I am a big chicken. 🐥 Oh, I talk a good game, but have a hard time convincing myself. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve missed because I’ve beaten myself down before I’ve even had a chance to go for it. In the past, I resigned myself to failure almost every time. The worst was at the practical interview for FIT (yes, in NY, the Fashion Institute of Technology.) I made the mistake of turning my head to the left, and I saw the sketch from the art student next to me. I was a goner. I could not believe in myself or be brave enough to face the obstacles on the long road ahead.
I remember my first act of bravery. Honestly, I have to thank Muffy Josiah, wherever she might be. I needed an internship, but I was an English major. I was studying Elizabethan literature for goodness sakes, and finding a spot was becoming harder each day. She told me she interned at the theater in residence on our campus. She mentioned they needed free slave labor- oops, I mean interns. It took all my courage (and an extra large coffee) to walk into the ASC* office and ask for an internship. The curly haired guy (soon to be my mentor and later boss) started to laugh, but immediately saw my trepidation. I was almost in tears. Didn’t he know how much courage it took for me to walk in there in the first place? “Of course, come on in,” said Ted, and the rest is history. 🎭 It was brave, I think, to confront my fear, and I needed to do that in order to secure my place in the world, literally and mentally.
Being brave is about taking chances and doing new things. Having had three kids, and a lot of stress (yes, I stress eat!) the gym is the scariest place on earth. I remember when I first started going to the gym and everything was new. It was terrifying putting on a bathing suit to swim in front of all the skinny yoga mommas, and it was also scary trying the new machines. Honestly, they looked like space age torture devices. I actually got stuck somehow on the pull-up machine. No, I don’t know how, but I am grateful to the trainer who saw my distress and saved my aching muscles. Little did I know that one day I would be able to work on bigger and better machines. The price of working out was some serious aches and pains, sometimes resting for days in between, (going to the loo was fodder for comedy shows) but the mere act of exercising strengthened my resolve. I started smaller- walking the dog. Did you know a schizophrenic little maltipoo can walk nearly 6 miles without a pause! Each time I tried and succeeded at something new physically, like using the treadmill without flying off backwards, it felt like a window in my mind opened and sunshine poured in, bringing a lot of promise. I still have a long way to go, but I now accept the challenge (with butterflies in my stomach every time.)
Bravery is personal. Have you ever given up on yourself because you are afraid to fail? Are you worried that you’re trapped under a dark cloud? I know I feel that way sometimes. I want to resolve to stay there, in the dark, scary place, rather than suffer failure or another attempt. BE BRAVE! It’s one of my new mantras, and it should be one of yours. If you refuse to be brave, you are taking yourself out of the game before you get a chance to play. It’s called avoidance. Been there, done that. So I am working on my personal self (For some reason I keep typing elf, 😂) and on my career I have an awesome network of support from others like me, and they are really here and present for me.
Here’s the wrap up sweet readers. If your old life isn’t working, create a new one. I have. Many new “friends” I’ve met in network groups spur me on to do great things. I minimize contact with those negative Nancies. They are real energy drainers. If you’ve ever tried making new connections as an adult, and minimizing contact with those who drain you, you know that it takes some serious bravery. I’m still clucking, but much more quietly now. Be brave for yourself. You are valuable and worthy of the life granted to you. Be your own best advocate, your own best mate. Be brave and conquer the world! 🌎
Stay motivated and caffeinated! 😉☕
*American Stage Company, in residence FDU, Teaneck, NJ