What no one tells you about courage
I'm sat on the sofa, diagonally across from my best friend. We've been talking about recording a podcast episode (all about self care) long enough and today's the day that on a whim we're decided we're going to do it. We've written a list of what we want to talk about, the laptop is set up ready to go, and all that sits between us is the record button, Magic Mike (as my microphone has come to be nicknamed - it is pretty phallic) and one hell of a lot of fear.
I am scared shitless.
My stomach is doing that weird washing machine thing, my chest is just being a bit odd and I want to giggle and cry all at the same time.
All we need to do is start a conversation. And believe me, that's something we're pretty bloody good at.
But with a microphone? Nothing. I'm like a child on their first day of school.
It feels the same way as a trying to go to toilet when you're desperate but your mother in law/boss is in the next cubicle. Awkward, embarrassing and ultimately frustrating.
But I try. My best friend presses the record button. I grimace, but she starts to talk at ease. She's a natural.
And then she starts to introduce me. Silence. Nothing. Nada. Not even a giggle.
I'm too caught up in my own head - what I sound like, how I don't know if I'll say something stupid, who will hear it - that I'm rendered speechless.
I'm hugely amazed by the proverbial balls my best friend has, for going for it and starting. Because starting is always the hardest.
So we try again
This time I push myself harder, reminding myself that we can easily delete it, that I'm with someone trust implicitly and the only difference between this conversation and the rest of our conversation is an inanimate object.
I close my eyes, and squeeze my thoughts from my brain to my mouth.
And this time, words form and they come out. I'm maintaining good eye contact with my best friend as she gives me reassuring looks and the conversation flows. Because not knowing what to say has never been our problem.
And before long, I'm seriously enjoying myself. I enjoy asking questions, I enjoy hearing her views and above all, I'm ridiculously happy to be a woman, sitting with another woman, sharing our stories and putting them out there in the world. It seems pretty radical. And pretty brave.
Because it is radical. And it is brave. Putting your story and your voice out there is always that way.
But there are so many reasons not to. There are so many reasons to get trapped by fear. That's always going to be the same with any dream you have.
But some point you have the force that voice out of your head and jump.
And stop analysing what's lying in your way. You have to stop looking at the wall you've built between yourself and your dreams and stop giving a label to each brick.
Some of my bricks were about how I've lost confidence and my confidence in my voice. Other bricks were simple labeled 'I am not enough.'
But focusing on the wall isn't going to get you over the wall. And it is 100% A-OK I'd you're not the first one over the wall, or if you have to watch someone else get over it first.
Asking for help, being reassured, and doing it with someone is what life is about. And once you stop thinking you have to do it all on you're own, you'll learn that there's a whole number of people out there who genuinely want to help.
And when you take that leap, you feel scared shitless to start off with, but invincible when you've done it. And there's nothing quite like taking that risk with someone you love.
Take it from me. Courage? It's contagious.