*DISCLAIMER: This is some real and personal stuff, and if you don’t enjoy borderline sappy things, just stop reading now.**
At some family function (Thanksgiving?) within the last 2 or 3 years, my dad and I were watching his digital picture frame rotate through a collection of photos he’d created to display for the gathering. After a couple of minutes, a photo of the two of us together popped up on the screen. I was about 18 months old, holding onto the handles of a full-sized slide that I was climbing up, my dad standing behind me and helping me up with a gigantic smile covering his entire face. As soon as the picture appeared, that same smile seemed to spring through the decades and find its way onto my dad’s face again. He looked at me and said proudly, almost in awe, “You were so fearless.”
I bet my dad doesn’t even remember this moment, but I think about it all the time. I mean, all. The. Time. I was so fearless. I recently found another old picture of myself, happiest toddler in the world, jumping carelessly off a 4-foot ledge in my backyard. I’m not even looking down. I don’t care where or how I land; I know it’s going to happen, and I know I’m going to be fine. I’m not scared of anything. It’s not even an emotion I seem capable of feeling.
Somewhere along the way, I buried that fearlessness. I gave in to fear of all types. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of disappointing others. Fear was never supposed to win, and yet it has been. I haven’t even been putting up a fight.
What is there to be afraid of? I’m losing the battle simply by letting myself have those fears. Those fears have been standing in the way, and I’ve been letting them. Worst of all, I’m hiding behind this fat I’ve put on as some sort of messed-up armor that keeps people from getting too close and inflcting on me everything I’ve been so damn afraid of. What kind of a life is that for anyone? It’s certainly not the life my proud, beaming father wanted for his baby girl boldly climbing up the slide all those years ago, and I know it’s not the life he likes seeing me have now. It’s absolutely not the life I have ever wanted for myself.
I’ve always known what I want from life, and I’ve always been the reason I don’t have it. I want adventure. I want happiness. I want fun. I want love. I want a husband to share my life with. I want my parents to be grandparents to my children, whom I hope I will one day look back on photos with at a family function and marvel over their fearlessness. But first, I have to redisover my own.
It’s coming. The only thing I have to lose is the weight, and you better believe that’s happening now, and it’s never coming back.
I’m about to become so fearless.