Today in the Inspired series, we are hearing from another blogger favorite of mine, Bailey of Brave Love. Bailey is a girl who gets around! She has been busily moving over the last couple of months, first from Seattle to Texas and now to Oklahoma for grad school. She is kind enough to share her journey and goals with her readers in a very honest way all while giving praise to God.
I'm excited to have her here to share about a person who inspires her to be authentic. Take it away, Bailey...
You may not know this, but I am an actress. I have devoted the past nine years to pursuing theatre, telling stories as authentically and beautifully as I can. Along the way I have encountered many unique and memorable characters, and I'm not just talking about the ones in my scripts. Theatre people are among the most uniquely wired individuals, each with a story of their own and a knack for inviting you into the worlds of others.
What was startling to me when I first jumped into this world and profession were the acts said theatre people maintained in their daily lives. Many, but not all, kept up a front that made it hard to get to know the deepest parts of them, the vulnerable places that tie hearts and hands together. We're performers by nature, always wanting to be the best or biggest version of ourselves. Sometimes it's hard to let that guard down. We're told to be perfect, and it feels dangerous to be anything less than.
Two years ago I met a beautiful young woman named Devin, and I am not exaggerating when I say she has changed my life. I say she is beautiful because there is no other word to describe this gal and her heart. Actually, come to think of it, authentic would be my only other choice. No one loves, lives, feels, or breathes as deeply as she does. Devin is my grand-little. In our college theatre department the freshmen are given a big brother/sister figure each year, and she is part of my theatre family. Devin swept me away with her easy flowing laughter, her desire for life at its fullest, and the sensitivity with which she sees this world and those in it. Five minutes with the girl and I knew I wanted to be her when I grew up.
No one has made me feel as safe, beautiful, or valued as she has. Whether it was on a post-rehearsal frozen yogurt date where she knew every student that walked through the door or one of our many midnight tears-and-prayer sessions in the dorm parking lot, she was never less than fully herself.
On my blog, I have written several times about what I think it means to "be you, bravely." I've asked others and gathered many opinions, and over time I have learned that I feel most free to be bravely me, to be truly authentic, when someone else steps out first. I can't pinpoint it to one conversation, but Devin paved the way for me to be unapologetically myself, emotions, fears, dreams and all. An inspiration in many ways, she is also immensely talented (and humble) musically. I have spent many days lying on her couch, listening to her play and sing (listen to Devin here. She has a gorgeous voice!), and her songs have brought encouragement in many of my recent seasons. The lyrics are rich and straight from the soul, and I'd have to say it is brave of her to put her heart on the line like that. But she does it again and again, and it works more wonders than she probably knows.
Don't we all want that? To be truly authentic and unapologetic? Graceful, humble, and impactful? I know I do. But I often find myself waiting. If I am in a room full of strangers, or even at coffee with one other person, I hesitate. I hold my breath and wait for them to drop the drawbridge first. But what if we knocked down our walls without a second thought? What if we paved the way for others to be authentic by letting them in to our worlds first? Oh, what a powerful thing that would be!
Think about it. Next time you're at coffee and someone asks you, "How are you?" really answer them. Lay it out there. Trust your gut on this obviously, but if you trust them, let them in. Don't wave it off with a "I'm busy but fine," or "Eh, I'm okay." Pull people into your circle. You need everyone in the fighting ring with you that you can get. Then maybe, just maybe, they will let the wall down, too. Your bravery, your authenticity will show them there is hope, strength, and freedom to be had. And maybe together you can build one another up, using the stones from those same walls to build a platform, a stand onto which you can gather others on too. A tidal wave of authenticity. Wouldn't that be something!
Beautiful, Bailey! Thank you for sharing with us today and good luck in grad school! :)
You guys should go check out Brave Love, and have a wonderful Wednesday!