Leap and Swing

by Amy Shoemaker

Like an elephant on a trapeze, I take the leap.

If I stay on the ledge gripping the bar, where am I?  Stuck. No thanks. That’s not where I want to be. I’m determined to stick my ‘trunk’ out whether I fall or not. 

I have a habit of second guessing myself. Then recently, I was pointed toward a TED Talk on the Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown. It was exactly the push I needed.

With an illness that is constantly slowing me down, I’m in a daily battle of being good enough. I measure my worthiness by productivity and purpose. Time and energy are not my friend. My passion often takes a back row seat. 

This year, I made the decision to change something. I began focusing more on putting myself first. In that process I took a closer look at what I love and what I want. One thing I feel strongly about is the awareness of invisible disorders. 

My first leap was to start a blog. And boy, I have to tell you, the more I freely talked about my illness, the scarier the jump became. So why do it? Because hiding is perhaps worse than the illness itself. I have to stop being ashamed of it. I’ve spent a lifetime embarrassed.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “I have lost my smile but don’t worry the dandelion has it.” 

When I am silent, my smile is hidden or fake. When I allow myself to be vulnerable, to show my true self, my lips curve upward and my heart is filled with joy. With the possibility of failure, I hold on tight and swing toward the monkey.

My second leap began March 1st. In attempts to promote my support group, MSG411, I recorded a public service announcement on a local radio station. Here I go again. Leap and swing. Look out below…! 

Not everyone wants to talk about being ill. Though, I truly believe having a chronic disorder takes courage in itself. It takes a mammoth amount of bravery to keep going, to dress, walk out the door and face the world. Every effort you make is a jump into the unknown. 

As a warrior trapeze-artist, I have net of support. Kind words and gestures of faith from friends and family, have help me through the pain. When I am in full mode pain, pull my eyeball out, hit me with a hammer, my dandelion is wilted. But when I have support, I’m able to blow the feathery seeds, make a wish and have hope. I get through it and find my true smile again. I am blessed. Yet, I would have never found my blessings if I hadn’t first planted a dandelion seed.

Brent’s a funny lady. Totally worth watching. Brené Brown’s link here…




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