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  • ryanraeharbuck

Wallflower Wannabe

From the very innards of my soul, I am reserved, quiet, and dare I say shy even.

I remember parent-teacher conferences where my charismatic and buggy-eyed teachers would ask my parents if I ever spoke at home. I did. I promise I did. But if it were solely left up to me, I would certainly blend in with the paisley and floral backgrounds of most social settings.

Sure, I had friends and I was able to conduct myself just fine for a prepubescent anybody.

But then, in a matter of a blinding flash, I was left DIFFERENT. My car accident left me an immediate, visible reminder of not only that night, but now of the indiscernible normalcy that I lost because of it.

FLASH. BANG. SPARK. It took less time than that for my life to change forever.

Once my body was healed, I waltzed into classrooms and swimming pools again, just as I would have otherwise. But suddenly I could no longer blend into my surroundings.

Suddenly, everyone knew who I was and/or what had happened to me. I was left to live out my remaining days as a wallflower wannabe.

Being immediately recognized, either by my story, or simply just for looking different, I was forced to change how I behaved. I now had to prove to the world that I was not only okay, I was really great. And there was no way of doing that if I was consumed with being shy.

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and I still find myself as a wallflower wannabe. I have grown to accept that. Being out of my comfort zone arguably more times than I have ever been in it, leaves me feeling anxious and amplified.

I had to learn how to be a public speaker because that was something that my life needed to do. I had to learn how to advertise my goals and dreams, because that was something my life needed from me too.

I felt a strong, magnetic pull toward a definite path, so I allowed it. Sometimes dizzy with anxiety, I held it all in because I knew that there was a chance that I could positively impact a path for someone else.

Even as I sit here today, checking all sorts of social media stats, seeking out podcast interviews, and posting various quotes from my manuscript-- it is all with a giant gulp, because that too is so, so scary. I do it though, because I now recognize my life needs it. It's simply because this way has proven to me over and over again. This life gives me a vessel for reaching and teaching others.

That is my life, whether I like it or not. Me. I am the lesson. Perhaps it wasn't the first choice for my life, but I know with all certainty in the world that it is the BEST choice for my life.

I may not seem it today, but I am still very much that same little girl who didn't like to talk in school. Nevertheless, I also understand that I deserve to be more than that for myself and for everyone else.

I shush that wallflower wannabe, and go out into the world each day with an attempted bold voice and a genuine smile. I tell myself every single time, that everything will be okay.

And, it usually is.

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