Am I Still Daring Greatly?

I started this blog with the intention of living my life out in the arena.  I wanted to live my life daring greatly, no matter what the outer critics or my internal critic said.  It’s been a long time since I have written anything.  Almost a year!  In my heart I like to think that I am continuing to dare greatly in my life, but the truth is that I have been letting fear run the show lately.  I’ve been cowering in the wings, watching with admiration as others put themselves out there.  Fear has infiltrated many areas of my life.  As I look at the broad world, I have lost sleep over the racial tension that is going on in our nation.  Black against white; police against civilian.  People being gunned down in the streets and clubs.  I am raising two mixed race little boys in this world, and I am scared for them. I don’t want them to live in fear, but I want them to be aware that we live in a world wear evil prevails and they need to be aware.  How do I maintain that balance?  It’s a heavy load to bear as their mother.

In my own immediate little world, I find myself stuck with this fear of writing. When did I turn into such a scaredy cat?  It’s like all of a sudden the thought of putting myself out there is this monumental thing that I can’t get passed.  Even the thought of finishing this post and pushing the Publish key is making me squirm.  I find that I will find anything and everything to do instead of writing.  Work? Sure I’ll work more hours!  Gilmore Girls…gotta finish the series before the new episodes come out!  I really have to keep up on the mindless games that I play on my phone too.  These are all my forms of numbing out so I don’t have to write and face the things that are going on in my head and heart.  Even though these things seem harmless, the consequence of numbing out is that the things that are going on in my head and heart stay in there.  It turns into a poison if it doesn’t get out.  For me, the poison has taken the form of depression, which is not something I gave dealt a lot with in my life.  I don’t like the feel of it.  It robs me of my joy.

My boys and I recently visited my brother out East.  It was a great trip.  The boys loved seeing his chickens and seeing all of his Amish neighbors.  I loved smelling the fresh country air.  While we were there, he told us the story of a professor he had who encouraged his class to ask questions.  If someone says, “That was the best pie I’ve ever had”, the response should be, “Compared to what?”  The boys got a huge kick out of this, and ever since, they are constantly asking me “compared to what?”  We laugh about it, but I find myself asking this question for real.  I face the fear of being lonely.  I think that there has to be more to life than this season that I am in.  I have found myself lamenting that I don’t have a stronger connection with my husband.  Those old questions start popping up.  Maybe I married the wrong guy.  Maybe we would be better off as friends than married.  Maybe I just have unrealistic expectations?  Compared to what?  Compared to all the posts on Facebook of course.  People are all so happy.  They all married their best friends.  They all look forward to the next 20 years with joy and happiness.  Am I the only only one who feels a twinge of sadness when I think that the next 15 years might be the same as the last 15?  And fear plays a huge role as I fight the need to speak my truth with this; the need to dare greatly in my own life.

So, I guess this blog post it me putting my foot back in the arena.  Fear be damned.  I will embrace it and lean into it.  It’s always going to be there, but it doesn’t have to have the upper hand.

This is me, Daring Greatly!

I recently finished reading the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.  It is a wonderful book, and the title is based on this quote by Theodore Roosevelt titled “The Man in the Arena”:

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; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

     I have found myself in the arena over the past two years quite a bit, and I have the battle scars to prove it.  I have had the desire to write about my experiences for some time, but have held back because I’m not a creative person.  I’m also not a writer. And I’m scared to put myself out there.  I’ve been camped out in the entrance to the arena for months now, trying to work up the nerve to go in again.  The excuses are a mile long, but if I keep letting them get the best of me, this unused creativity will burn a hole in my soul.  So, this is me, daring greatly and stepping into the arena once again.

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