Get Back to Brazen – A Story Plus 3 Reasons Why
Brazen means exceptionally bold. Shameless. Saucy and forward. Marked by audacity and transparency. To unapologetically buck social convention. TLDR – here’s the short story about me and brazen. I grew into brazen-hood during adolescence. Then undid it in early adulthood. And have finally gotten back to brazen in my mid-30s. Ready for the long version?
Cue: The shy and anxious childhood years
I was a very shy kid, folding into myself for psychological safety and refuge. I hated being alone and kept a picture of my mom spritzed with her perfume taped to my school desk until fifth grade. I was barely audible to anyone outside of my closest family. I cried easily. I predicted the worst and planned for it…a constant terrifying ticker tape running in my head. Wowzer. How would I ever navigate this world?
Cue: Tweenhood and teenhood
During my tween and teen years, I connected with a small group of brazen besties. I am forever grateful for these people, several of whom are my closest friends today. They owned everything about themselves. And they did so in a community that was judgy of people who didn’t fit into “The Box”. I jumped headfirst into my community, exploring my identity as a friend and ally, sexual being and romantic partner, writer and student, and counselor and advocate. This was a messy time and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I AM doing it again! But I’m getting ahead of myself as usual.
Cue: Lots of academic degrees
Academia breaks you down before it builds you up. It’s like a bad date. You know, that person who says you’re wonderfully awesome in one breathe and then jabs at your sorest spots in the next. Yeah, it can be just like that. I’m not sure what the “building up” part looks like in academia because I never made it that far. But I can def tell you alllllll about the breaking down process. Academia was a long run in the hot sun searching for validation. And I ran hard. I chased my own self-worth through two master’s degrees, three clinical licenses, a doctoral degree, one postdoctoral fellowship, and then another one. All the while, I never really felt like part of the elite academic club. I learned that I was a bit too brash to fit into the hoity toity circles. But, I was touted as a highly productive graduate student who would surely “make it” in academia largely due to my grit and work ethic. My three academic mentors saw the Real Me and worked tirelessly to help me see it too. Yet, the loud narrative of “I’m not good enough” overpowered their pleas for me to embrace authenticity. I worked and re-worked who I really was to fit into this world of peer-reviewed articles, conference presentations, and research grants. I was going to make it, no matter what. And I did.
Cue: My first “real job”
I was finally recruited by one of those hoity toity places. I took my dream job and relocated. I had made it. Little did I know, I’d actually reworked myself right into a place that didn’t value what I had to offer. And they told me this every day in both direct and subtle ways. True to form, I spent the better part of two years trying to fit my round peg butt into yet another square hole. I did it. Again. And soon enough I was unrecognizable to myself and to those closest to me.
Cue: Getting back to brazen
With boatloads of support from my friends and family, I decided to just stop for a sec. Stop to breathe and regroup. I took a job that centered my core values with a group of loving individuals dedicated to supporting teens and families. I leaned deeply into the decades-long relationships that laid the foundation for my identity. And I got back to me. I got back to brazen. Bliss In Being LLC was born from the simplicity of knowing the worth of what I have to offer. And, wanting to make that offering available to others in the spirit of love, connection, and authenticity. Need more evidence for why living a brazen life is the way to go? Here it is:
1. You lovingly embrace EVERYTHING [yes, everything] about yourself.
The shame we carry around is heavy as hell. And it’s not the type of shame that might lead to some healthy reflection about a seriously regrettable choice we once made. It’s shame about not attaching the damn document in an email to our boss. It’s shame about being late for a coffee date. It’s shame about not following the same milestones as your friends. It’s shame that keeps us up in the middle of the night remembering something mean we did in the third grade! This constant flagellation in the guise of self-improvement has to stop. Brazen women examine their choices and constantly strive for self-improvement. Why? Because we’re awesome exactly as we are today, and we want to be better. Self-improvement doesn’t come from a place of being “bad”, “wrong”, or “less than.” It comes from a place of genuine self-love and the belief that the world needs the absolute best version of ourselves. When we lovingly embrace all parts of who we are, we can gently transform the prickly parts.
2. You honor your body.
My body and I weren’t always friends. I have been pretty critical of my shape and sometimes went on extreme diets because I wanted to change how I looked. I know I’m in good company. It was only after I completed an intensive program on affirmative body image and intuitive eating that I started to really honor my body. Brazen women celebrate their bodies and dress for who they are today, not for some “soon to be” thin person. We engage in gentle nutrition to feel energized, alive, and nourished. We wear tank tops and shorts. We wear bikinis. Let me repeat that. We. Wear. Bikinis. We teach others how to treat us and advocate for women to love their bodies at any size.
3. You connect deeply and quickly.
When you are unapologetically self-expressed, some people will love you and others will hate you. But guess what? You learn pretty quickly who is in which camp. And, you can connect deeply and quickly to those in the love you camp. The people who love you will give you feedback because they want to help you remove barriers to success. Embrace their views and take them to heart. People who love you also respect the decision you ultimately make for your life. These relationships are bliss. Enjoy them and cultivate them.
I want you to know — I believe in you infinitely. I believe in the person you were yesterday, the person you are today, and the person you will be tomorrow. That’s why I’m asking that you show-up as your badass brazen self and do a little bit of self-reflection and share your thoughts in the comments below…
What is the story arc that led you to brazen?
HINT: Take a lesson from Ernest Hemingway – WRITE HARD AND CLEAR ABOUT WHAT HURTS. (And lastly, be sure to sign up for my free newsletter to receive blog updates!)