Nine Year Olds && Boldness.
Here's another park thought in my nanny chronicles:
I write these posts as they happen and it went something like this:
I am currently watching as little girls and boys jump in sand, climb trees and laugh until they're cranky and need a nap or maybe just a snack. And between the monkey bar jumping last week and today, I'm starting to notice a trend happening in these moments and realizations brought to you by little people:
This time however, the bravery was not about jumping off the high part of monkey bars or any kind of terrified limit in their capability. Instead this was about kids, specifically two little girls and their unapologetic bravery when it comes to loving, asking to be loved and asking for what they desired.
I watched as a little girl with her neon skirt and purple shirt got down on one knee and asked a little ( startled boy) to marry her, I'm not sure what he said but she giggled up a storm and I think it freaked him out so he ran away.
But that didn't stop her. She asked again, a little less aggressively and without the kneeling, "would you like to marry me?" So polite asking, wondering if this was a desire of his too but the boy protested so much I think I had a hunch as to what his first answer might have been. The adult with him asked the girls if they were "playing nicely", assuming that the assertive girls asking a boy to marry them (it turned into a sisters wives situation real fast) were being bullies? Eventually the boy left due to his clear discomfort. But all I could think about was the boldness of these nine year old girls who were not afraid to ask for what they wanted.
And now, I'm sitting in this park having a self reflection moment, trying to rack my own brain and young park encounters for the moment when I stopped being brave. When I stopped being okay with being outwardly bold and unapologetic with confidence and desires. When did the doubt and fear of rejection creep in?
For us as women, grown up "adult women", it doesn't necessarily look like asking boys to marry us (but then again it might) now it's being bold in asking for our preferred rate for work, applying for a job we don't feel "qualified for", asking for help, asking to give an opinion or heck --even asking a boy out. When did we stop being bold ? Or more so-- when did being bold come as a hesitance for us?
I sat astounded at these two fearless firecrackers and their girly giggles. I thought about how many times I've physically hid or ran away from guys I thought were attractive ( I've grown a lot since then). I thought about all the times I was hesitant and TERRIFIED to ask a guy how he really felt about me and what place I stood in his life, sometimes so terrified that I never did and I'll never know. And even more so (especially as Christians) we're surrounded by the whole: sit and wait to be pursed narrative and we assume that also means the guy just has to try and use telekinesis to see how we even feel about them because, "we can't text them first" or we can't "initiate" anything.
Maybe this is just me living in the stone age of 90s purity culture and still have zero idea how to even like, date or really talk to a guy I'm interested in. But it is a constant struggle, either this narrative or the fear narrative sits heavy on my tongue and I hold back so much.
And then deep in my self reflection with my feet digging in the sand, I thought about every time I have hesitated to even ask for anything because of the sheer fear of rejection. I don't think neon skirt had any daunting cloud of rejection over her head yet-- which explains her unapologetic boldness. She didn't have all those narratives that most every female and probably male adult carries now, "what if he (or anyone really )says no? What If it doesn't work out ? What if I make a fool out of myself ? What if..." and that what if turns into the long list of all the things we didn't ask for, words we never said, people we never loved and risks we never took.
There's so much digging that we --- that I have left to do before fully embracing the little bold warrior in me. The one who lives and orchestrates herself not out of fear of what if I do but what happens if I don't? What happens if I don't at least try to put myself out there, ask for a "high" rate, add opinions during board meetings or conversations. What happens if I don't at least try to tell that guy, "hey I kind of like you so let's go on a date" (because I don't want to just hang out with you, I want to be more intentional than that).
What would happen if we lived so boldly ? yeah, I'm talking Nine years old, neon skirt and purple shirt, shoulders stacked with confidence and pockets full with just enough sass--kind of bold.
I guess I just don't want to be someone who lives out of regret of not even trying and instead live with the sliver of courage that at least I did. Even if it doesn't work out the way I wanted or thought that it should have or the person doesn't respond the way I thought they would or their budget doesn't allow that rate ... whatever. You put your hands on your hips and asked. You got down on one knee, was unapologetic and without fear of rejection -- you were bold and that was enough.
I was bold and that was enough.
Because then you'll have a good lesson to tuck into your pocket next to the sass and a little more confidence stacked on your shoulders. In the words of Lisa Bevere, author of "Lioness Arising" (more words to come on that),