This is Shakari, she was a fangirl for a minute. We met last week while I conducting our first “official” site visit at the new Cut! by Cinemark movie theater, where we’re hosting the Chick Flick GNO. We were there measuring all the spaces, talking to all the people, and of course, taking all the pictures. As soon as we finished a quick video, we noticed Shakari taking our picture like she thought I was someone famous. Instantly seeing what was going on, Vanessa offered to take a photo of us together.
I ran back behind the bar, hugged her, and we had a good laugh before Vanessa snapped this photo.
Shakari is awesome, and I hope she ends up working our event with us. She instigated a good moment for me because we’ve been having a lot of internal conversations of late, about me stepping out to be more “the face” of the HeartStories brand. But that idea means a few things to me:
- I’m okay with the pictures and videos, but I feel pretty incompetent knowing what to do with the ever-changing tools of the social media landscape (I’m trying, but I need serious help!)
- It means, at least at this point, it has to be on my calendar. If you’ve ever tried to schedule something with me by saying, “one day we should. . .” you know this never happens. I’m a spur-of-the-moment girl, all the way, but the moment might never come. We have to schedule it.
- It means I have to pass off some other responsibilities to other people on my team. I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but I’m trying to learn to rest more, not take on more. Remember??
But mostly, it means I have to face the critics.
You see, I’ve been down this road before. Speaking in public, isn’t the hard part. Being in pictures or videos isn’t the hard part. The hard part is facing the critic. Even with this blog. The critics are constantly there with words like: “You talk about yourself too much.” “Oh, here it comes again, another story about Crystal and her family. . . you’re SO special.” “Who died and made you Queen anyway?” “Your pictures are too pretty.” “You need to be more raw, more vulnerable. Talk more about your fears.” “Why do you always have on make-up in your videos? You should go without make-up.”
Or it’s from the other side of the fence.
“Stop sharing so many stories of other women. You need to share more of your own stories.” “You don’t put yourself out there enough” “You don’t share enough in between your blogs.” “Your blogs are too short.” “Your blogs have been too long lately.” “Your message is too vague.” “What are you about anyway?”
Even while I’m writing this, my brain is brimming with stories about what the critics will say or think of me, for simply writing this post.
Because, of course, it’s all the things I get criticized for the most. It’s in moments like these when I rely on the wisdom of great women pioneering the road ahead. Women like Brené Brown, who not only faces her critics on the daily by continuing to show up boldly, she writes about that experience to light the way for the rest of us.
Her book, Daring Greatly, began with this infamous quote by Teddy Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Brené explains it this way:
“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make,” says Brown. “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”
Because the human experience is defined by vulnerability.
She goes on to say, “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow — that’s vulnerability.”
It takes vulnerability and love to keep showing up to write this blog and lead HeartStories in spite of the critics, but I refuse to spend my life waiting to become bulletproof.
I’m going to keep walking into the arena the best way I know how, just me.
Diffusing the excitement of a would-be fangirl is the fun part because she was only a fangirl for a hot minute until she realized . . . it was just me.
You have fans and critics too and at any given moment, they might change their mind about which team they’re on. Don’t wait until you’re perfect to give your gift to the world. Show up with your contribution, in love. It might hurt a little sometimes, but it’s better than the alternative of living in hiding.
Show up for your life today, despite the critics.
to more love,