i remember the first time i ever felt like a fraud.
i was going into the 9th grade and was transferring into a new school. i knew maybe 3 people at the school and decided to try out for the dance team. after i made it, i remember my sister (very kindly) writing me a note of encouragement telling me how much she admired my bravery.
that was the moment.
the moment that i realized that i was a fake, and eventually everyone was going to find out.
the truth was, i wasn't brave.
i was just good at pretending.
where people saw bravery and a willingness to take risks, i saw a girl who would do anything in order to secure an identity.
i wanted, no, i needed to be somebody.
and i knew that if i could wear that uniform, people might think that i was somebody.
i knew i was fake, but i also knew that the appearance of bravery, of boldness, made me feel strong.
you know that saying "fake it till you make it"? i think that could have been my mantra.
really, if we're being honest one of my biggest struggles has always been placing more value in how things look, than how they actually are.
i fall into a pattern of thinking that says, "the exterior determines the interior". if you look fine, then can convince everyone, even yourself, that you are fine...it works for awhile.
until it doesn't.
for me that process started 6 years ago.
6 years ago i got sick, and save for a brief intermission, i have never gotten better.
**disclaimer: don't. feel. sorry. for. me. that's not the point. (that's all)**
being chronically sick is a daily reminder that you are not "fine".
which is a harsh wake up call for anyone, but especially for someone who fights to convince herself that outward drives inward. that appearance determines quality.
it's funny that i've worked so hard towards that end, yet the body i have screams the opposite.
if i take an honest look back at my life, i've always looked right. i've done the right things. said the right things. been the right person. always hoping that as long as the exterior looked right, the interior would follow suit.
but when the interior feels so wrong, it gets harder and harder to appear right.
my idea of bravery was skewed in that for most of my life, i hadn't faced things that truly scared me. for most of my life i hadn't come up against anything that i wasn't positive i could overcome. in fact i never really even tried to do anything if i wasn't convinced i would succeed...there is no boldness in that. embarrassingly enough, it wasn't until recently that i realized, true strength, courage, boldness and bravery are found in facing the things that scare you most. it's when you jump headlong into an endeavor knowing full well that it has the power to take you out. no one is remembered for playing it safe. people are remembered for looking fear in the face and pushing on anyway.
and that's where i am.
the truth is that being sick is scary and confusing and frustrating and discouraging and, to put it simply, it's hard. when you struggle and hurt emotionally or spiritually, you know what you're supposed to do in order to get healthy. but your physical health, that feels different. even when i do the right thing, it doesn't mean that the problem goes away. i have absolutely no power to change it.
but you never realize your propensity for bravery until you are confronted with your fear.
i'm terrified of people knowing that i am not ok.
and that? that is unavoidable.
it looks me in the eyes every single day.
so what does boldness look like? i think it looks likes like embracing the weakness, instead of trying to hide it. i think it means choosing joy, instead of just appearing happy. i think it means being ok, with not being ok.
i write these things here because my nature is to hide and cover and pretend, but nothing feels more public than putting it on the internet for anyone.
here's to being letting people see my weakness.
here's to being rather than appearing.
here's to boldness.