What If?

What if we are scared to pursue our dreams? What if people think our ideas are stupid? What if no one buys our product? What if no one signs up for our classes? What if we decide instead just to be like everyone else? What if we keep our thoughts to ourselves to avoid criticism? What if we don’t make a change because it might be too hard? What if we don’t take a chance because we might fail? What if we don’t reach out to ask for help because we might hear “no?” What if no one listens? What if no one cares? What if no one thinks that we fit the part? What if we are not enough? What if we just keep quiet because it is easier? What if we don’t rock the boat so we can fly under the radar? What if we just walk the straight and narrow? What if we do everything by the book and when we are 90, we scream at the moon because we finally realize that we never lived at all if we never colored outside the lines and expressed who we were meant to be and took a chance?

What if we dance with abandon? What if we run like a 5 year old, arms flailing at our sides? What if we love with our hearts wide open? What if we laugh with our heads thrown back and our belly shaking? What if we try our new ideas? What if we are silly when we want to be without caring who snickers? What if we are true to ourselves? What if people follow our example and are more kind because of our actions? What if we speak up and make the world a better place? What if our smile ignites a spark of happiness in a stranger? What if we can rock the world?

All these questions! What do they mean? I’m just sharing fears that run through my own head sometimes. I usually live pretty much outside the box. The boys will tell me I’m “over the top, mom.” They will roll their eyes as they smile. But, they also know that I have to be me. That if I listen to the fears, I will likely shut down altogether. That I am meant to put myself out there…that I am compelled to do so, even when I would really rather hide under an afghan and quietly write or read a book.

Not everyone wants to put their every thought out there. Not everyone wants to take chances and share their ideas and design their own life…with all the joys and risks that entails. Not everyone could survive living and loving with their heart wide open. And not everyone should.

But what I know for sure, from the very core of my being, is that each individual is far more likely to be happy if they listen to their inner voice…the one that we are all born with as part of the standard package. The voice was never programmed to say “you are not enough.” The voice was never meant to sing “be quiet, no one cares what you have to say.” Listen carefully. The voice says, “You are beautiful. You are enough just by being, just by waking up, just by existing. Now what will you do with that existence?”

Maybe you will be a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher or a father or a cheerleader or anything that seems to represent the song in your heart. It doesn’t really matter…not because you are not important but because whatever profession you choose, whatever exterior you build, the most important thing is how do you allow that inner voice to sing to the world? Mine, if allowed to actually sing, would sound like a parrot that had eaten too much gravel, but the voice itself, I HOPE, speaks with kindness and encouragement. Maybe your voice teaches or strategizes or loves or leverages to help others.

Get quiet. Really silent. Listen for that voice. It is still there. If it has been damaged by others, clean it back up and let it shine for everyone, most importantly you. What you have to say matters. What you choose to do with your time and energy and love and life is essential. Use it wisely. Be your best self and don’t be afraid. If you need me, I’ll be dancing in the kitchen, singing off-key into a wooden spoon, and thinking of ways to make people laugh and to live with hope, health, and happiness. And I love you. Did I mention that? It’s true. I love you. Now, go find your voice!


Colleen Walsh