insecurity and bravery

My hus­band won’t sing in front of me. He’s tak­ing voice lessons with a great teacher (Tyler Kofoed, if you’re inter­est­ed), and he says he’s get­ting bet­ter, but he won’t sing for me. Part of it is intim­i­da­tion, because I’ve been tak­ing lessons and just singing a lot longer, but part of it is mas­sive inse­cu­ri­ty and not want­i­ng to reveal that he’s not great at some­thing. I did­n’t real­ize it was actu­al­ly a thing until he near­ly had a pan­ic attack after he almost got up the nerve to let me warm him up the oth­er day.

He calls me brave. It’s not a word I gen­er­al­ly claim, because I think I would back down from a phys­i­cal alter­ca­tion, and I’m not sure I would rush into a burn­ing build­ing to save cats. But in some ways, I am brave. I ignore the part of my ego that cares what oth­er peo­ple think, and when I want to do some­thing, I just don’t give a damn about oth­er peo­ple.

Take climb­ing. It had been over ten years since I last went climb­ing (indoors, but still). Ten years and, oh, 50–60 pounds. My har­ness did­n’t real­ly fit any­more. Did you know that shoes feel tighter when you’ve gained that much weight? But I decid­ed to go climb­ing at a gym here with a friend. We start­ed with boul­der­ing (stu­pid idea, but I did­n’t have a har­ness that fit), and I fell off the wall. Many times. At one point, I fell on my way walk­ing to the wall. Yeah. I shut down the part of me that said I was too big and clum­sy and weak and lazy and all man­ner of bad things, and I made some progress. And then a lit­tle more the next time. And when I final­ly got a har­ness that fit, I got a lit­tle ways up a wall a few times. And then more. And now, I’m still not very good, and not very strong, but I’m get­ting bet­ter each time, and no one has even tried to say that I’m too big to climb, or any­thing neg­a­tive at all.

I’m real­ly inse­cure about most every­thing. I know I’m smart, but I’m not doing big, impor­tant things with it. I know I’m a good musi­cian, but I’m not in top-notch ensem­bles. I know I’m kind and fun­ny, but I’m some­times unsat­is­fied with my friend­ships. I could cre­ate a very long list of the things that I am inse­cure about, but you get the idea. My pride and my brav­ery and very close­ly relat­ed to my inse­cu­ri­ty. It comes from decid­ing that my life would be bet­ter for hav­ing tried some­thing, or for let­ting some­thing go, than to stick with the old ways of doing things. And once I decide that, the exter­nal naysay­ers get the same treat­ment as the inter­nal naysay­ers: I ignore them, or, at least, try to ignore them.

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