Holly at Sseko HQ here. This month we are focusing on what it means to ‘Own your Brave’. To kick it off, I want to share with you a small piece of my Brave story and what it means to me to ‘own your Brave’.
From a young age i’ve been labeled by my family as the brave one. The first to jump off the high-dive at the pool or keep a stoic face as the nurse gave me a shot in the arm. I spent a solid two early years of life with a black eye from various failed endeavors trying to prove myself with very little height or coordination. Bravery soon became synonymous with ‘doing’ and the idea that performing grand acts like being first to test out the homemade bike ramp or later on in life, packing up and moving to another country by myself for nine months, was the only way to prove that I have a brave spirit and to gain recognition as such.
I moved to Portland three years ago from my home state of Texas. Over the course of this time, my life has looked different that what I’d initially dreamed and schemed of. The plan after finishing school was to travel the world, starting with just a year in Portland.To follow my wanderlusting heart around the globe spending time as a shepherdess in New Zealand, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, running along the Great Wall of China, and driving from Cairo to Cape Town, that was the ultimate dream. Well friends, as you can see, that didn’t exactly happen. I fell in love with the city of Portland, its people, and my job so I stayed. Every so often I feel an overwhelming panic that i’ve missed my chance, that I’ve failed and I’m not brave because I didn’t fulfill the story i’d written for myself years ago. But then I remember the reality is that I was brave in choosing to put that narrative aside and stay, and although my story has taken a different course than my original intent, it is brave too. Choosing to stay meant digging deeper into relationships, exploring the curious pulse of the Portland culture, and working to make something beautiful in this world through my work. In my moments of panic, I remind myself of this truth: my story IS brave, and I own that Brave.
When you own something, you don’t have to prove that you own it, it’s just yours. The shoes I am wearing right now are these amazing blue ballet flats (made by this really rad company i’m into, its called Sseko Designs–maybe you’ve heard of it). I don’t have to prove that the shoes are mine, I know they are mine because the insole has formed to the mold of my foot perfectly, the small mud stain on the side of the left shoe indicates the exact location where I stepped out of my car into a pile of mud ( I live in rainy Portland, mud puddle awareness is an issue). With each passing day I choose to wear my shoes, the more mine they become because I choose to live life in them, and life is messy and leaves its marks.
Bravery isn’t something we have to prove. I don’t have to walk around telling every person I interact with that the shoes I am wearing are mine, it is assumed because i’m wearing them. Likewise, I don’t have to jump off makeshift bike ramps, or quit everything to travel the world to be marked as Brave (although it is still a dream and if you’re doing that, I want to hear all about your travels please!!!) . Brave is not something we have to ‘do’ in order to show the world that we have it. It becomes who we are the moment we claim it and wear it, we begin to take ownership of it. At Sseko, we don’t encourage each other to ‘do’ brave, but to ‘be’ brave. There is a courageous, authentic, unyielding women inside all of us with inherent ownership over our own stories, our own Brave, that is different from any other woman’s Brave. Instead of putting our energy and focus toward proving to the world that we are brave and looking to our right and left to see how others live out their Brave, lets take ownership of our own story and wear it proudly, to me, that is the ultimate mark of what it means to Be Brave.
Interested in joining the Brave Collective? Learn more by visiting our Brave Collective page.