by jenni earle
This is a big one. It feels like this bandana mantra has always been looming because it is the pillar of belief that I’ve built my life on. My life story is like that saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”: The way I came to trust myself was by wandering, eyes closed, down several paths that ended up being dangerous and nearly fatal.
You can NOT go through life with your eyes closed, with your heart closed or with blinders on and expect to end up somewhere authentic. You just can’t! No one gets to decide what feels good to you, but YOU!
So there I went, blind as a bat, down the path of what people told me was my fairytale life. But I felt the red flags pop up and excused them away because they weren’t ‘supposed’ to be in the story. I could feel my heart long for time to explore a creative pursuit and would push it away because I had agreed to be the support staff. I went on like that until I noticed that my insides had all but shriveled up. My poor ignored soul needed a defibrillator.
This is where I started opening my eyes. And y’all, I didn’t even recognize the path I was on; there were luxurious things on the path, everyone was well dressed and well-fed, but that didn’t mean that it was safe or comfortable. (You have to remember that things are differently seen than felt. Always let your friend, sister, or neighbor tell you what it feels like to be them. They are the only ones who know for sure.)
As my eyes opened I began to see signs of a different path. The signs were small and subtle at first, like the small dashes of a different color on the Trust Yourself bandana. Paying attention to one small sign, made me see another slightly larger sign. My curiosity grew as the trail I was forging felt more real. My heart was starting to feel stronger and more alive. I felt inspired!
Being able to trust yourself to not only to see the steps toward your most authentic path, but act on them, is the goal and my hope for you in creating this bandana.
The brighter dashes throughout the bandana lead you around and through the maze and ultimately take you to the inner space where you can feel open to explore your interests and make your own way in the world. The heart of which is being able to trust yourself enough to act on behalf of your own voice, without letting others– albeit well-meaning–voices lead you astray.
This comes under fire if you are trying to do something that no one has tried before. That is a natural time to feel so afraid that you turn back. Your parents and loved ones will feel afraid too. That’s ok, it’s perfectly human to feel that. But just get to that next dash. Take one more step and see how it feels. Enroll in that class, rip up your chenille bedspread and make it into a jacket or whatever the next step is. Then look around. Pay attention. What’s next?
Each new choice is an opportunity to find the life that feels so damn peaceful to you that you will scratch your head wondering what all the fuss was about. That is what happened to me. There was a beautiful fall day that I was with my boys outside. It was early afternoon and my younger son, Grady, still had his pajamas on. He and Wyatt were running around the yard involved in an elaborate game they’d made up with that was mostly pretend fishing and swordplay. They would run past this vine of sugar snap peas that we’d grown from seed. We took a whole day finding sticks long enough to make a teepee for them to grow up and around as they got taller. They would run past and pick a pea and shove it in their mouths, not wanting to stop playing for a snack. And I thought to myself, THIS. This is what I was fighting for. This ease of just being. Of not having to put on daytime clothes to impress the neighbors. Of having the time and space to create a game out of nothing. Of being guided mostly by our internal voices of what feels good and right and not the endless “keeping up with expectations.”
I hadn’t realized it yet, but I’d gotten to a sweet spot. I had followed a windy path to a place that felt like pure bliss. I trusted my parenting, I trusted my heart to know this was a moment I would always remember and I trusted the love and happiness I saw on my boy’s faces. I had navigated us to this moment because I trusted myself. I would never take that for granted.
Life keeps moving and changing. Those bright signs will keep showing up as we continue to navigate through this wild world. Keep your eyes open, pay attention and trust yourself.
No one knows what’s best for you, but YOU, trailblazer. I hope to see you in a sweet spot of your own making one day soon.
be brave, every damn chance you get,
and trust yourself