Finding the Courage to Own Your Story

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I read a quote recently from one of my favorite authors…. it was—

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

What does “owning your story” mean to you versus “running from it”?  And embracing vulnerabilities?  Really? I should want to embrace my weaknesses and fears? To acknowledge them?

And yet, since January, I have been openly writing/owning stories where I have embraced my fears and made myself totally vulnerable by looking for a new relationship. I have shared my experiences with online dating….my fears and the negative thoughts that played in my mind.

In the process, I received many emails and face-to-face comments about my being brave.

Let me burst your bubble….I am not brave. When I went online, I had a knot in my stomach and felt clueless and somewhat dumb….a fish out of water. I was making myself vulnerable again… to rejection… to the unknown.

I was not brave…. I simply did it while still feeling afraid…. I decided to not let fear hold me back.

The choice was simple…. either to continue to live a rather nice life but one where love and companionship were missing… or to take a risk…. knowing full well I could fail miserably.

The truth is ….. if you do not fail from time to time then you are not out there trying.

And when (not if) you fail, you have to be willing to dust yourself off and go back.

Because the only other option is to get to the end of life and have regrets about not trying…. about letting others or, even worse, letting inaction write your story.

I do not want to be sitting on my rocking chair at Shady Rest Nursing home and thinking about the opportunities missed … the stories I could have told…. If only I had not been afraid.

The first 58 years of my life were spent letting darkness (also known as fear) dictate many of my choices…fear of failure or rejection; fear of disappointing others or making others angry at me; fear of the unknown. I have made great efforts these last 10 years to let me—to let Janet—consciously determine my life’s journey…. not the fears in my head.

With that in mind, I have been active in writing a new and surprising story about my life…. one I never saw coming.

Since April, I have gone on several motorcycle day trips with Mr. Motorcycle Man to the North Georgia mountains. I no longer wear loaner gear as I did in April…I have my own “Biker Chick” clothes.

I have learned how to properly wave at passing motorcycle riders (form a V-shaped peace sign but point it down at the center yellow line in the road); have mastered getting on and off the motorcycle by myself; figured out what to do with my hair post helmet hair while eating lunch; how to hold on and not fall off; how to lean when going around curves and not panic when the road seems a bit close.

I now understand the joy and the attraction these rides hold for him.  You truly see the countryside when not limited by the outline of a car (known as a “cager”) – you smell the freshly cut grass (as well as the chicken farms); you feel the temperature as it changes not just when you arrive…

You see different scenery on less traveled roads… a decrepit barn with 4 window boxes filled with bright red geraniums; a land-locked trailer home with a side deck containing two chairs, a table, and children’s toys; porch swings that actually have people sitting in them; and lots of American flags proudly hanging next to entry ways.

We sway back and forth on curvy roads and meander down smaller roads as the goal is not to get somewhere quickly but to enjoy the journey.

None of this would have happened if I had not been willing to put myself in a situation where I would be emotionally vulnerable to being hurt in a relationship again.

I am sharing pictures taken over the last few months… It is my hope that these simple pictures of me as the new “Biker Chick” would nudge you to ask yourself…. Who is writing your story? Are you the author or are you merely a character in your life’s story…. One whose actions and story line is being determined by others… or by your own fears?

It takes courage…. It takes making yourself vulnerable to own your story….. but in doing so you may find the stories you can then write about your life are worth the risk.

You will never know unless you try.


(AKA the new Biker Chick)

Mr. Motorcycle Man has five motorcycles (yes—I said five as in the number 5) . You may recall I wrote in March that 8 of his 12 online pictures had motorcycles in them…now I understand why. Two of them are dirt bikes…not suitable for a passenger. As you can see below, I have been a passenger (AKA a pillion) on the other three.

April – Test ride with loaner clothes on the Valkyrie Interstate

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May – Ride to Ball Ground, Georgia for lunch in my new “Biker Chick” outfit on the Valkyrie Tourer

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July – Ride to Amicalola Falls Lodge for lunch on the KTM 990 Adventure Motorcycle

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More Stories from the Online Dating Series

January – Tell the World Who You are in 3 Photos or Less – The Joys of Online Dating

February – 140 Characters or Less?? Part Two: The Joys of Online Dating

March – What You Really Need to Know about the First Week of Online Dating – Tips and Other Thoughts

April – The Benefits of Seeing Others with an Open Heart

13 thoughts on “Finding the Courage to Own Your Story

  1. Great blog! Recognize all of the motorcycle terms fluently! Now, V and i are ready to meet with you bikers and have lunch! Name the date, time and place! You will recognize us as the senior bikers in not so fashionable motorcycle clothes! Remember, I said ‘senior’! All the stuff we have is old!

    So proud of you for continually stepping out on faith! Plus, the new clothing becomes you! You go, girl!

    • Definitely want to meet for lunch but via car not motorcycle–sweaty helmet hair when it is hot is too much of a challenge! Will send you an email with some dates – know you are out a bit traveling but will find a time!

    • Thank you Al… I am trying to make certain I am consciously making decisions about the choices in my life…not just having them thrust on me. I hope you are having a good summer – even with the healthy diet options your granddaughter has introduced you to! HA… jfh

    • Well … so far the biggest challenge is what to do with helmet hair that gets hot and matted down…. still working on that. And looking forward to us getting together for lunch in September…will have lots of stories to share! Hugs…. jfh

  2. Pingback: Online Dating Part Four – The Benefits of Seeing Others with an Open Heart | Faith and Courage: The Joys of an Ordinary Life

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