I’m declaring this the year of being bold, I wrote with only a few hours left of my twenty-fourth birthday. Of being bold and assertive. Of pursuing dreams until God closes the door. I want to build a life that has meaning, and that it will involve doing hard things and being uncomfortable.
Such a declaration was nothing close to an automatic miracle. Waking up the next morning, all I could think about was the fact that I’m near a quarter of a century old, and its way past the point of being time. I’ve wrested with selflessness versus taking charge of my needs and desires for most of my life; I’m not necessarily afraid of rejection itself, but more so the reasoning behind the rejection. It’s almost like I would rather live with the potential outcomes than face reality head on. As I’ve said previously, the possibility of getting what I want is a lot scarier than not doing so. It comes down to having more to lose, and not wanting to subconsciously take responsibility when I might not be at fault.
For a time I associated such a word with class and sophistication, combined with a take-no-prisoners attitude. I envisioned women in colored blazers with heels, flawless eyeliner and jangling jewelry. They’re the Beyoncé’s and the Taylors and the Lady Gaga’s of the world. Bold embodies the women I met when I was sixteen years old, and have looked up to since high school. It’s strange to say that I’ve never sensed that in my own being; I’ve more so identified as the shy one, the unsure one, the one who spends way too much time overthinking and preparing for the worst. I’ve hidden away and longed for more, and regretted it every time.
When I do step up, when I take a risk and go after something, I feel a lot better afterward. More confident. Free. No longer carrying a huge weight on my shoulders. Even if things don’t go way that I’d like them to, at least I can move forward and keep my anxiety levels down. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but it’s what I need to do it order to grow. It might be the writer in me, or it might just be the perfect time to begin tapping into who God made me to be.
This newly lit fire in my heart is a tough one to explain, and the pieces will come together in their own time. Based on past experiences, I’m well aware of the fact that I’m capable of taking risks, and making things happen one way or the other. I once stood in front of my entire seventh grade class and read a poem that launched my writing career. I went to both high school and college in completely unfamiliar territory, and wound up meeting a number of people that changed my life for the better. I don’t have to be an expert to understand that I have it in me, and that it’s more so a matter of manifesting that kind of courage on a regular basis.
Assertiveness has many definitions, but it boils down to keeping it simple and using your time wisely. Ask for whatever it is, without embellishment or justification. I’ve never heard anyone mentioned above try to explain themselves or hand out reasons like candy; they do what they do and don’t apologize for bringing up uncomfortable subjects. Bear in mind, it’s not always about the big and monumental that go the distance. God needs people to move mountains, but I can imagine that He has just as much of a need to tackle the small things as well. Never underestimate the power of a single voice, the determination of one, or the impact of what might look tiny, but has a lot of momentum behind it.
It’s what dark horses are made of.
Proclaiming it is one part, and living it out is another. I would rather let people make their own judgements and critiques, because trying to convince anyone to see from your point of view is like running on a hamster wheel. I go with the expectation of learning and evolving and becoming…nothing else. It takes patience and perseverance, but I’m confident that it can become second nature as time progresses. I’m sure I’ll stumble and shrink back into old habits, like waiting until the “right” moment or set of circumstances to take action. I’ll probably overthink and over-analyze until I’ve worn out my slippers, and I hope that my loved ones will hold me accountable for that.
Celebrating a general new year is great, because it’s where we can recognize that we’re all human and we long to make something of ourselves. But there’s something about birthdays that’s just as special; it’s a more intimate and personal way of starting over, of celebrating all that you are and where you’ve been. The choice to be bold is not necessarily about starting over, but a continuation of what has been in the making for close to ten years. I’m just digging a bit deeper, my voice is becoming a bit louder, and my self-image is becoming sharper. When I really think about it, I’ve haven’t accomplished anything without taking a chance, along with asking for and accepting help along the way.
Here’s to the bold ones: the ones that stand up, show up, and shine because they were created to do so. May our actions demonstrate our words, and our lives become testaments of strength and continuous butt-kicking. May we lead by example, making an effort to know and understand as much as we want to be known and understood. And here’s to the loneliness,beauty, determination, frustration, triumph, and all that comes with it.