The feeling of mesh as it touched my fingers sent an invisible shock to my brain. The webby feeling triggered silent alarms in my brain, and my heart. It was immediate. Unexpected. Visceral.
The blue wig symbolized being fierce. Knowing that you can conquer anything, and a future of empowering other young girls and women to believe that they too are fierce. But in that moment, with that touch, my entire body was anything but fierce.
My first reaction, after taking hold of the blue wig at the Clever Girls Collective Fierce Foundation table at Blogalicious, was that there was no way I could place the sparkly blue wig on my head. The appeal of the shiny strands and wild looking mane was gone, and it was all I could do to hand it back to my friend. Deciding that my reaction was ridiculous, I forced myself to put it back on. “It is just a wig,” I told myself. Synthetic blue hair that represents moving forward and a hopeful future. Of course I could wear it.
Except that as I walked away, I knew it was more than juts a shiny blue wig that looked fun and symbolized a mission to empower women. For me, that wig, represented the elephant in the room that takes advantage of moments where my insecurities are running rampant to remind me…of my days of wig wearing and feeling anything but strong.
I still cannot put words to what happened that afternoon, and for the days that followed. Instead of feeling empowered and strong in my convictions, suddenly everything was a looming question mark. A cloud of doubt followed me, with a little voice that turned well meaning comments by friends and acquaintances into warning bells and fire alarms signaling that I was on the wrong path. Tears flowed for no reason, as I brushed my teeth, as I tried to sleep, as I walked down the long resort hallway. It was as if I had become that patient from so many years ago again…except that this time the optimism and strength that I relied on each day to make it all bearable, had evaporated leaving only doubt and fear.
Two days later, my eyes still wore the signs of too much crying and fatigue. My thoughts were still wrapped in a cloth of insecurity and trepidation. It was not until I stood before something else that was fierce….the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, listening to the deep tones of the breaking waves that I remembered.
Photo courtesy of @techsavvymama
And then…this happened…
Photo courtesy of @techsavvymama
Taunting the spray of the waves, I emerged from the waves of the ocean. I laughed. A lot. Out loud. As in from my belly. It felt… great…exhilarating even. Just like that, a weight was lifted and I was able even if for just a moment, to remember the why, the how, and what of what being fierce meant.
Each of us has something fierce within us. But also? Each of us has an elephant in the room….that waits until just the right moment to rear its ugly head. It is ok to let it impact us…we are human after all. We cannot immunize ourselves from all fear and doubt. In fact, the fear and the doubt help feed our resolve and commitment. The trick, for me…and I would suggest for most of us, is to force ourselves to laugh. To breathe. To live. To wear blue wigs. To surround ourselves with loved ones and friends that see in us things we cannot see for ourselves. Because that feeling of strength and fierceness…it is inside.