Little Heart. Beautiful Courage.

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. – Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon’s Character) in We Bought a Zoo

My favorite man on the planet has many talents, and he gets to include “versatile, gifted musician” on his life’s repertoire of skills. A bar in a nearby town has become a pretty popular spot on Thursday nights because they host an open mic night. It’s not your usual gaggle of solo singers and wannabe guitar players. The guys and gals who show up to perform have some serious chops. On a whim, I decided to release my deep attachment to going to bed super early and go with him.

I don’t know how things are for you. But I have these weird days when my perception of myself is all wonky. No matter what I do, I feel like my hair and skin look like crap and my clothes look boring, old, and show off every flaw in my figure. That’s how I felt while getting ready that day. I finally settled on my tried and true Lily, no accessories except for my dry, summer locks, and a little extra eyeliner.

I’m a bit of an oddball. I bring a notebook with me and write my thoughts when I don’t know what else to do with myself. I use writing to help me push through my strange insecurities. Oh, and beer. Beer helps too. While I sat with my little notebook, I watched people and listened to the music. I noticed the beauty in all of it. A light began to grow in my heart. Here are some snippets of what I wrote:

  • I’m fucking in love with all of it. This place. The dirty hardwood floor. The smoke. The lanky cowboy dancing with his granddaughter. The chick with the super bright orange toenails.

  • It’s a gritty good time at its finest and I’m so in love with all of it.

  • None of these people give a shit about minimalism or running or travel clothing. But we are here, connected to the music and the beautiful noise of a good time.

  • I’m not a smoker but I inhale deeply. Let the air and the music of voices fill me.

  • I stand at the edge of the universe in complete awe of it all.

Then my eyes wandered to a rather overweight woman across the room. She was sitting with friends and seemed happy. There was a lovely glow about her. Then a familiar “knowing” came over me. It doesn’t happen very often. It requires a lot of courage on my part. Mostly because I’m still growing out of my insecurities. But I also know that I must do it or I will regret it forever.

I knew I had to go tell her I thought she was beautiful.

So here I am, bad hair day, running low on confidence, and I feel the nudge to walk across a crowded room, in front of the band, approach a stranger, and like a total kook, tell her I think she’s beautiful. Great. Just great.

At first, I really balked. No way was I going to do this. No effing way.

So I drank another beer and thought about it. My heart felt so full love for the moment. So in a break between songs, I gathered my courage and went for it. I walked across the room without tripping. I made it to her and here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi. I know this is really random and you might think I’m crazy but I just want to tell you that I think you are beautiful.
Her: Me? Oh thank you. What a sweet thing to say! Bless you.
(She touched my arm.)
This is my first time to go out in years.
Me: Well you look great. There is just something about you that I noticed from across the room that glows and I knew I needed to tell you that.
Her: Oh thank you (with tears in her eyes). I was just telling my friend that I thought you were beautiful had such pretty hair.
(Then she hugged me.)
(I smiled.)
(Her friends were giving me some pretty strange looks.)
(I didn’t care.)
Me: That’s all I had to say really.
(I smiled and shrugged. Unsure of what to say next.)
(She hugged me again.)
Her: Thank you again.

Tears filled my eyes as I went back to my seat.

I pulled out my notebook and wrote about our conversation. Then I wrote this:

Now I’m the nerdy girl in her Lily dress writing in a journal. In a bar. Shit yes. This is who I am.

The memory of the last time I felt the urge to tell a stranger I thought they were beautiful came back to me. I’ll skip the details but the bottom line is that she hugged me too and told that her husband had been fading into Altzheimer’s and that she had been having a really rough time. She said it made her day to have someone tell her she is beautiful.

For the rest of the night, I didn’t care about my hair, or my dress, or just about anything else. I was alive and full of light. Completely on fire with life.

My favorite man on the planet played like a boss and on the way home patiently listened to me as I told him about what happened and how this moment made me feel so beautiful. It wasn’t about the damned dress or the hair or my nerdy little notebook. It was about being connected to the light inside and pushing past my personal barriers and feeling myself shine. He smiled and agreed. He already knows I’m a total kook. πŸ™‚

Thank you for taking the time to read this, friend. I really appreciate your time and I hope that in some small way, it encourages you to listen to your heart, step outside of your comfort zone, and shine…

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This is me and my adorable friend Nikki on Thursday.

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8 comments

  1. Massive courage from a brave, brave soul.

    I am so envious at what you were able to do in that bar. I’ve had the thought cross my mind, but have never mustered the courage to put myself out there like that. Which is shit, because to do so, would make someone’s day. As you did with hers. More food for thought, and a new personal challenge for me: if you feel it, do it. Don’t analyze it. Don’t worry about it. Just do it.

    1. Thank you, dear, dear friend.

      I’m working on a list – more like a trail guide – for life. Things like “Always bring a sweater” and “Keep ibuprofen with you at all times.” I’m going to have to include “Never hold back a compliment.” It’s worth it. Every time.

      You make my day. Bunches. πŸ™‚

      Cheers,
      G

  2. I wish you could see me over here. I am SO in awe of you. Oh girl, I am so terribly PROUD of you. This post blew me away…hands down…best thing I’ve read all day. You made my night. YOU are beautiful. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you. I humbly thank you. It made my day that I made your night. I have a hard time reading “you are beautiful” and believing it applies to me. For a lot of reasons. And this time it’s no different. But the more I grow, the more I realize that it’s not really me. It’s this light. This strange light inside. So if you see beauty in me at all, I think it’s because you have the light too. I see it in your writing and your sweet comments. So thank you for shining and for sharing your light with me. It makes it much easier to feel beautiful. Shine on, beautiful woman…

  3. Hey Ginny…I read your post about an hour ago and for a while I was completely speechless…which if you knew me well you’d know that that is like a complete miracle!

    Lovely, lovely writing! I could so relate to your worries about what you looked like and what to wear and the blah, blah, blah running through our heads any time (well most of the time!) I go out in public. And I honestly don’t think I’m high maintenance at all…but still I wonder and put far too much mental energy into carrying what I look like even when I doubt anyone even looks at me (except my dear man.) But then once you got there…and settled down and just “became one with the place,” it sort of became a little snapshot that will stay with you always–in a fluid sort of smoky way of course!

    Then on the other side I could relate to the woman sitting across the bar from you who no doubt had her own mental stuff going on…and then you, beautiful you, had the courage to come across the room to her and speak to her. I doubt so much it was what you said instead of the energy you brought and the “light” you carried with you. Nice gift. Bloody nice gift.

    So yeah, as Nancy said it was a challenge to the rest of us to have the courage to share the light and put it out there when it shows up–no matter what the location and circumstance.

    Hey, you’ll have to let me know if you’re husband is going to be playing anywhere close to where we live…I’ll be sitting across the room from you…or maybe better, right next to you.

    Til then…~Kathy

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I took a day or two away from this post after I wrote it. I felt so exposed. When I wrote it, I felt so compelled to put it out there. And then I kinda just wanted to go “hide” from the fact that I published it. I am my own conundrum. πŸ™‚ Thank you for making it easy for me to be real.

      I like “became one with the place”. It’s nice to know that other people know what that is like. So often (um…most of the time) I feel almost like an alien on this planet, observing and absorbing. It feels like such a wonder-full privilege to be here at all.

      Your words are always so encouraging and uplifting. I’m so grateful that the art of writing has lead me to you. YOU are a light to me.

      Shine on, beautiful lady…

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