So I am going to start tonight with a completely embarrassing story about myself because, well, why not? I’m sure you could use a laugh, and just thinking about this ludicrous moment makes me laugh at myself. This particular memory takes place over fifteen years ago … okay, maybe closer to twenty but I didn’t want to say that. God, why do I feel like I can be so honest when I’m typing. Oh yeah! When I don’t see you it’s easier to pretend I’m talking to myself and there will be no reader. Ha, ha! Do me a favor, if you DO respond to this one friends, don’t mention how old I’m getting!
I digress. Some years ago, I was watching my sister cheer for her high school basketball team. I think I was in seventh grade at the time and … Oh! That means it is only 19 years, not 20! Woohoo! I’ll take what I can get. Anyway, I was watching my sister, a Junior at the time, cheer away as I sat, and sat, and sat on the hard, wooden bleachers. None of my friends had brothers or sisters on the team, so I was with my parents. And as much as I loved to watch my beautiful, bouncing, blonde, confident sister as an awkward “doesn’t-quite-fit-into-herself-yet” middle schooler, I needed a break and told my mom and dad I was going to go get a drink.
Well, half-way to the water fountain, my brain stopped sending nerve signals to my legs because apparently, when you sit in one uncomfortable position for more than forty minutes on a hard surface, that is what your brain does – rebels. So literally, neither by the gym or bathroom, at this point, BOTH of my legs utterly, 100% fell asleep. AT THE SAME TIME!
I was initially too freaked out to be mortified. I mean, I’d had a foot fall asleep, an arm, but both of my legs from the hip-joint down? Never. So that I wouldn’t fall on the spot, I hobbled over to a nearby fold-out table and proceeded to hang there, supporting myself with skinny arms and a ridiculous half-smile, half-grimace as I wavered, almost collapsing to the ground.
Eventually, I’m happy to report, I was able to “walk-it-off” and did, in fact, abandon the effort of trekking to the water fountain for the much safer route back to the bleachers. I’ve not been a real fan of sitting still since.
The thing is, as crazy as that story is, I look back on it as a sort of metaphor. I mean, as a kid, I was sitting there watching my perfect sister fit into her perfect world as I sat on the sidelines, dreaming adolescent dreams of my self-proclaimed “someday.” There is a quote from Kobe Yamada that says, “Follow your dreams, they know the way.” I love this, but am fearful of the power of these words as well. Because what if it is true? What if my dreams are just waiting to be realized, but, like the little girl I used to be on the sidelines, I am too unsure of “me” to do anything about them. In the same way, I wonder if I will become paralyzed with the stiffness of a life I’ve grown too comfortable sitting in, to be able to “get going” when I want to.
Lately I’ve felt really stirred, prompted, and called to continue writing, speaking and pushing myself toward a second-career. The other day, I went out for a “writing day” to see what I could accomplish in my long list of possibilities, and had the doubt rush in. But when I stopped at a random store to use the restroom after a long ride, this is what I saw on the wall beside me, “You will only fail if you stop writing, ” – Ray Bradbury. It seemed a little too ironic to be ironic. I felt like it was God, giving me a, “Do you get it now?” message. I wish I could say that the moment “transformed my insecurity,” but how do you make that leap? How do you start?
I guess I don’t have the answer … not for me with writing, or you with whatever it is you have been watching and waiting for. The only thing I DO know, is that I don’t think we are meant to sit in the bleachers of our own life. We aren’t supposed to paralyze our own opportunity to walk forward and take control. I’m not sure what my next steps are, I only know that my fourteen finished manuscripts are not satisfied by the one title of mine that is published, and the few speaking engagements I have adored are not meant to be a good memory, but a springboard for something I’m meant to do. I don’t really know where I’m walking … but I know I don’t sit still well for a reason, and so I go on.
Come with me.