“You are smart. You are a force. You can ask for what you want, jump-start your car battery, eat at the bar by yourself, and open a Roth IRA like an alpha-fem supreme queen. You’re not a Dime—you’re one of those rare steel pennies the U.S. Mint circulated during WWII to preserve copper that are now worth $100k+. Sometimes your twenties feel like playing a video game on the ‘Difficult’ level, but you are unstoppable. You are insatiable. You are a warrior. Take your sledgehammer and smash that glass ceiling to smithereens. Keep doing EXACTLY what you’re doing, babygirl. Chin up, shoulders back.” – via Maryellen Stewart
A new life season can seem daunting and frightening because it is unknown. My body likes routine, the usual. I sit in the same chair every sunday in church, I always order my coffee black, my ringtone hasn’t changed in over a year.
There is a comfort in predictability, but there is also little room for growth.
When you follow the path of others, your feet stepping in the same worn tracks, your head bent down, absentmindedly, you forget to question whether this is the right path for you. Perhaps here is where you make a turn instead of following left?
Maybe that means more U-turns, more backtracking, more being lost. But doesn’t that open you up for more beauty, more dirty hands, more nights where you fall asleep under the open sky – half afraid it will rain, half hoping it does?
I have lived most of my life obedient and quiet. I’m not one to ruffle feathers, start debates, or question the status quo. But as I have grown and changed, been challenged and learned to trust myself, I have slowly come to realize that I don’t want to walk in someone else’s journey. I don’t want to follow in someone’s footsteps, not leaving behind my own tracks.
I want my own blunders, my own joys, my own baggage, my own pain. I don’t want to live my life by someone else’s rules or a society’s norms.
I would rather teeter up on top of a shaky tightrope, holding my breath, just praying to make it across than to slump in a seat in a crowded bus, making a collective groan with the rest of the passengers as we reach our destination. The thing is, I’m safe in the bus. And I’m alive in the bus. But I’m living up on that tightrope, muscles straining, lungs burning, reaching for the next ledge.
There is a difference between being alive and living – riding in the boat or gasping for air as you swim through the current.
What’s comforting even in the unknown and uncertainty, is the fact that I’m not alone. I live a life drenched with the beauty of relationships that encourage me to be live up on the tightrope, not listening to what unimportant voices have to say.
The risk is a lot bigger when you pave your own way. When you challenge the status quo, ask the hard questions, dance to your own music. There are people who will point and laugh, others will walk away, shaking their heads at the absurdity. There will probably be less money (at least in my experience), less glory, less brand-new-car kind of lifestyle. But I have found a new richness and depth in living life vulnerable, one uncertain step at a time.
When I have less safety and comfort, I do more living, more action, more feeling. I am desperate to keep tightrope walking, to keep creating my own tracks, right alongside everyone else who is messy and tear-stained and joy-filled.