This week I found myself extra emotional, feeling needy and definitely in my feelings. All of which are completely out of character for me… for the most part. I struggled to understand why I was tripping so hard. Then it hit me…last year this time, my life changed dramatically. This was the week that I decided to peel off the good girl mask and jump out the window. The day when others hid behind their masks, I stood bare, exposed and if I’m honest, more afraid than I’d ever been in my entire life. I was literally petrified. For the first time that I could remember, I was just Rachelle. I didn’t have to be the “church girl” or the “dance teacher”. I didn’t have to remember my posture. I didn’t have to cross my legs at the ankle. I wasn’t expected to be this perfectly polished person; I was only expected to be Rachelle. To be open and to be willing to try new things. I remember one of the last real conversations I had with my grandmother before she died. I was scared to try out for the cheerleading squad. I was so scared that I almost backed out. “Do it scared” was her advice. “You don’t want to have any regrets, you don’t want to wonder what if, so do it scared Dani, do it scared.” So as afraid as I was, I knew if I didn’t, I would have always wondered what would have happened, what could have happened and I would probably still be stuck in the bubble I’d felt trapped in for far too long.
As I took my seat on the airplane a million and one feelings ran through me. The most prevalent feeling was fear. I’ve flown plenty of times. I took an over 15 hour flight to South Africa, so it wasn’t the flight itself that scared me. It was what waited for me at the end of the flight. It was the fear of the unknown. This marked my first for many, yet I knew I was only one of many. I was scared. I’d jumped out the window not knowing where I was going to land, how I was going to land, who was going to see me and probably what scared me the most how bad the impact would be. I’d gone from just standing at the window not knowing what to think, to jumping head first out the same window, still not knowing what to think. I was scared. I felt guilty because I knew jumping was wrong. I knew my jumping had the potential to hurt and disappoint people. Some of which I knew, others I didn’t, but still I felt obligated to consider their feelings. I knew jumping could ruin so many things but for some reason the guilt couldn’t override the fear or curiosity. I was scared. Scared and curious. “Do it scared” echoed in my head, so I did it.
So here I am almost 365 days later. No regrets. I promised myself before jumping that I wouldn’t land the same way I’d jumped. I promised myself that after taking this leap I would never let fear hold me back again. I would stop over thinking and just do it. I would do it scared. So I opened my eyes, I jumped out the window and to my surprise it was extremely freeing. No longer was I confined by the quotation marks that had always preceded my name. I was scared. However, as afraid as I was I refused to allow myself to close my eyes. I didn’t want to miss a thing. I didn’t want to miss out on a valuable lesson, even if the subject matter made me uncomfortable. I had on a parachute but I refused to allow myself to pull the string. I needed, wanted and was determined to fully embrace this jump. I was determined to prove to myself that I could live a life outside the bubble. I was actually only expecting to learn the basic things most connections teach you. What you want, what you don’t want, what to do, what not to do…But what I learned was more than any jump I’d previously taken had taught me. While jumping I learned that I didn’t have to be perfect for God to bless or use me. I learned that sometimes you gain more from bending the rules than you do from following them precisely. I learned that sometimes inspiration comes from your short comings. I learned that it’s better to be wrong and learn and grow from your wrong than to be someone’s idea of “right” and stagnant. I learned how to be Rachelle. Not “church girl” Rachelle. “Dance Teacher” Rachelle. “Good Girl” Rachelle. “Perfectly Primed and Proper” Rachelle. Just Rachelle. It took almost a year, but finally, I don’t have to do it scared. I can just do it!