I am a fortunate fool.
Mentors and students pop in to my office throughout the week. Their stories and laughter make the everyday ordinary come to life. The other day, a student stood nearby blinking and having deflected a sincere and hard-earned compliment by saying (again), “you haven’t met my sister!” Ummm. Nope. I was talking about you and your talent, Kiddo.
She – like too many of us – wished to err on the side of humility in the face of great braggadocio. For whatever reason, we relegate our worth to the shadows of others. I have done this. It is neither noble nor good for my creaky wee heart.
It is borne in fear.
Fear of being found out; we pretend to be Clark Kent when our Superpal is shining just below the surface.
Fear of changing the stories people around us believe and keep telling…even if they are false.
Fear of committing to do the thing we most value; to risk putting our best out there and it not being enough-yet.
Writing is that gig for me. No one will ever gush over my running, cooking, or origami wizardry. They may never get excited about my writing. But a writer has to write.
A baker must bake
A lover must love
A leader must lead
A student must learn and a teacher must teach.
“That thing you love most and know you were made to do; you have own it to hone it.”
As those words tumbled off my lips, I heard their echo “deep where I live.”
I had been waiting for a call that day which seemed to never come. My heart began its staccato of wonder and anxiety where it once was at peace. Lack of sleep crept up and pulled the plug on my joy. Coffee was not cutting through the noise in my heart.
You see, I’d applied for my third job in the last year having cratered the two interviews in early August (trust me.) This opportunity did not call for a utility player as I’ve become, but for the specialist I’ve long hoped to become. A writer and media connector; a marketing manager for an organization which serves, supports, and helps provide the fuel to launch many brilliant lives.
You have to own it to hone it.
I felt queasy about either way the expected call could go: “please join us” or “thank you for playing.” If “thank you, no” became the message, I’d have to go back to the courageous act of searching for a next-step job which would accommodate/allow my grad school studies to continue. More networking and meeting great people during interviews. More making sure my zipper is up, I don’t snort when I laugh during interviews, and my resume is edited well and typo-free.
If the call came and it was “please join in the purpley fray,” I’d be required to own my writing and lifelong desire to write. With it would come edits, constructive criticisms, growth, and the random face conveying an “I don’t get it” message after reading my heart scribbles.
Owning our dreams opens us to honing them.
I got the call.
Must round up more purple and never ever ever mix blue and red together in my wardrobe.
Onward to find my place in the sunlit corner across from the Headquarters Fire Station and where the sheep still graze…along our “Zombie Running Route.”*
Forward with my dreams and favorite skill in hand to have it honed in the hands of people I already enjoy and appreciate.
And I would have missed it all had the fear spoken longer and louder than the tiny song of hope long-hidden and nurtured by folks I work for now, have worked for before, and people I’ve loved for a long time. (Thank you.)
Join me in this wobbly-legged derring do for a season of learning, laughing, really living, and honing my heart. You are part of the adventure. You belong around the (purple) table.
And if you can, keep an eye out for people who need your kind, honest, truth – especially if you see that person daily…in your mirror.
* As Katie & I prepare for our 1/2 marathons, we need to find longer routes for our early morning practice runs. It’s dark on our 7.5-mile running route and takes us along the University’s test fields…which in the dark can give me the willies.