Brave? Yes. Brave.
Updated: Jun 3
Becoming the Hero, Written Series
So, yesterday was huge. Not alternative fact, yuge. Life altering huge. I mulled over my words and actions for about a week and acted on them yesterday. That means that during that period I was living in constant vulnerability. I had to get to the place that I could act with love and kindness which means I was raw and exposed.
I am learning to be shame resilient. (Brené Brown) Between the necessity to get tremendously vulnerable and some intense shame triggers (From compliments, of all things. Keep reading.) I've been climbing out of and slipping right back in my shame hole for a while now. It's a familiar climb and thankfully I know where the hand and foot holds are. I'm exhausted. I'm still climbing.
Worthiness. It's always worthiness. Being enough. Being good. Name a topic. I probably have at least one worthiness trigger. I'm going to share one of the most recent ones that is sticking out to me because I know the person who spoke has no idea the impact her words had, and that's life right there. We put a message out there meaning one thing and it's received how it's received. We don't get to choose that.
I showed up at the airport the other day with a sign that said "Welcome Home" with some hearts. Barry had left to go to the bathroom and I was standing alone. If anyone I knew was there, they were lost in the crowd. I was already insecure because I was wondering if the family would feel loved or completely overwhelmed. If they would welcome the loud broadcast of their arrival or if they really just wanted to slip in unnoticed. The life they were fleeing and the fear of being turned away so close for them. I wondered if I was helping or hurting.
Add to that, as an artist I get so embarrassed with my signs. My talent does not lie in sign making, that's for sure. I had no idea how much english they could read but it's what I had and I showed up because my heart desired for them to know that I cared about them. They deserve to be safe. I can stand with them. I can show love for them.
As I'm standing there alone with all of my insignificant insecurities. Time is passing and I'm realizing I'm going to miss the Bears Ears Rally and session at the capital so, of course (internal scream), now I'm feeling like a terrible ally because I'm not supporting the Utah Tribes in their fight to protect their land. Yeah, I'm a nonsensical mess at this point. It's tough to deal with what I did yesterday (and yes I'm purposefully being vague) while also trying to be present for others who are literally fighting for their lives.
So, as I stand there feeling both the overwhelming pain of so many wrongs in this world, and also overjoyed by the number of people who showed up to offer love, and making peace with my own significant and valid demons, a woman turns to me and says, "Welcome home? I sure hope they feel that. They'll probably have to turn around and go right back." I'm positive her comment was made out of concern for the refugee family and was not a dig at my sign or understanding of the issue. I'M POSITIVE SHE WAS NOT QUESTIONING MY WORTHINESS.
Guess what happened though? Immediate shame. Instantaneous and shattering. I wanted to make myself as small as possible, slink away, destroy my sign and then throw it away so no one would find my shame, then run away and never show my face again. I stood there. I breathed. I had a conversation with myself and willed my body to stay put and my eyes to stay dry. I had not come to the airport for myself. (Well, everything we do has some self motivation. I'm looking through that.) I came so this family would know that they were not alone. I showed up so that this family would see my body and my face willing to be there and say, "I see you. I will make room for you." (I wish I'd put that on my sign. At least the last part. The first might seem a little intrusive.)
Recently people have been complimenting my bravery. I don't know why this is the theme du jour but it is and I feel like a fraud. An imposter. The lies tell me I am not brave. I'm one misunderstood comment away from losing my grip and falling straight back down my shame hole. Then I have to remind myself what Mark Twain said, "Courage (or in this case, bravery) is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear (or shame).” Shame is shame. It is present in everyone's lives. There is no escaping it.
Today I am letting the sunshine hit my face. Through a window of course. It's freezing. I'm breathing. I'm bathing. I'm eating. I'm creating. I'm enjoying my children. I'm allowing my husband to love me. I'm being. I'm reminding myself that I am enough. I am worthy. I am good. I feel scared. I feel shame. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed. I am proud that I am still climbing. I will continue to climb. I will show up for myself as I show up for others. I am brave.