I was searching in the under-sink cabinet, the catcher of my toiletry and beauty-related crap, and I came across a bottle of self-tanner. Which had expired several years ago and was still sealed.
Self tanner isn't cheap, and even if I bought it on sale with a coupon, I threw money away when I bought it. Clearly there was a time in my life when purchasing this self-tanner made sense for me and I intended to use it. What changed my mind? What happened in the time between the store and home?
Honestly, I know the answer to that one.
Yes, fear. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of looking foolish—which I'm clearly trying to get over as I'm writing this down for all (or a few) to see on the world wide interwebs.
This fear is something I've learned to live with, the filter everything goes through. And the problem with this fear is that it paralyzes me.
My friend Heide is someone I consider to be fearless. She posts daily questions asking her Facebook friends for their opinions on things—and by the droves, we answer these questions. Her questions make you think, sometimes maybe too much? Sometimes maybe about things you don't want to think about?
Like I said. Fearless.
She posted this question recently: "What irritates you about yourself?"
Without really pausing to think, my answer was: "Giving too many f---s about everyone else and not enough f----s about myself."
And that's fear talking. Conforming, changing to fit what others consider to be appropriate. If someone didn't like the music, the movie, the socks, the shirt I like? I would reconsider my opinion of it. Maybe I don't like that song. Why did I ever like those socks? That shirt? Hideous.
Truthfully, I don't consider myself to be weak... but what is this saying about me? Because if I'm that easily swayed, then I need to rethink my stance on weakness.
It's important for me to recognize this in myself because I will not allow this kind of wishy-washy, go along to get along, fear of fucking up to be an example for how to live for my kids. Because it's not.
I want to parent people who don't do that. I want to parent people who are better—better than you, better than me, the best people they can be, making a positive impact. That's a tall order, but it starts small.
We'll learn the lesson together. Don't be afraid to stand up for who you are. Don't be afraid to express your opinion. Don't be afraid to make a mistake, because that's the way we learn.
And being fearless (even in small doses) is pretty awesome.