I hold inside me two seemingly conflicting parts: the dramatic-lay-it-all-out-there-let- your-light-shine-bright side and the sensitive-what-will-they-say-or-think-about-you-if- you-let-it-all-out-there side?
So little girl Ashley was the one in the photo who danced freely on stage in Disneyland. And the one who dressed as Chiquita Banana for her report on bananas, complete with a towel peppered with fake fruit wrapped around her head as she entered her sixth grade classroom singing.
And she was the one who erased holes into her paper when she wrote, for fear of her stories. And who obsessed about looking foolish in the school talent show when she sung a Christmas carol accompanied by her friend on the piano when other kids were playing air guitar. And who was sure people found her annoying.
So afraid to fall or be judged, yet daring or foolish enough to put herself out there.
And it’s still like this today, and maybe you know what that feels like.
To risk the fall and see that you’re still here. To fall flat on your face and know that you’ve survived.
Maybe you know what it’s like to forget the words to the song you’re singing right smack dab in the middle of your tryout for senior prom court and find that you’re making some new ones up, right on the spot. I do.
Or maybe you know what it’s like to be too afraid to pick up the pen or sing the note or ever dive into the pool. I do.
Maybe inside you is a little bit of both.
Maybe we’re all a little more like the tottering toddler than we realize — falling hundreds, thousands of times and continuing to try. Tucked inside, maybe we are all a bit like the kindergartener who won’t quit until she crosses those bars or the second grader in skates unafraid of rolling right off the stage.
Maybe, too, we’re all a little like the girl waiting on the sidelines, scared to draw too much attention to herself because people might not like her.
I’m wondering what it might be like if we remembered that we’re among those who are amazing and frail wrapped in the same skin, people like us walking around with parts strong and scared. Those who fall and get up again.
OK… I turned off the timer a few minutes in and made this much more than a five minute exercise. Bless you this weekend in your falling and in your getting up. I love you…verily I do. And I must say, without the strong arms of God to pick me up and my dear ones to clean my skinned knees, sometimes I’d choose to stay in bed instead.
I’m joining this morning with the Five Minute Friday community at Lisa-Jo Baker’s where we write freely and encourage one another’s words. Today began with the prompt: FALL.
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Oh how are hearts beat the same. I too seem to be a dichotomy. I want to be bold and courageous yet there is still part of me that let’s fear eat my dreams. So thank you for such honest words here.
Praying for you and me both that we would not let the fear eat them up. You are bold and courageous, friend — regardless of the other parts that try to worm their way.
I most definitely know who this person is…all to well. We are kindred, you and I, and you are not alone. In your falling down and your getting up.
Your words are such comfort, Holly, and I wonder if they are the struggle of many a writer and artist. The sensitivity to feel it all and then the burning need to express it and then the sensitivity that returns to analyze how the expression was perceived and on and on it goes. Much grace to you, too, dear one.
I too have struggled with the risk of the fall part my whole life, but am not very good at the putting myself out there part. Now, I am trying to help my middle child through the same issues, forcing him to try despite his fear of failing or looking silly. I look at my oldest who has none of that fear, and success comes so much easier for him because of this. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for sharing, Julia. It’s so interesting because I see you as bold in this really gracious and lovely way….fascinating how we perceive others and know too well our own struggles.
And then the process of trying to pass on to our children what we did not have ourselves. How we learn from their strengths and are challenged by their weaknesses, and all of us seem to be responding to that same little voice that says, “Grow, grow.” And we are.
Truly appreciating your words today.
I wonder too Ash! I wonder what would happen (what sorts of transformations there would be) if we ceased attaching labels to ourselves and others. What would happen if we quit calling ourselves names (even the good ones.) What if we kept in our minds the multiple facets (and many contradictions) that characterize Each of us; if we remembered as you say that there is a weak and a strong in us all, a standing-tall and a falling-flat. All held within the same fragile network of skin and bone called “me”. What if we were able to say (and mean)… “I am you too.”
Would this not be grace extended and grace received?
Thank you so much for this post (and taking the extra minutes!) I so love your wise heart. And your way with words, always.
I love your description of grace extended and grace received, Mama. And this: “What if we kept in our minds the multiple facets (and many contradictions) that characterize each of us” and did not judge ourselves for them, but accepted them (even embraced them) as what it means to be human. “I am you too.” Yes!
this is just beautiful. i am so glad i came from Lisa-Jo’s to your little corner. what truth, what faith. <3
Thank you so much for your visit, Rachel. I do so love this FMF community of encouragers!
Oh the memories. What a fearful little one I was, and still am today. I recently watched my 8th grader (When did she get so big?) stand before a crowd and share a small piece of His story in her life (When did she get so wise?). She shared with conviction and confidence. I was awestruck. Isn’t it amazing? The work a faithful God does in a young heart. Oh yes, she’s had her share of falling. And I’m thankful for each one. Thank you for sharing your memories! I know we can all relate to your stories. Visiting from LisaJo’s place.
Stephanie, thank you! My goodness, that blows me away…the courage of these young people. What a beautiful experience that must have been to see your daughter sharing her big, wise heart — his story in her — from the stage. I am inspired by what you say: “Oh yes, she’s had her share of falling. And I’m thankful for each one.” Now those are the words of a woman choosing to live NOT by fear. Bless you, and thank you for being here.
The girl I was would have been friends with the girl you were! An intriguing reflection on fall!
I love that, Beth! And aren’t we all still those girls, too? :-)
i love you Chiquita banana….love, a turtle named kindy :) that was awesome. thanks for sending that and tell Julia we LOVED her drawings and sweet card in the mail!!!
I love you, Kinny turtle! Thanks for being my friend through the embarrassment and the joys and all of it. I’m glad to be your buddy.
“what it might be like if we remembered that we’re among those who are amazing and frail wrapped in the same skin” A beautiful thought. And so true. I definitely see the mix within myself.
Thank you, Stephanie!
this reminds me of how I felt at Jumping Tandem… afraid and brave… lonely and accepted… happy and sad…
thank you for painting for such a beautiful picture of the contradictions in all of us…
Blessings! Kendra aka @TheSavvyWAHM
Kendra, thank you for sharing your Jumping Tandem experience of the contradictions. How I resonate, friend…it’s amazing how much we hold in these bodies. Grateful for you.
Oh, *sigh*…(((Ashley))), we must be kindred, my dear. Are you sure you weren’t writing about me? Oh yes, afraid of my own shadow. Trying to grow out of that. xo.
You, too, huh? :-) Sending love and praying for extra courage — I see it all over you.
Thank you for the confession at the end. I was really feeling lame that you were able to pull this out in 10 minutes. But then it’s not all about me is it? Really wonderful. I know both those sides too well.
No, actually it IS all about you. :-) I love you, friend, and am a little bit thankful that this woman I see as so fearless struggles in some of the same ways I do. Not that I want you to struggle, of course, but isn’t that how we connect as humans and sisters? xoxo
Yes! I do know what it is like. I would say this often describes me. I too can be daring or want to let it all out, and then at times also wonder what people will think of that. I am getting better about not caring the older I get-as I realize the truth that generally if you don’t care and are confident-others won’t mind either. I still fall sometimes…fall in to that trap of worrying what people think. It sounds like you danced to the beat of your own drum growing up. I did too! Nothing wrong with that. It’s so awesome to just be who we are . Rebekah @ weliveinspired.com
Rebekah, thank you for your thoughts and sharing the ways you resonate. I think you are so right…nothing like some growing to build up confidence and acceptance of our own unique blend. Here’s to dancing to the beat of our own drums!
Humble, gentle, truthful, simple and merciful goodness for our “big” and “Small” selves. It just seems that my “little” self needs to rest more and feel Sheltered. It is good to surrender. Your words help me breathe into that place. Tender “bows” m’dear.
I love this, Kelly: “It just seems that my ‘little’ self needs to rest more and feel Sheltered.” How I know exactly what you mean. It is so very good to surrender.
Ashley – Love this and I want to see a picture of you in your Chiquita banana costume. I bet you were amazingly cute! Love the way you pushed yourself to do it anyway girl! That is the thing that bravery is made of!
I know, Kelly! I need to try to track one of those down. It was something else, that costume. I remember the towel wrapped turban-style nearly toppling with the weight of all that fruit…haha!