Here’s what I know: Life isn’t meant to be lived inside the lines. It’s time to embrace messy.
From the moment I was born, nothing about me ever was conventional. I was pulled out of the womb feet first. With an APGAR of 3, I failed the first test out of the gate.
My lifelong attempts to hide have been in vain. I towered in height over my peers. Thrust into the back row for all pictures, I still couldn’t hide.
When I walk into a room, people notice. Even if I’m not trying to make them notice, they notice. I’m a person people meet once and remember.
I’ve never done anything the standard way. I instigate. I rabble rouse. I go left just because others go right. And when they go left, I switch gears. Just to keep it interesting. I like to stir the pot.
I like to experiment and tinker. I like to get messy. I want to paint with all the colors. When I cook or bake, it’s a full on sensory experience and the kitchen is a mess.
I prefer to dive into the pool. I relish my walk home from trapeze practice while covered in chalk.
I thrive on adventure. In every childhood picture, I have a bandaid somewhere on my body because I climbed and fell and got scrapes and bruises. I knocked out my front teeth. Twice. In my youth, it was roller coasters.
For the last 14 years my main sport has been flying trapeze.
My best moments have come when I’ve thrown all caution to the wind and said,
Fuck it. Let’s do this.
My biggest successes have come in the moments when I took all the rulebooks and advice and recommendations about what I “should” do and how I “should” do it and said,
You know what? I’m going to do it my way.
Somehow I forgot about that. Somehow I allowed myself to get poisoned by the choir singing the song of doubt and fear.
That’s not me. That’s not who I am. I never fit into a life of conformity. Suits and board rooms are not for me.
I’ve never been good at telling people what they want to hear. I don’t do small talk well. I can’t fake it. I don’t have a poker face.
The quality that people tell me they love about me is that I keep it real. I say what I feel. I push boundaries. I speak my mind. I test everything.
That’s actually how most of my rituals started: as tests. Does daily gratitude really make you feel better over time? Is it possible to reframe a bad day? How many days in a row can I exercise? How long can I stay away from Facebook? What’s the longest I can go without checking email? Could I possibly walk 10,000 steps a day for an entire year?
When did I become a person who hides? When did I allow the fear of what others think infect me like this? When did I allow myself to shrivel up?
It’s time for me to ask:
What’s the worst that could happen?
I think my teeth are safe on this one. No risk of physical bruising.
As for the emotional risk, what could happen? When I was 25 I flew to LA to spend a weekend with a guy I had met online, after one date in NYC. I arrived on Friday morning. By Friday night he didn’t want me around. It was a messy, awkward weekend. And I survived.
I went all-in. It didn’t work out, but at least I never wondered “what if I had gone, what might have been?”
I had an adventure. Isn’t that what life is about?
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
This isn’t about “playing big.” This is about being me.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Here’s what I know: If I continue playing small, I will choke on the gifts that are calling to be expressed.
And what’s the worst that could happen if I leap?
I fall. I fail. I get some scrapes and bruises. Maybe I lose a few opportunities or some followers or friends.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 14 years of flying trapeze: you’ve got to let go of the bar to get across to the catcher.
To be unwilling to lose something is to be unwilling to live. Because to live fully requires that we go all in. No hiding.
The only shame is in not living your truth.
It’s time to get back in the lab and experiment. Test the waters. Dive in.
It’s time to embrace messy.