Invisible. Unnoticed. In the shadows. Missed entirely.
Do you know the feeling?
Is the label attached to you the by-product of something or someone else? The new assistant to Mr. CEO. The daughter of so-and-so. The wife of Mr. “VIP”.
But you…you, at the deepest level, are who exactly?
It took so much courage to sign up for stage crew that year. What I really wanted was to boldly audition for a role in the musical but I’d never stand a chance. I couldn’t sing and I wasn’t sure I could act. To audition meant to set myself up for rejection. Stage crew was a safe bet. Scary, sure, but better than hiding behind my insecurities and doing nothing; for now, hiding behind the stage would do.
Imagine the envy I felt when my nearest and dearest friend who I loved more than anyone…my sister, Terri…was in one of the leading roles. Yes, my younger, straight-A, popular sister who I loved and hated with one breath. The sister who seemed to soar through high school without a glitch. Then there was me…my insecurities eating me alive.
When the musical ended, we decided to host the wrap-up party for the cast and crew at my parent’s home. Because we lived 9 miles and several turn-offs south of town, a map was required. A friend of my sister took it upon herself to draw out a map that would be distributed to everyone. Imagine my excitement in having all these people come to “my” home!
Then I saw the map. There, directly above a drawing of our home, lunging at me like a sucker-punch right to the gut, were the words “Terri’s house”.
Ouch. From co-host to nobody in one hand-drawn map.
I made the terrifying and incredibly painful decision to strike out on my own in the form of a boarding school 1000 miles away. The distance and fresh start were my only hopes of figuring out who I was and what my future might entail. While it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it taught me that in order to find and share my voice, I would have to step out of my comfort zone and face incredible challenges. Only then did I begin to emerge from the shadows.
Years later, I’m grateful for that painful yet pivotal moment. I knew finding myself was my only hope of finding any type of satisfaction or purpose.
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