“Don't surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn't true anymore.” -Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things
Its hard to let go of the past. Its hard to let go of the way you were raised and the culture in which you gained your footing. Hard to forget the person you were at one point. Strange to wave goodbye to the timid, self-doubting girl who severely questioned herself and all she did, while taking what everyone else did or said at face value. Complicated to have been hurt and made to feel invisible on so many occasions.
To come out gasping but still kicking on the other side. To feel and hear and smell the fear that vulnerability allows, and to choose it anyway.
Because, as my best friend and I discussed tonight, if you never open yourself up to the possibility of hurt, of being vulnerable, you never allow yourself the chance at happiness.
Choice says I can stay where I am; and true, where I am may be a room I’ve walked with some regularity, its familiar, but its not without aches and pains.
Or I can jump.
I can say I’m sorry. I can unfriend someone. I can say what I’m thinking. I can admit to being wrong, admit to not feeling the same way as someone I grew up with expects me to. I can support people I love when the culture I was raised amongst makes them feel small and unwelcome. I can let go of years of being invisible and realize that the people who matter see me and choose me.
A lot of times it feels as though we’re made to believe that life is this strict path we follow. Chasing callings and careers and trying to live up to someone else's expectations… but I think it comes down to choices. There are so many we could make. Good, bad, poor, wise, middle of the road. The truth is, the good ones wouldn’t come without making a few bad, and the middle of the road ones, while sometimes masquerading as safe, can often lead to an unwanted and drawn out detour.
I can choose which steps to take, I can choose how I take them. Who I take them with. I can choose the attitude in which I step out… I can hold desperately to the timid, insecure girl I once was… or I can embrace the confident, assured, loving woman I have become.