BE BRAVE FRIDAY
It is always a little terrifying for me to put myself out there. I met a local man last night and he shook his head and said, “I like to fly under the radar, you know?” His suit coat was off. His tie was still on. He made a motion for an airplane with his hand. “Whoosh, right under it.”
I do, too.
And earlier this week, I talked to a woman who was telling me things they were going through at her company as they tried to do kind things.
“No good deed goes unpunished, right?” she said this with a half-frown and a half-smile.
Another woman said to me, “I know you are close to this man, but he is a snake. A snake!”
Full disclosure: I’m not close to this man, not in the way she meant. I’ve never even been to his house. He has never been to mine. We’ve never been in a hotel room together. Cough. But he has hugged me. A lot of people have hugged me. I’m good with that. I like hugs.
“Everyone in town,” she said, “knows this man is a snake.”
Another full disclosure: Once after a Rotary meeting, I held the door open for the governor who had just spoken. He engulfed me in a hug. We’re not close either. At all.
There are a lot of songs about small towns in country and rockabilly music, about life within them, about trying to breathe in them, about the goodness in community and everyone knowing your business, and about the bad apples that make you feel during politically divisive times that talking to someone might not hold your political views is a crime. That having a Facebook friend who holds alternative views on something like short-term rentals or cruise ship visitation is a crime. That when someone hugs you or fist-bumps you after a meeting, it means you are besties
It’s not. Not yet anyway.
Another day this week, a woman I know said, “I love this place, but sometimes I wish—I wish that I could just pull up my hood, put on some dark glasses, and be anonymous. But these people, they do. They find you.”
And another day this week, I talked to a woman who said almost the same exact thing, a lovely, amazing cool woman full of humor and goodness.
All these people who want to hide? They are good people. I don’t know everything about them. I don’t know what makes their hearts hurt, what keeps them up at night, what they’re proud of or ashamed of or what they yearn for, but I love them. I hardly know them. I love them anyway. Someone this week teased me and said, “Carrie, you pretty much love everyone.”
That’s true, I told them, until it isn’t.
Yesterday, a woman came up to me and told me that an event I’d just held was horrible. That’s how she started the conversation. “It was horrible.” I said I was sorry to hear that and asked her why and how I could have made it better. She gave me reasons that were the same exact reasons that other people had told me it was a great event.
What a cool lesson, right?
She offered me insight right there and showed me how different her take was. It hurt even though it was the opposite of so many other people’s views, but it was good to know who she was and how she felt. Here’s the thing I always have to make myself remember: People are always going to have their own likes and their own takes. People are always going to have their own logic and their own feelings. Even when you want to hide, go whoosh under the radar, huddle in your sweatshirt and sunglasses, some people are going to find you and tell you what they think and sometimes they will think awful things that are fiction about you or others or even themselves.
That’s especially true when I think of the three shiny people I mentioned before, the people who want to hide. The more you are out there, the more feedback you get: good and bad.
The other thing is that you can reach out when these things happen, talk it through, and remember you aren’t alone. Some really brilliant and kind people helped me with that last night. I was brave enough to reach out to them (something I have a hard time doing because I’m used to being the one who helps) and they were brave enough to reach right back and help me in mama bear and papa bear ways. How cool is that? It’s so cool! And that wouldn’t have happened without that lady. And for that? I am so grateful.
This painting might look vaguely familiar. I posted it last week I think, but I didn’t like it. There was something wrong. So, I started working on it some more–reframing it just like I’m reframing my experience last night. It’s rough and color is trying to break through and there is chaos and there is hope. And that’s what I’m working toward, too.
That’s all I have this Be Brave Friday. Maybe be brave with each other. Maybe be kind to each other. Maybe be kind to yourself, too.
And if you choose to fly under the radar or right through the turbulence? It doesn’t matter. Just freaking fly. Don’t let anyone stop you. Just fly.
You can get prints of my art here if you’re into it. No pressure.