While at work, a grey haired older gentleman asked what my tattoo said and I told him “courage is infinite”. He scoffed, “No, it’s not.” I turned my gaze completely to him and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but I have to disagree with you.” He smiled, quite amused, probably making a snide comment in his head about foolish women and my generation. “And why is that?” I took a second to think and answered something short like “you never truly run out of the ability to face your fears” because I couldn’t think quite so fast but here’s what I wish I would have told him.
Courage is infinite because no matter how many fears come your way- you never run out of strength to over come them. You can give up on anything you want in life and most people do this because of one thing. Fear. BUT, I’ve read about and looked up to leaders that are regarded as fearless. And the truth is, they aren’t fearless- they’re just really really brave. They muster up their courage over and over and over again just to push themselves to the next level of who they can become. And they love themselves for it.
Yes, courage can take time to rebuild but the more you use it, the easier it becomes to use. And that is why I put it permanently on my body. To remind myself that fear is conquered through the belief in your own courage, which is infinite. And when it comes to projecting this confidence in my courage to be myself, I find that I really enjoy my own company even though I am often terrified of it. And I started sharing things with people not to hear something back, but just to make sure they know. I don’t know, I’d rather tell someone I love them just so they know instead of not saying it simply because I’m afraid it might hurt if they don’t say it back.
I know that not everyone shares my beliefs or believes in who I am or what I do or what I share, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how I treat myself in encouraging my will to share this with others. To be vulnerable and loving and 30 separate versions of Anna to a thousand different people. I’m a daughter, a best friend, a co-worker, an acquaintance, an ex-girlfriend, a leader, a stranger, a sister, an aunt, the love of someone’s life and a young crazy person in the midst of her twenties. I am all of these things to different people and have accepted these virtual realities of myself in others eyes. But most importantly, I am Anna. I am beautiful, fiery, determined as hell and most importantly- brave. I am so brave.
So when you go ahead and tell me that courage isn’t infinite, I feel so sorry for you. Because it is people like you who try to tear me down for my sheer will to conquer my fear and dream big. It is people like you who belittle me out of jealousy and make me question my faith in myself. It is people like you who I refuse to let me stop myself from being great. Courage is infinite because I believe it is. It is my courage that has gotten me through pain and fear and hatred. It is my courage that has allowed me to love so incredibly much. It is my courage that has pushed me to be inspired by my own belief to be better and work through the days I doubt my worth and value.
So sir, courage is infinite. You may not think so, you may not live that way, but I do. I will never stop believing in my ability to push through fear in order to become the person I know I’m meant to be. Because that strength will never run out. I will not stop sharing, loving or hurting. Because it helps me grow. Fear helps you grow. And that’s why I respect the hell out of those who have this quality too.
While it takes a special kind of human to believe in it, courage is indeed infinite.
I am proof.
I’m a lot.
Everyone is, in the sense of the word, however, they don’t quite display themselves as we who are “a lot” do.
There is no hiding who we are.
We will meet you, tell you our name and splash every story we have on the ground in front of you so we can piece through them together and find our connections.
We will catch your hand from touching the shards of words that have sliced our hearts open and let you hold the warm light that comes from our proudest moments.
We will gently skip over some of the darkened pieces that you’re not ready for and guide you to the largest corners where our core being resides.
We’ll help you sift through the confusing pattern of pain and pleasure.
We’ll help you understand what makes up this light we have.
It’s easy to shine bright when you’ve held so much darkness.
You’ll understand how we built the raft that saves our lives.
Why we’re so confident in our ability to dream.
Why our biggest fear is relying on someone else.
Why our independence has terrified the people around us.
We’re a lot.
We’re a lot of courage, a lot of bravery, a lot of vulnerability.
We’re a lot of love, all at once.
We will push you.
We will dive right into your story the first time we meet you.
Not the gory details, not the life-changing moments, just the food you can’t live without and if you take your coffee black.
We will constantly push and support you.
Because we are constantly growing.
Our competitiveness will never be seen when it comes to our idea of love.
You see, we don’t believe in games unless you have piece characters, dice and pink money.
And for the love of God, we do not chase a human being.
Why do you need to tell someone the reasons they should stay when they should see it on their own?
Adults make their own decisions and we will not make one for you.
When you’re “a lot”, people expect just that from you.
So you stretch and wither until you’re transparently floating, unnoticed by those who need you.
But honestly, WE need OURSELVES.
So when we’re told we are simply “a lot” to handle, know this.
We display ourselves differently.
The reason you see “a lot” is because we’re fearless.
We don’t hide ourselves from the world for fear of being hurt because we already have scars to prove we heal quickly.
We love ourselves and fight to do so everyday and we’re not going to hide that struggle just to make you feel comfortable.
Just to make you feel like you aren’t overwhelmed.
We are a lot because we’ve been through as much, we fight for as much, we inspire to be as much.
So, thank you.
Thank you for telling us that we’re “a lot”.
Thank you for telling us that we’re fearlessly vulnerable and open.
That we’re not afraid to be ourselves with someone immediately.
For telling us that we know what we want and am not scared to say so.
Because, believe me, we already knew all of these things.
We’re incredibly smart human beings.
I vow to worry less about others love for me and work harder to give that love to myself.
I vow to breathe through anxiety and put myself first.
I vow to say no without an explanation and feel comfortable doing so.
I vow to love fiercely in every way possible.
I vow to be vulnerable and real.
I vow to not let the fear of judgement control who I am.
I vow not to measure my success by the amount of likes on a picture or the amount of compliments in person.
I vow to keep some goals to myself and smash the hell out of them.
I vow to let go of could-bes and things that don’t work out.
I vow to truly take in the moments that make me carefree.
I vow to say what’s on my mind even if it isn’t what someone agrees with.
I vow to minimize the “stuff” I purchase and save it for the experiences I can live.
I vow to be open and genuine.
I vow to never numb myself to joy for fear of feeling pain later on.
I vow to say sorry less, to stop apologizing for who I am.
I vow to keep feeling every single emotion fullly and showing the world how it should be done.
I vow to call myself beautiful and believe it.
I vow to work through rejection in an effort to better myself.
I vow to have more courage to tell someone how I feel only for the sake of them knowing.
I vow to always find hope in any incredible amount of darkness I face.
I vow to accept that which I cannot change and move forward in the direction I’ve been pushed and pulled.
I vow, for one year, to give every ounce of love to myself so that others know how it should be done.
I vow, for one year, to be exactly who I am in the most kind and genuine way possible.
I vow, for one year, to put my happiness utterly and completely before anyone else’s.
I will always keep pushing, keep striving and keep growing.
I will never give up.
Oh please, just love her.
Love her to the ends of the earth.
Love her vastly and openly, let her be who she’s supposed to be.
Push her to explore.
Push her to try again.
Love her for who she is and not who she could be.
Love her whole.
Love her in pieces.
Love the way she’s not perfect.
Encourage her to love the imperfections too.
Love her to love yourself better.
Love her to heal your fears.
Love her excitement.
Love how she loves you.
Squeeze her tight and kiss her hard.
Love her so much.
Oh please, just love her.
Anna Marie ❤
I hope, at the end of the day, you’re you.
I hope that the fire in your soul fuels your bravery and the criticism of society burns in the flames.
I hope you love so freely that it scares people away and attracts the deepest friendships of your life.
I hope you spike your hot cocoa to stay warm and breathe in the crisp winter air because the contrast is sacred.
I hope you fall in love so bad it hurts and he only stays if he let’s you be exactly who you are.
I hope you always stay exactly who you are.
Never a dimmed light-
never a watered down version-
always, 100% you.
I hope you eat french fries and skip the salad once in a while.
I hope you call yourself beautiful.
I hope you look in the mirror and accept yourself for your own beauty ideal.
I hope you talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
I hope you practice kindness and stay genuine.
I hope you aren’t afraid to feel sadness and learn how to carry it with you.
I hope that you inspire yourself to be brave and believe in yourself to be fearless.
I hope you know that you can do anything.
Whatever you want, just do it.
I hope that you care for others in a way that makes them love you to the ends of the earth and fight like hell for what you believe in.
I hope your beliefs are never shoved down the throats of others.
I hope you listen to the silence for all that it says.
I hope you listen just to listen and not to respond.
I hope that you are missed by the ones you love and miss those you adore.
I hope you remember to smile.
I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself.
I hope that someone finds that light of yours and let’s it shine as bright as ever before.
I hope no one tries to take away your spirit.
I hope you never let them.
I hope you never apologize for what isn’t in your control.
I hope that you share yourself if only so you feel more confident in who you are.
I hope you never change.
I will always hope, at the end of the day, that you are you.
Anna Marie ❤
Fight ’em with fire.
Salute the fear that threatens your happiness and shake hands with self-doubt.
Set your heart on fire.
Live with a passion so powerful others are awed by your dedication and intimidated by your willpower.
Create a spark for life.
Love so fiercely that others are shown exactly how it should be done.
Set an example of grace.
Learn to embrace your pain so that you can carry it.
Stop telling yourself that you have to be strong.
Strength is found through accepting weakness, not ignorance.
Be honest and direct.
How dare you think it okay to slay someone else’s feelings simply because you don’t feel like dealing with it.
Don’t let cowardice run you from being considerate of another’s heart and soul.
Show yourself to others and stop tweaking the presentation.
We want so badly to be accepted as exactly who we are yet we are so easily influenced by the actions of others.
Honestly, truly, love yourself.
It’s not okay to expect another human being to fill a hole in your life.
Pull on your big girl panties and stop putting the pressure on others to create your happiness.
That’s on you.
Crush the myth that vulnerability is taboo.
Splatter your emotions on the wall and walk people through them.
Talk about your feelings, how else are you supposed to understand them?
Fight ’em with the fire to live genuinely.
To live openly.
To live with bravery.
Show the world who you are-
Just show yourself who you are.
Get to know the pain, the ugly, the story you are and then applaud your courage.
Stop fearing the constant expectations set on us by each other.
Love so widely and openly that it scares people.
You don’t want to be friends with cowards anyways, darling.
Keep pushing yourself, every day, in small ways.
Even if it’s just finding the willpower to make good coffee in the morning.
Don’t change yourself unless it’s for YOU.
Someone is going to come along with a hunger for the fire you have and together you’re going to light up the night sky.
Don’t settle until you feel that.
Don’t you dare run away from it, either.
We are all scared of love but you’ll never have it if you keep waiting for 25 or stability or whatever excuse you tell yourself is sufficient enough.
Be brave and go for it.
Fight for what you want in this world.
Fight the world, itself.
Fight ’em with fire.
It’s so obvious isn’t it.
Why you didn’t go and talk to that cutie over there.
Why you didn’t apply to a job that would make you happy.
Why you’re living in your small town and dreaming of the city.
It’s why relationships end before you can be too involved.
It’s why we never actually share our opinion.
It’s why we only show ourselves to those we think will accept it.
It kills us.
Not the self you project to your friends and family.
It kills the actual originality of our spirits.
We have so much fear inside of us that we constantly water down who we are so that we are specified versions with different people.
Who would you be if you stood in a room with every single person you know?
It’s the reason we don’t get close with anyone anymore.
We don’t want to get hurt, we don’t want to be uncool, we don’t want to feel guilty for being who we are.
We shame ourselves.
Why are we holding back?
Fear is sharing these words with the world and knowing that even if no one agrees with them, I still believe in each letter.
Fear is dressing up in a style that feels completely you and walking into a bar filled with people wearing camouflage sweatshirts and flannels.
Fear is diving into a person and letting yourself begin to fall because you know that if you didn’t, you’d be numb.
And being numb is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
Push your fear. Push yourself and let yourself be seen.
Someone has to start.
So let me:
I create art through so many different mediums and I am scared that it won’t be accepted.
I’ve had my heart shattered beyond measure and don’t want to open up to anyone because of it.
I am terrified of trusting people because I’ve been betrayed.
I’m scared that my idea of living isn’t going to happen the way I imagine it.
I’m worried that I’ll be too much for people to handle.
I am nervous when I feel out of control of my feelings.
I’m wary of people who want to get to know me because I question intentions quite often.
This all sounds so negative, but I KNOW it is so common.
Do you know where the positivity factors in?
I face these fears daily.
I push myself to constantly build connections and work on trusting people because I know that human connection is why I’m here.
It’s not to work a 9-5 or to buy a beautiful home, it’s to love and be loved by all different kinds of souls in this world.
And how many of them would open up?
How many people in this world actually tell you what they’re afraid of?
How many people actually lay themselves bare and show you what vulnerability looks like?
It’s because we’re all afraid.
But I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
Until next time,
A year ago, I prayed for love.
I was broken and betrayed and I wished with all of my heart for love to come find me.
I screamed to the heavens with sorrowful begging.
PROVE to me that I am worthy, I thought.
I cursed karma and told myself how hard it would be to ever trust a man again.
I hated the idea of letting someone else break me.
360 days have gone by and I realize that I got exactly what I asked for.
I found love.
No, a man did not come and sweep me off my feet and fix my broken heart.
But I sure did.
Prince Charming did not ride up on a silver horse and hand me my self-worth.
I built it day by day.
I found love through myself.
Love for the weird quirks that make me who I am.
Like laughing at my own jokes or talking to myself in the emptiness of my apartment.
The inability to make good comebacks and tenderness to cry at the tears of someone else.
I started a journey to truly love the person I am and see my own worth as valuable currency.
I stopped spending my energy on those who didn’t appreciate it.
When I did that, I started meeting new faces.
I found love.
I found friends who cared so deeply for me they would listen to me talk about the same dilemma for hours and days just so I could walk myself through it.
They took me on crazy adventures and introduced me to more and more people until I built a network of love and support.
Losing one person led me to an incredible family of friends who have loved me and protected me in the exact way I need it.
In the way that never leaves.
They have shown me the selflessness it takes to make a relationship work, friendships or any type of relationship.
They have supported me with every dream and decision and pushed me forward when I need a little nudge.
The people I have met in the past year have become indispensable and incredibly valuable.
They have continuously encouraged my self growth and self love.
I prayed for love and at the time, I wanted a man I could call my best friend.
I got something so essential to what I need.
I got a team of best friends who have loved me more than anyone has before.
And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Bruised hearts belong to the brave and the willing.
The ones who open wide to pain and shake hands with fear.
The ones who love so fiercely we cannot help but savor every last drop of lust and love.
The ones who are abused and used…
Left to be broken and battered in ash filled memories that drift like haze into our lungs.
Bruised hearts beat stronger than the rest.
We know what it’s like to feel heartache with every beat per minute- counting to ten over and over again until the day is done and we can finally breathe in our sleep.
Bruised hearts do not lack self-worth.
We value our beauty and brains because we know exactly what we have to offer and what we deserve.
We aren’t afraid to walk away from anything less than a HELL YEAH and we will never settle for mediocre.
We value the person we are and push against all odds to cling to our dreams.
Bruised hearts exceed exhaustion.
With sweaty palms and empty lungs- we pace ourselves in a life long race of self love and self empowerment.
We constantly remind ourselves how far we’ve come and the strength we’ve tirelessly built along the way.
Our bodies and our minds are a fortress that cannot be destroyed by those who try to manipulate and change us.
Bruised hearts are willing to do whatever it takes to be the person we know we can be.
A person who loves everyone so recklessly that smiles are ignited wherever we go.
A person who inspires those around us to lift others up instead of falling into jealousy’s arms.
Bruised hearts have been damaged and ripped to shreds.
We have ricocheted countless attacks and we are still sewing the pieces back together as we grow.
We will never stop growing.
Our lights will never be dimmed.
Bruised hearts will always glow.
❤ Anna Marie