Timid: Lacking self confidence; shy. Fearful and hesitant. Lacking in self assurance, courage or boldness.
This was never a word I would use to describe myself. I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. I like who I am. I love the roots I’ve created and the life that I live. I like me.
A week ago, when I sat across the table from my running coach discussing race plans and long term goals, he made a comment. He said, “You’re changing. I’ve noticed it in your running and in your writing. Other people have noticed it too. Confidence is creeping in.” I don’t think he realized the magnitude of his words when he said them. I don’t think I felt the impact of his words when I heard them, but they keep echoing in my head. Somehow he exposed a shadow I’ve been living under without ever realizing it.
I am timid.
No matter how comfortable I am in my own skin, it has to translate into the world. I go to parties, and I always feel uncomfortable. At Cole’s school functions, I never feel like myself around other parents. Attending work events with Christian makes me uncomfortable. In situations where I’m surround by people I don’t know, I hide. I am timid. I don’t stand tall and share myself with the world. Instead I’m overly aware that I may not fit in. I’m overly sensitive to the fact that people may not embrace me, my running, my yoga, and my love of nature. I hide.
Not only did my running coach hand deliver me a gift of self-awareness, he also gave me a training plan that was sure to test my confidence. The afternoon after I left our meeting, I ran mile repeats. A mile is a long, long way to run on the edge of your comfort zone. There is a lot of time to doubt, to question, to test your confidence. I almost gave up every single repeat. In my third mile, my hand touched the pause button more times than I can count, but I never pushed the button. It was an internal battle of I can’t and determination. When my watch finally beeped to signify the end of the mile, my hands found my knees. Somewhere in that mile, I left behind the girl who couldn’t. I put a crack in the timid armor I hide behind.
It’s going to take practice. It is going to take many more repeats to rid myself of my timid armor. I may have to fake it until I make it, but I am going to make every effort to honor myself. I’m going to make every effort to share my words, my heart, and my love with the world. It doesn’t matter how much I love who I am if I don’t offer my gifts to other people. Some people may not want to hang out with the girl who finds meaning in everything, they may choose to avoid the mom who ran to school because it was my only opportunity to run that day, they may not want to share a beer with a girl who feels more comfortable surround by trees, but that is okay because that girl is authentically me. The people who do stay, the people who embrace me, are the people who will help me shine.
This morning after a run that was neither measured by distance or time but instead by the ease of my body, I sat on the beach and watched the sunrise. It’s amazing how much light is in the sky before the sun peaks over the horizon, yet we never see the sun. The sky is filled with gorgeous shades of pinks and purples. The moments before the sun rises are long, quiet, peaceful moments, but the sun isn’t shining. When the sun finally emerges, when it final announces that it is here, it only takes minutes to embrace its position in sky.
Maybe it’s because Sunshine has been my nickname my entire life, or maybe it’s because the world really does hold all the life lessons that we need to learn, or maybe it’s both, but today, on the beach, I felt like the sun was telling me it is time to shine. All the light that I hold inside of me means nothing if I hide below the horizon. It’s time to embrace my position in this world.