being brave

Recently I returned from being on the road for almost two weeks. I rented a uhaul trailer and left New Jersey to make my way to Minneapolis where i was to sell at The Creative Connection. I stopped at stay with friends along the way to break up the driving.

As i pulled out the driveway with the trailer attached to my car, I was a little nervous. Sure, I've driven across the United States twice alone (and once with a 14month old baby!), but I'd never pulled a trailer before. Things that I use to do without a thought as a younger girl, now as i am older, i spend more time thinking about what i am doing and wondering, "can i do this"? i'm not sure why or when we start to question ourselves now that we are older. is it because society confines us to certain rules and we get caught up thinking that we can't wear something because magazines say that "at this age, you should be dressing like this"? or is it because other people look at you and say "wow, you are crazy, i'd never do that" "or how can you stand to be alone for that long". (btw, the alone time - i LOVED it!) I do believe that society does put alot of pressure on us to behave in a certain way.

We were going to do some practicing with the trailer before we left (as being a Virgo and ex GirlScout, I like to be organized and prepared!), but there was no time. My husband tried to give me some pointers, but i was to busy trying to get on the road to actually process them. I was nervous for a few miles as I got use to the trailer and remember some of the things that he had told me. I started to think about what was making me so nervous and the more i drove, the better I felt. I like to sing a little mantra do myself when i am doing the self doubting thing. It's from "Finding Nemo" when Doree says to Marlin "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" (try it, it works!)

i think one of the reasons i was nervous was because pulling a trailer was a first for me. however as i began to drive, it occurred to me that the other drivers did not know that i was nervous and to them, i probably look like i knew what i was doing - so i started practicing what i like to refer to as "perceived confidence". Growing up in the military (Navy brat, thank you very much), there were many, many times were i was the new kid. that kid walking into the classroom where everyone knows each other am they are all staring at me. So even at an early age, i would walk in those situations with my head held high and "act" confident. they didn't know i was nervous and i certainly wasn't going to tell them. At the show, I worked hard to introduce myself (not my favorite thing to do), to talk the talk and walk the walk). i grabbed "power women" and promoted myself and my work. Not an easy thing to do, that "promoting yourself". it takes confidence and the ability to tell yourself, "i have nothing to lose". even if none of it ever pans out, I gave it my best shot.

the same can be applied to getting started as an artist, starting to sell your art, becoming a teacher and more. The more confident you appear to others, the easier it gets (in my opinion). I think it's more flattering as a person to exude confidence then to ooze self doubt. sure it's a lot of hard work. i've worked my butt off over the last 4 years, but my confidence and fearless attitude is starting to pay off. As I left a new friend on the last leg of my journey to come home, she said to me "you are so talented and fearless. I find it inspiring". As i hugged her goodbye, I left with a smile on face. That's what i want to hear - I want others to know that you can do it if you try.

It's easier than you think.

i totally forgot to mention one harrowing parking incident. I could see quickly that it was not a situation I or my friends could get out of, so I immediately took charge (as it was a young, not-so-smart parking attendant who got us in a pickle). Another part of being brave is also knowing when to throw in the towel and demand help immediately!