No Fear

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NO FEAR! … my motto in 2013, and blazing on in 2014!

Vulnerability takes courage. This is Brene Brown’s main message in her book Daring Greatly. Opening yourself up to the judgement of others is one of the most difficult things a human can do. Self doubt often  prevents people from presenting their authentic selves and acheiving their goals. NO FEAR reminds me to be vunerable; sustaining the courage to be open-minded, whole-hearted, and to continue moving forward, especially  when faced with obstacles.

As I get older, I realize that vulnerability is not others looking at you, but allowing others the gift of looking inside you. Sharing your self can be super intimidating, but on the flip side, the decison to open up is infinitely more rewarding. That’s why courage is so important when being vulnerable.

As a kid, I was always outgoing, but not particularly open to sharing deep feelings or emotions. But, what young adult is? My first instance of being vulnerable is branded in my head like it was yesterday.

In 7th grade, crutches and braces aided me in walking. These weren’t Forrest Gump’s typical metal leg braces, but hard, white plastic braces that cradled my leg from my toes to my knee. Each brace immobilized my ankle, preventing my foot from dropping, and ultimately tripping when walking. They were hot and uncomfortable. The heat part wasn’t helped by the fact that I would wear knee socks to disguise these groovy contraptions. Well, that didn’t  last long because in 8th grade, my cruch slipped on a puddle, causing me to break my left hip, putting me in a wheelchair for good. The ironic thing was that even though my hot, uncomfortable braces were void of their functionality, I STILL WORE THEM! In my mind, they made my skinny, bird legs look more “normal”. I stuck with this belief and stylish look all the way through high school and the beginning of my college career.

Thank goodness for college! A week before I was to begin classes at Texas A&M University, I attended Fish Camp. On campus, freshmen are known as “fish”, and Fish Camp is freshmen orientation on steroids. Both freshmen and  upperclassmen hop on a bus for 2 hours towards Palestine, Texas. For 3 days, “fish” are indoctrinated with Aggie spirit, Aggie traditions, and Aggie values. The latter are based on core beliefs of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and service. But, Aggie spirit can not be described, only experienced. For me, that experience was nothing less than electrifying!

At Fish Camp, the Aggie way of life was not only preached, but practiced. Even though I was the only “fish” in a wheelchair, welcoming  warmth of counselors and campers made me feel that my wheelchair disappeared, braces vanished. They only saw me, not the chair. For practical reasons, disposing of my wheechair was not an option, but my leg braces had no function. These tiny, plastic prisons challenged me to question if I was being true, not only to Aggie core beliefs, but to my own core beliefs. My self-revealed conclusion  made me see that my leg braces were just a facade. Unaware of vulnerability’s occurrance at the time, such a nonjudgmental environment gave me the courage to peel off my hot, uncomfortable leg braces, exposing my legs to the entire Fish Camp “D” in the sweltering Texas sun! A sense of relief and freedom consumed me. The funny thing was… no one noticed, or cared, but me!

Similary, initiating this blog has nudged me to be more vulnerable than ever. Peeling back deep thoughts and feelings while exposing myself to the judgement of others isn’t easy. Some may say an act of courage. I feel  so blessed to share my truth with others and hopefully inspire them with the gift of looking inside my heart and soul. The best way to do this is to remain open to vulnerability while practicing my motto…NO FEAR!