Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine.
I was a nervous child. Meeting me today, you would never guess this.
I was afraid of so much in the world. High on the list: hell, learning to drive, public speaking, anyone shouting or yelling, being picked last.
I spent a lot of my time in my imagination, telling a story of who I would be if I wasn’t so afraid. The girls and women of my imagination were always taller and bolder than the me of my real life. They spoke their minds. They stepped into dangerous situations to rescue others. They didn’t get picked last and they never got pushed around.
I spent a lot of time also wondering, “why not me?” Why was I skipped over in the wall ball line? Why was I picked last in all P.E. activities? Why wasn’t I invited to that sleepover? Why did all the girls gush about their crush, but nobody ever even cared if I had one? Why not me?
I look back and I am so sad for little Sarah, with all her fear and stringy hair. I’m sad for her lack of confidence. I’m sad that she didn’t see herself as beautiful and powerful and important. I’m sad that she felt a need to get smaller and take up less space.
I hardly recognize that little blonde in her favorite blue sweatshirt. Surely that isn’t where I started. I am none of those things. Well, except short. And I am certainly not small. I take up my space in the world. I make myself seen and heard.
The “why not me?” of 15 years ago is such a different thing today. When I used to ask, I was quietly petitioning for some space. I was asking to be allowed to matter. But now I am demanding the world give me a good enough reason why it shouldn’t be me.
I can’t pinpoint where or how the switch happened. It is a complete mystery to me how that timid little blonde grew into this person who just doesn’t have the time to be so worried anymore.
I was told with incredulity, “You can’t just build a little house.” Well, why not? Why not me? Who says?
And I did it anyway.
When my sisters and I are told that opening our little business this next year will be a huge risk, I think about others who have made it. Yeah, so why not me, too?
Why can’t I be the bold one? The brave one? The fighter?
Why can’t I build a house and also write a book and also open a business? Who says I can’t attempt to be all the things I aspire to be?
Why. Not. Me?
I might not be wildly successful, but it won’t be because I was afraid to try.