Pull Out the Soapbox, For Once
I’ve had a recurring dream for as long as I can remember dreaming. It’s pretty dramatic really, I’m running as fast as I can from the “bad man” and when I try to scream, nothing comes out. I pretty much chalked the dream up to the healthy fear of anyone looking remotely suspicious instilled in me by my one and only paranoid mother. As a kid, she told me I couldn’t ride my bike around the block because there could be danger lurking on every corner. She told me to always check under my car and behind the seats before I got in and she made sure I called her each time I walked to my car alone at night my freshman year in college. In fact, I’ll admit I still do every once in a while. She taught me I could ward off anyone lurking in the bushes by at least creating the sense that I had eyes in the back of my head.
As an adult, I’m starting to think maybe my dream has a more real world application, especially when it comes to trying to establish a career and a name. If you could peel back the layers of my brain, you’d see a whole Seussville of big ideas and bold beliefs. Since performing surgery on what makes me tick isn’t going to happen anytime in the near future, its up to me to open up this big mouth and lay everything out on the table like a perfectly collaged Pinterest board.
And that’s where everything starts to fall apart, where my recurring, too dramatic for words dream comes to life. I start to belittle myself, downplay my goals, and discount my success up to this point. I’m not unique, because I know there’s a whole slew of us out there who have a tendency to shut ourselves up before anyone else gets a chance to.
This is why we don’t apply for jobs we think we won’t get, we don’t speak up in meetings because we think nobody is going to listen, and we don’t run for public office because we don’t think we will win.
If you’re anything like me, you always have this vision in your heard that you’re going to finally get the courage to open your mouth and nothing but silence will come out, making you feel more like a fool than you did before.
I can say that, because it’s happened to me…plenty of times in the recent past. A cheering squad believes in me and asks what I want to do in life, and even if I can recite the answer over and over in my head, I stumble through like I’ve spent 5 straight days at a bar. I usually end with “well, let me consult my goals chart.”
While having something beautiful, heartfelt, and honest written down on paper is certainly a step in the right direction, I can guarantee that when I do want to run for political office, a flip chart is not going to be enough. A “feeling” deep down inside isn’t going to be enough.
I suppose the only way for us to get past feeling like an elephant in a room full of mice is to pull out the soapbox and stand on it for once. I’m not sure how to do that, and I’ve convinced myself the only two that will listen to me are my 3-year old, who thinks I move mountains, and my 8-year old german shepherd, who will do cartwheels if there’s bacon dangling in the air.
Either way, as women, we should start somewhere.
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamkat/2916813731/