In case you missed it, the dog and I just relocated from San Diego to Atlanta—which is essentially going from one coast to the other. Boiled down, this really just means a long time spent in a car.
When I shared with my family, friends and my social media peeps this move was happening, I got a variety of responses:
- Why would you leave San Diego?!?
- I’m going to miss you.
- That’s so exciting!
- You’re so brave.
The first three I totally understood. The last one, which incidentally is the one I heard the most, made absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps it’s the fact I have moved just shy of 20 times over the last 11 years. Some of them big moves, some of them just to a new place…but moving seemed like no big deal to me. Even if it was moving across the country.
So why on earth would people think that I – who is a grown woman still afraid of the dark—is someone who is “brave”?
As the dog and I pulled out of San Diego with essentially only the things that would fit in the car (okay and a few boxes of books and shoes being shipped to me, because well, books and shoes don’t need an explanation, right?), I was still perplexed by all of this talk of bravery.
I know people who are brave. They are those serving, or who have served, in the military, my family members, my friends fighting life and health battles I’m not sure I’d even know how to begin to navigate. Those are the brave ones.
Nope. Not me. I’m not brave. I was just doing what needed to be done in order to be where I wanted to be. I was ready for a new adventure and this was it. So, it was decided, arrangements were made and the navigating moving myself, my dog and a corporation to a new state happened the best it could. And the navigating is still happening. As with all transitions, you can’t have it all figured out before you jump in. You take care of what you know and learn on the way.
Day one the dog and I settled in for the 714 mile trip to La Cruces. I kept entertained by listening to the audiobook, “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be” by Rachel Hollis. Recommended by my bestie, I listened. And I listened. While not all of the things or chapters applied to me, I couldn’t help but be reminded of something I am constantly working on with clients—which is to stop minimizing yourself.
But I was tired.
Day two, we were beginning to conquer part of Texas. The 606 miles felt like a breeze following day one and was accompanied by yet another audiobook. This time, “Light Is The New Black” by Rebecca Campbell. Recommended by yet another one of my best girlfriends. Not everything applied to me in this book either, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the lesson – stop minimizing yourself.
But again, after two days of sitting in the car and navigating a cross country road trip with a 14-year-old dog, I was tired. How is doing nothing but essentially sitting in a car so exhausting?
Day Three: 638 miles, 4 states, lots of naps and treats for the dog and some pretty epic 90’s throwback playlists if I do say so myself, we finally made it out of Texas and spent the night in Alabama. We were officially in the south and so close to no longer having to spend hours and hours in the car.
Day Four: The final stretch. I had run out of audio books and prepared music playlists so we drove for a while in silence. As someone who is more of an introvert, silence doesn’t really bother me. I actually need some quiet time to be my best me.
In the silence that pesky lesson, “stop minimizing yourself” kept creeping up. Of course. Ugh! Why is it so easy for me to see when my clients, my friends or my family does this but not when I’m doing it? I guess that’s how it goes. It’s usually much easier to see the greatness in others and a much harder practice when looking at ourselves.
I decided moving across the country isn’t brave. And it’s okay that I still hate the dark, even as a total grown up.
What is brave is prioritizing ourselves.
Especially as women.
From so many angles we are taught to care for and put others first. I had spent years doing this. In work, in relationships in general. I would sacrifice myself and my desires while building others up, buying in to the idea that I’ll get around to me, eventually.
I no longer do that. While I can compromise like a champ, I no longer forget to include myself in the compromise. I no longer allow for myself to play small when I want big. I no longer need to prove or justify myself, and you know what, that is brave. It’s really F*ing brave.
Each time you do the work, face the fear and the hard stuff, every time you go for it, and each time you ‘fail’, you are being brave. It’s brave to make yourself a priority. It’s brave to go for what you want. It’s brave to risk fear and failure. It’s brave to invest in yourself, your growth, your passions.
I might not be on the same level as those serving our country or fighting health issues or dealing with loss. But I am brave. And so are you!
When you take a chance on yourself. For yourself, for your family for your growth. You are brave. When you risk the unknown. When you navigate as you go, only knowing you’re going in the direction that lights you up, you are brave.
So, take a moment to give yourself a high five—because the braver we are for ourselves, the braver we can be for each other.
Be brave my friends!