Every now and again I will hear a song that immediately takes me back. Today's soundtrack- the late great Teena Marie's Ooh La La La. (It still saddens me that she and her incredible talent are no longer with us.) Depending on the song's era, I may get transported back to college, high school, or even junior high school. Sometimes I'm simply taken back to the early days of being a bona-fide adult. No matter where I land, after reflecting for a few moments one thing is consistent. In hindsight I always wish I'd have been more audacious. I'm sure I was very much your average young person- I always had a group of friends, I liked to have fun, and in general I just wanted to fit in. Yet like everyone I had my moments of insecurity- those times when I was too afraid to talk to a guy I liked, or worse, when someone I liked didn't share my feelings. And let's not forget the times when my friends turned out to not be friends at all. I don't regret any of those experiences because they cause you to grow. The regrets that I do have are the times I wasn't willing to take a chance, own my own power, and fully be my brilliant self. Now let's be clear, I was no shrinking violet. Yet I certainly wasn't as outspoken and outgoing as I am now. Thank God for maturity, experience, and generally giving zero you know whats.
Sometimes I wonder what if I didn't make myself small for my frenemies or if I'd confidently helped whatever guy I liked understand he was fortunate I looked his way? More importantly how different, how much better would my experiences have been if I saw myself as beautiful and gifted without validation from anyone else? I'll tell you who I'd have been if I'd done that...AN ADULT lol. Some things you only learn by living. Audacity and boldness without regard for the opinions or acceptance of others happens to be that sort of thing.
Reflecting on my past does offer me this greater lesson for my present reality- live audaciously! Every so often when the sting of rejection makes me believe what I bring to the table isn't enough, when I hesitate to speak my mind, when I'm tempted to dim my own light to make someone else comfortable, when I'm overly concerned with the opinions of people who have no regard for me, or even those rare moments when I second guess preaching in my stilettos, I think of my younger self. I can see my present-day self saying to her, "Girl please!"
So this year, I hope that you will do like me and preach in your stilettos, shine radiantly, and confidently speak your mind. And if you happen to be the kind of person who frowns upon the aforementioned activities (or maybe just the way I do them), please refer to the last sentence in the second paragraph.