Authenticity is a HUGE deal for me. It was, in fact, the inspiration behind this blog. I wanted to create a space for women to gather, leave behind perfection and pretentiousness, and be real.
So I’m going to be real with you right now, even though it is a bit difficult to do so. Please indulge me for a moment as I take you back to my childhood, for therein lies a discovery that is relevant to the future of this blog.
As a kid, I had great energy and passion for life. My mom would probably say that I was stubborn (she may have told me that a time or two), but I like to say determined.
If I wanted something, I went after it with all the intensity that I could muster. When I was eight years old and fascinated with gymnastics, I spent hours teaching myself how to do cartwheels, round-offs, backbends, back walkovers, and splits. I fell on my head more times than I could count but that did not deter me. I was sure that I was going to be the next Nadia Comăneci, even though formal lessons were not an option for me. (Too bad my 5’9” frame and size 12 feet later squashed my dream.)
Around that same time, I impulsively decided to do a backflip off the high dive at the community pool, even though I had no idea how to do it and had only ever jumped from that tall place a couple of times. I was not scared; I was resolute. I am pretty sure it ended in a belly flop, but that is beside the point. I was confident and sure of my ability to accomplish things, despite my inexperience. Nothing was going to get in my way, especially not fear.
The one phrase that I remember hearing over and over again in my early years was, “Slow down!” I was always in a hurry to accomplish something, always moving and pushing forward with passion and drive, and usually not willing to accept the word “No” if I had already decided on a course of action. My gut instinct was to think, “I’ll show you,” when somebody tried to discourage me; and show them I often did.
I realized very recently that somewhere along the path of growing into adulthood, I lost touch with a big part of myself. Rather than honoring the courage and fortitude that accompanied me into this world, I have spent years allowing fear to keep me from doing or saying the things that are in my heart.
Not only that, but I have rather successfully convinced myself that slowing down is the key to a fulfilling and purposeful life. But, as illustrated by my natural movement in the years before I knew any different, at my core I have never been truly satisfied with slow anything. I even struggle when I get stuck behind people who move slowly, whether on foot or in a car. I innately want to tackle life with speed and fiery determination, just like the little girl who would not give up her dream of being a gymnast, even when she had to teach herself how to get there.
For months now, I have felt persistently restless. I have not been able to explain why the stillness that used to be refreshing has felt suffocating. I have felt a deep and pressing need to understand myself because I could not explain why I felt discontent in my own skin; until now.