From On the Sidelines to In the Game

“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”    

-Brené Brown

Last week I had the pleasure of being featured in the Cannon Beach Gazette: “Everyday People – Cannon Beach local brings a love of fitness back home”. It’s been a loooong time since I’ve received such a highlight. The interview and article reminded me of my days in 2005 when I actually worked for the Seaside Signal in Seaside, Oregon.

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It was a fun journey of creating a new design for the Signal Sports section with my Editor Rebecca Herren. I became involved in every single sport that passed through Seaside High School. Photographing games, writing stories to highlight every day hero’s, and making a conscious concerted effort to give a fair share of attention to as many different sports and athletes that I could.

At this time in my life, like the article highlighted, I was over 300lbs tacking on some of the dread and regret that I’d earned throughout my college years. I’d quit playing full time sports and really got lost in a sea at University still feeling unsafe and unsure of living my truth. At that point in time I didn’t know how to process my emotions and I didn’t know what empathy even was. Boundaries? What are those. Co-dependency? Not me.

“I was also On the Sidelines of my very own life.”

As I covered the Seaside sports teams travelling all over the Pacific Northwest a monthly editorial arose out of me. I aptly called it “On the Sidelines” chuckling quietly to myself at the ingenuity of the name. It was a direct play and pun on my position at that time. Obviously as a reporter/photographer and former Seaside athlete I was literally on the sidelines of my former life and every current sporting event. But secondly, and deep down inside I knew it to be true, I was also On the Sidelines of my very own life.

As an adult, I was never quite sure of how to “get in the game”. Do I just follow the rules? Do I trust my intuition and ask more questions? Do I speak up and call out BS when I see it? What do I do? How do I live a better life?

I’d become exhausted by the constant battle that had brewed inside of me. Not knowing of any outlets, or people who were willing to engage in “real talk” beyond “the weather” or what I “should” be doing. Not calling anyone out here though, because admittedly I was also one of those people, I didn’t know how to talk about how I really felt, what I really thought about things, and what I really wanted to do with my life.

Being an external facing introvert didn’t help either. I never reached out for help. I kept it all inside.

I suppose this is the turning point of the story where I say “the lights just switched on one day” or “I had an epiphany”, or some life changing thing happened and I just woke up READY TO LIVE.

But one specific thing didn’t happen…

It took years and years of self inquiry and self discovery.

Do I really want to live my life on the sidelines?

How can I really contribute?

Whose rules am I playing by?

THIS. IS. MY. LIFE!

It took years of vulnerability and being courageous day after day. Making the choice to dive deeper. To learn about empathy. To actually talk about my feelings. To learn to listen to life and others. To embrace my experience and perspective in this life.

Opening up to new possibilities took a humility that I never knew existed within me. Learning to understand other people’s experiences and their need for their lives to be set up the way they are, but also understanding that their “way” did not work for me and that that was OK.

The Quest of self discovery, of The Hero’s Journey, is still ever present, but I am here to say that when you embark on the Journey of living YOUR best life doors will open for you, clues will make themselves visible, and you my friend, all you need to do is Listen and Take Action.

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Then do it again. Listen and Take Action.

We all play on the sidelines in some form in our lives to either hide or let others shine. For me, it was always a survival tactic. I never really felt safe enough to just live and be.

Whether it’s not living our truth, speaking our truth, hiding secrets, or just plain out living below our actual capacity because “everyone else is doing it” essentially we are only cutting ourselves off from possibility.

The magic happens when we begin to live fully, express ourselves creatively, and bare our vulnerabilities courageously. Which isn’t always easy, but it is ALWAYS worth it.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented, Fabulous? Actually, Who are you Not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. As children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our own Light Shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

 

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