for who I am. I am enough. I say the words out loud. I am enough. I still don’t believe them, but say them with me anyway. I am enough. I’m not going to lie to you. I still don’t believe I am enough; however, I want to. My current daily affirmation will be just this: I am enough. Logically, I know that I am. I just need to get my heart on board. I am enough.
I am always the first person to admit that I am not perfect. If anything, I say that I’m perfectly imperfect. What does that truly mean? What kind of a place do I need to be in to actually believe that statement. I know that embracing myself for who I am (quirks and all) is a great start. How can I work on this in my day-to-day life? I am going to just be me. I am going to stop apologizing when I am just being who I am. Obviously, if there has been some offense then that is a different story, but if it’s just me… I need to stop apologizing for being me. I need to become proud of who I am. I embrace the fact that there have been television shows in my life that have literally been game changers for me. I embrace the fact that I am not a morning person. I embrace, and will not apologize for not fitting into your cookie cutter expectations of me!
Oh, hey look, that felt good.
Why risk everything for things such as honesty, self-worth, and being vulnerable? Because “hiding out, pretending, and armoring up against vulnerability are killing us: killing our spirits, our hopes, our potential, our creativity, our ability to lead, our love, our faith, and our joy.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xix)) Well okay then. Thank you Dr. Brown for kicking my ass in the right direction. I’m not ready to give up or give in. I still believe I have something that I can add to this world, and that is important. I am important. I am sick and tired of being afraid, and I am even more tired of hustling for my self-worth. Grab a bull by the horns, anyone?
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”
-Theodore Roosevelt, 1910 “Man in the Arena” speech.
Every single time I read this quote I get fired up. Think about this one with me for a moment…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Not any of the peanut gallery. Not the critics, no one except for the person is face down on the ground. It’s the people that are willing to work hard, to try new things, to get dirty that are the ones that are going to actually change the world. I can feel my heart racing at this prospect and I cannot wait to keep going.
I have been trying a lot of new things lately. My husband and I finally checked out the website MeetUp looking for local groups in the Nashville area that have similar interests as us. In June we joined a board game community and have been going to that on a weekly basis. After eleven years of being together we have our first official “couple” friends! Do you know how hard it is to find married gamers that don’t have kids? Trust me, nearly impossible! Not only have I been continuing this blog, but about five weeks ago I launched a blog called None Plus Five that is going through and analyzing every episode of Gilmore girls. Keeping the momentum going has definitely been a struggle; however, each week that I complete one of these articles, I feel super good about myself.
For my health and wellness I am going to the gym and my husband and I have transitioned into a Ketogenic diet (lifestyle). I am fostering my creativity (and bravery, and lets be honest, my badassery) through the challenge of consistent blogging. I am choosing to work on me through the Big Strong Yes journey here. I am stepping out of the shadows and I am ready to be seen.
“There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger (sorry friends) is not badassery.” (Brown, Rising Strong (xxvii))
Society today seems to have a victim’s mentality and without being overly insensitive, it needs to stop. Living with the “woe is me” mentality is not going to get you anywhere. Everyone struggles. Everyone has pain. Everyone is suffering in one way or another. It’s time to switch your focus. Talk about and think about the things that are going right for you. Think about all of the things you do have instead of what you don’t (or even worse, what someone else has that you wish you had).
From there, start asking the right questions. What can I do to change the situation I am in? What can I do to make myself better? How do I go about changing the way I think from being negative all of the time to someone who sees the positive?
I absolutely still struggle with all of these things. It’s easiest to point out the flaws in others before we see them in ourselves. A lot of people live with these unrealistic expectations of how people should be acting and then they themselves don’t live up to their own standards. No matter our age, we can learn. Mahatma Gandhi once said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” You, not your brother or your daughter or your coworker. You. You be that light of positivity. You be the one to choose to be vulnerable and face life and all its ups and down for what they are. You make the choice to rise after you have fallen.
Just remember: every time you rise after a fall, you only get stronger.