Want to learn how to be brave? Step into my office.

Hi darlings,

I received an email late last week from a member of our community who has just recently left a violent home situation. Not only is she starting a new life for herself, she’s also decided to help other women in a similar situation. She asked the following question of me:

I am looking for any tips you may have that can help me embody a fraction of your strength and honesty, but more importantly, help me not chicken out.

First of all, I’ll tell you what I told her: she’s already done the bravest thing I can think of in actually leaving the environment she was in. Anything else from there is a bonus. She’s also putting herself in the service of others, which is another strong and selfless thing to do. I truly believe she’s going to go on and do rad things (I can’t tell your her name for obvious reasons, but just know that she’s glorious).

I get asked a lot about being brave. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly brave person – put me in a small space with a moth, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.  I’ve a complicated relationship with my self esteem: there are certain facets of myself and my life in which I have a quiet, unrelenting self-belief (my parenting skills, my marriage, my ability to prance on a stage in a leotard), but there are other areas of my life that may cause me to implode from anxiety and self-doubt (literally everything else).

However, it would seem a lot of you do see me as brave, which means I am a) eternally grateful and b) an excellent magician. So I sat down and thought about how I could help you guys find your inner iron, resilience and strength. I’m not an expert in any way (unless we are talking about Ru Paul’s Drag race, the early years of Madonna, or how to tell the time without looking at a watch), but I can talk you through my iron-clad thought process when dealing with the issues that I feel particularly vulnerable about.

The one that’s keeping me up most at night (besides the impending arrival of my son) is my career.

While half of my time is spent creating shows, books, merch and experiences for my community to love and enjoy, the other half is spent reminding, hustling and convincing them to consume the things I’ve made – or my family won’t eat! I left the security of a very high paying job because it stopped me from being able to do the things I love. For two glorious years I didn’t have to worry about people still liking me enough to show up for the art I made. I just made it with reckless abandon (and of course you all came anyway because you’re fabulous like that). Now it’s all on me. I’m in the middle of writing my first fiction novel and next year’s live show, and I swing between creative ecstasy and crippling fear. I have to constantly coach myself (even right now – this is like a live counselling session) to Take The Pressure Down* a notch. I desperately want my new book to out-sell my best-selling last book, so that I can compete with myself. Healthy? No. The birth of an amazingly hilarious fiction novel that definitely isn’t based on all the stories of my life that I can’t sell as a biography or I’d be sued? Yes.

The live show is flowing directly from my soul at this point in time. It’s about female rage and how we need to embrace it – Kate Miller-Heidke and I are working on the original songs, I have an all-female band, and hopefully there’ll be a dragon on stage – ’nuff said. History has shown me that if I put in real, honest and heartfelt work, you guys will show up – and that’s what makes me brave.

This is the poster from my show “The Motherload” which you guys totally came to see!

“Okay, Em…” I hear you fuming at the screen. “Besides this being a way for you to FLOG your wares to us, what is my take-away? You promised me bravery!”

Fair call, my love. Fair call.

Here is your take-away: Remember the times you rose like a phoenix, during the times you feel like a flaccid penis.

I mean if that’s not a fucking song lyric in the making, I don’t know what is. I should’ve put it on a picture of a sunrise, or some puppies, or a waterfall. Wait a minute:

There.

You can’t be brave and fearless all the time, but at some point in your life you have been. That’s how I do it. If I’m feeling unsure, I reach back in for an occasion when I was owning life. When that annoying voice in my head says “you can’t”, I hit her with “yeah, but I have before and I will again”.

I did this, so I got this.

My all time favourite quote that doesn’t involve the cast of Steel Magnolias (honestly that film should just be made into an extra volume of the encyclopaedia Britannica) is the one I put in my book. It’s called ‘The Man in the Arena’… I just change the man bit…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who never know victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Whatever or wherever your arena is, get in it bitches. You’ve got this. (I just said that out loud to myself as well! I feel so much better, don’t you?!)

By the by this week is “bring a friend week” to my blog, so your job now is to send my words to a mate who may need a bit of steel in their veins at the moment.

Speak soon.

Be brave.

Em X

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*Yes, you spotted a subtle John Peter Farnham reference. We stick together like honey and the bee, okay?!

P.S I had a HUGE response to my top 5 newborn baby products blog. THANK YOU for your hundreds of comments and recommendations. Lucy and I will go through them this week and compose a helpful list for any other preggos feeling overwhelmed by all the new info out there!

 

 


10 responses to “Want to learn how to be brave? Step into my office.”

  1. My husbands high functioning pathological narcissist mother is suing my husband & me & we are about to go to a court hearing, I need to bring out brave Kym but I often feel like anxious little girl Kym. Our baby died at 21 was 14yrs ago & I had to give birth & that was just the tip of the iceberg, I was brave then & I’ll be brave again. Thank you for your post, it made me chuckle & reflect & remember how brave I am.

    • I’ve done court with the narcissist father of my kids. Twice. Fighting for my daughter to be heard. I self represented while he had a lawyer. Plus we had the harshest judge in the family court. I was in the loo every ten minutes I was that scared. Standing at the court bar all on my own.
      He still didn’t win.
      One of my top brave moments.
      You can do this. You really can.

  2. Breast pump is a must – then u can pump and husby can get up in the night to feed, u get a night out (if u want) and just that little bit of freedom.

    Baby carrier – needy clingy babies = u get nothing done, strap them onto u and get on with ur day!

    As long as his clothed, fed, sheltered and happy u don’t need to buy into all the other crap

    Good luck with it all 🥰

  3. I am after 10 years coming out of my fight to have my crown sit upon my head straight and tall.
    I was in a DV marriage of financial and mental control then sadly got into a more abusive and life changing 10 month episode with a narc n toxic male.

    Although I made decisions that now probably weren’t the best in hindsight. I survived I won my battles of PTSD, and other flow on effects.

    I am now happy content healthy blessed and what’s more so so bloody grateful to still be here stronger better sexier and with my stand by motto of “I GOT THIS!”

    Em. You got this. Any other fellow angels out there that has pain “YOU GOT THIS”
    Dig deep. Follow your womanly intuition, find your voice, use it, lean on your family n friends and move forward every day and be present with the many blessings we are given in each day. No matter how small it is!

    Sending love courage and kindness. Xx

  4. I am after 10 years coming out of my fight to have my crown sit upon my head straight and tall.
    I was in a DV marriage of financial and mental control then sadly got into a more abusive and life changing 10 month episode with a narc n toxic male.

    Although I made decisions that now probably weren’t the best in hindsight. I survived I won my battles of PTSD, and other flow on effects.

    I am now happy content healthy blessed and what’s more so so bloody grateful to still be here stronger better sexier and with my stand by motto of “I GOT THIS!”

    Em. You got this. Any other fellow angels out there that has pain “YOU GOT THIS”
    Dig deep. Follow your womanly intuition, find your voice, use it, lean on your family n friends and move forward every day and be present with the many blessings we are given in each day. No matter how small it is!

    Sending love courage and kindness. Xx

  5. Thanks Em!

    I really needed this today! On Thursday I am due to return to a work place that has crushed me. I’ve been on stress leave for 5 weeks, which is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I was pushed to the point where I needed to step back and put myself first, a really hard thing to do as a teacher where you have so many young people dempending on you.

    Unfortunately for me I was at a point where I couldn’t cope anymore, I was being bullied by a group of 15 year olds, to the point they were physically violent towards me. I was having panic attacks daily and waking up unable to breath, along with knots of anxiety riddling my body. On top of that my managers didn’t have my back and my career was on the line. I am a devoted teacher, I love what I do and 95% of my students inspire me everyday, so leaving them because of the 5% has riddled me with guilt and hurt for letting them down.

    The last 5 weeks have been hard, I’ve had to adapt to medication and accept the fact that I’m not as strong as I thought I was. On top of that my people have suddenly become very MIA, all those friends who post “R U Ok?” Once a year, but when you put it out there that you’re falling, they’re no where to be seen. I think that’s been the hardest past, I’ve had to pick myself up and find support in places I wouldn’t have looked before and that’s ok, I’ve found some new people to be around and taking up a great hobby of axe throwing (fuck that helps).

    So I’ve been brave, I was brave enough to step back and say I can’t give right now because I’m empty and I’ve been brave to stand up to my management and say No, this isn’t right and thank god they have seen the light. But now I need that extra strength to walk back into a work place that has taken me down and face both the students who have abused me and the colleagues who have stood by and not just allowed it to happen but tried to make it my fault. I feel physically sick at the thought of walking through that door on Thursday, I’m terrified of the looks of pity that will be cast and the whispers about where I’ve been. However I’m so excited to see the faces of the beautiful kids I’ve taught for years and I know are looking forward to my return.

    So thank you Em because you are right!

    The classroom is my arena and I have got this! (Ok I’ll probably be saying that over and over again until I get through the door and even into my classroom and probably for a while after that!)

    I needed this mantra today more than ever!

    BIG LOVE

  6. Yassss!! I needed this so bad. I’m 2 chemotherapy sessions down, 4 to go after having my left boob removed in August. I’m a 35 year old working Mum to a toddler and last week kicked my ass. I was honestly wondering how I was going to get through the next round of chemo, but as you said, I’ve been brave before and I will and can be again. Thank you for the reminder. I love you x

  7. Your quote reminds me of a song I like to listen to on my “You’ve Got This.” playlist. It’s called Such a Loser by Garfunkel and Oates and one of my favourite lyrics is: At least you’re not that guy watching from the side / Who thinks he’s doing better ’cause he wasn’t defeated / When he’s just a non-entity who never competed / You’re the one who’s out there reaching for something greater / And you know
    It’s better to be a loser / Than a spectator

  8. That quote reminds me of a song I have on my “You’ve Got This.” playlist called ‘Such A Loser’ by Garfunkel and Oates. One of my favourite lyrics is: At least you’re not that guy watching from the side / Who thinks he’s doing better ’cause he wasn’t defeated / When he’s just a non-entity who never competed / You’re the one who’s out there reaching for something greater / And you know
    It’s better to be a loser / Than a spectator

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