Fearlessness of Youth
What is is about being young that makes you think that you are invincible? I remember when I was young, maybe 8 or 9, and visited my family in Trinidad. Trinidad is notorious for its steep hilly roads that seem like they are almost at a ninety degree angle. Anyway, a favorite game that my cousins and I liked to play involved us going to the top of a road, putting on a pair a skates and then pushing one another off the top so that we would go flying down the inclined street at top speed. How insane? We had no regard for people, traffic or just the overall danger of it all. All I remember was the blissful freedom I felt when I was pushed. My arms outstretched, the rush of wind in my face. I would even close my eyes sometimes so that I could imagine I was actually flying. I was totally oblivious to how reckless this activity was. The high I received from this gliding escapade was so intense that the moment I arrived at the bottom, I immediately wanted to relive it again and again. Even falling and scraping my arm when once my skate fell in a crack in the road didn’t stop me. Simply put, I was FEARLESS.
Fearlessness seemed like it was a prevalent theme even in my years as a teenager and young adult. However, this time it translated into my complete disregard for the thoughts and opinions of others. I could care less what others thought. I paid no nevermind to whether others thought I was a nerd or dressed funny or had bushy hair- as I often did. In fact, I set myself out not to follow the crowd and to purposely go left if I noticed that everyone was going right. This ultimately manifested itself in odd ways, usually related to my choices in fashion. It was not uncommon for my dad, when calling me down to leave for school, to yell, “But, wait! Wha di hell yu hav on?!” or “How yu goin’ to school lookin’ so?!”. His objections were no doubt warranted with me likely wearing my clothes inside out, backwards or better yet my opposite design. That’s where I wore a shirt with one long sleeve and one short sleeve and pants with one side long and the other short. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t cute, and if you thought otherwise- I was oblivious to the fact. That, with my big bushy natural- long before it was embraced- made me feel that I danced to the beat of my own drum. The best part was that just as my father would order me upstair to change, because “dis time the gurl don went too fa!”, my best friend would ring the doorbell wearing the exact same thing. My dad would then yell out to my mom, “Luk na, she hav a twin!”.
That was me, for a long time. Fearless. Invincible. The words “no” and “can’t” didn't act as extinguishers for my dreams or visions, they were words that stoked the flames. I sometimes even craved to hear “no” because it motivated me, pushed me, drove me to do it bigger and better than I would have done it before. Failure wasn’t even a word listed in my vocabulary. Whenever, there was something I wanted to try or an idea I had, I would simply push myself off that steep hill with my eyes closed and my arms stretched wide, open to landing anywhere. And if it didn't work out, I did not wallow in the failure but reveled in the fact that I tried and could try again.
My goodness! Where the hell did that person go?
With time and age comes increasing responsibilities. Maybe I was fearless early on in life because the stakes weren’t as high. I was selfish in every sense of the word and was well aware that anything I did ultimately only ever affected me. However, tack on a husband and kids and suddenly the stakes become a lot higher. Suddenly, we all begin to think more practically and our eyes remain open and focused on what’s ahead. We’re encouraged by our parents to stay on the “safe” path rather than the one less traveled. Look before we leap. Our dreams and ideas take backseat to the dreams and goals of our family and most importantly our children. Before you realize it, years have passed and you spent so much time helping others fulfill their dreams, that you forgot about your own. Then there is the FEAR. Oh, the crippling FEAR! What if I fail? Maybe, I’m too old? What will people say? It’s just not the right time. I don’t have enough money.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
I saw a meme on instagram the other day, that read:
DO IT SCARED.
DO IT BROKE.
DO IT WHEN THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND.
DO IT IN IMPERFECTION.
DO IT ANYWAY!
Surprisingly, that awakened something in me.
So, I’m powering down the pragmatic person that I have become. I want to be invincible and fearless again. I want to be the person who’s propelled to follow those tucked away dreams in order to live my best life. I plan to reboot the entire system so that finally I am stepping out of fear and into the realization that it is never too late to become the person were always meant to be.