I’m Not Afraid To Leap…

I’m afraid I’ll actually land.

Last September, I was asked to speak at the October inauguration of the new president for my school. Dr. Melody Rose, a very prominent face of Higher Education in Oregon, was to join the ranks at Marylhurst University and lead us into the future. My first thought was, “Whoa, why me? I’m not nearly experienced enough or important enough for such a huge job.” But my second thought was, “Dude, I’m cool and I’m freaking excited!” This is something I have struggled with for many years. No matter the accomplishment, opportunity, or invitation I often doubt my worthiness to receive such things. I also feel annoying or boastful if I share my accomplishemnts with others. Sometimes this is attributed to my age, gender, or social status, but most times it is rather irrational.

In Dr. Rose’s speech (which was crazy inspiring and you can read it here) She talked about her humble beginnings and how having such a history doesn’t make one afraid of failure, but rather, afraid of success. She said, “What we actually fear is unabashed success: we fear its lure, we fear how we might wear it, we fear we aren’t worthy of it or that we will no longer have our old narrative to define us. Who are we to succeed? ” She goes on to quote author Marianne Williamson who wrote,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Even before hearing these words I was becoming better at allowing myself to be happy, proud, and even a little boastful of my accomplishments. I was allowing myself to feel worthy of invitations¬† instead of feeling out of place. I wanted to take opportunities as they came as opposed to wondering if I could even succeed in them. Sometimes things felt too good to be true. Sometimes I felt people saw me as far more than they should.¬† President Rose’s words simply gave me an extra boost to live my life, grab every opportunity I could, and celebrate my accomplishment without apologizing.

This brings me to one of the most exciting things I have decided to jump into. I have applied and been accepted to study abroad with Marylhurst University for 3 weeks in September in London, England and Rome Italy. When I officially decided to jump into this opportunity I felt in my core that it was right. This is the year, I’m meant to go. I have always wanted to travel, and I love my school so much that there is no doubt these two things together is bound to be a life changing experience. This experience will include attending classes throughout the summer here in Oregon then continuing to attend classes in both London and Rome. I will earn 6 credits toward my degree in the end. We will be staying in apartments in both places to get an even more immersive experience. Our accommodation in London will be at the Stay Club in Camden, an arts district of London. In Rome, we will be staying in apartments in the Trastevere neighborhood. We will see Much Ado About Nothing in the famous Globe Theatre and travel to the Mediterranean for a few days while in Rome. These are only a miniscule display of the things I will experience while there. One of my current roommates is also getting to go, so that’s going to be incredibly fun. I mean, wow it’s going to be so much more amazing then I can imagine right now! In the end this was not an opportunity I was willing to feel unworthy of.

Of course this opportunity comes at a price. The price tag is the one part that makes it extra hard to feel worthy. I have yet to really talk about going because there’s a part of me that is unsure I will actually come up with the funds. I have to pull a lot of strings to make this trip happen. There will not be another time in my life where I can travel across the pond for such a low price. The trip itself is $3,800, I will owe about $500 in tuition after loans, I need a minimum of $500 for spending money, and I also need to buy a passport which is around $135. I have already paid a $500 deposit to hold my spot which will be deducted form the $3,800. I have began to research and apply for grants and scholarships as well.¬† I have committed to eliminating spending on clothes, and any other non essentials. I plan to host a few crochet and knitting classes to raise some money, and I have a few other ideas I’m mulling over. Additionally, I have decided to start a GoFundMe page. Although, people may see this as a lazy way to go on such a trip I see this as an opportunity for people who live all over this country that care for me to contribute to the fulfillment of this dream of mine. This is another time I refuse to feel bad. I am willing to ask for help, and I shouldn’t ever feel ashamed of needing it. If I have people in my life that will spare a few dollars because they love me I should happily accept that contribution. I want this trip to mean more that just a vacation. It will since I’ll be with my school, but having many people get me there makes it that much more special.

I’m living my life unashamedly. I’m running, not walking, to my future. I want to be an encouragement to all people who have dreams they are trying to reach. If I don’t take opportunities when they come I am not being the person I want to be. Follow me through this adventure, donate if you can, share my fundraising page, and send me encouragement and helpful fundraising tips. Come with me on this journey, I doubt you’ll regret it. I’m not afraid to leap, and I’m trying to trust in my landing.

The ever excited,