Sunday, September 21, 2014

Three Cheers for Bravery

Lessons Learned from MK & Ash, circa 1994.

If you were a girl in the 90s, chances are Mary-Kate and Ashley rocked your world. Sis and I were so into watching them solve any crime by dinner time. After all, they were our blonde-haired, blue-eyed American sisters and celeb idols. If they could do anything, surely we could too.

One of the most inspirational, thrilling episodes for me was The Case of the Thorn Mansion. It takes serious guts to go into a haunted mansion, and all these first grade babes had to do was sing a song about bravery and they were set.

Just like that, this became our own theme song for bravery. Anytime sis and I were scared, mom would remind us of the song.  Example: the time we got our ears pierced.

Three cheers for bravery!
Though tears were shed, we got through it.  And little did I know how much this mantra would help me as I got older.

Fast forward to today, where I find myself in a new city, country and continent. The things that were once familiar and easy for me are now really intimidating.  I used to feel pretty fearless talking to strangers, and now I can be such an awkward, shy creature—how did this happen?? I wondered.

To the people here, I am an estrangeira. A foreigner that isn’t quite competent enough to have a meaningful conversation. No one knows the person I once was in my home country, the network I had, or the friends I surrounded myself with. It’s like I have everything to prove and miles to go before I can do it.

Instead of feeling strong and independent like Destiny’s Child, I felt like MK and Ash on their first day of kindergarten when I moved to Brazil. Distracting myself with Legos so no one thought I was lost. I decided my ultimate goal each day should be to do something brave. If there’s anything we can learn from the Olsen twins, it’s that bravery comes from conquering the little moments that scare you.

I've tasted buttermilk, sat through Jurassic Park.
I've taken off my training wheels, used adult shampoo. 

Sometimes there's no limit to the scary things I'll do.

Yea girls, bringing it home with those lyrics. From rehearsing the Portuguese I needed to ask questions, to going to meetup groups with strangers, I decided to take on all the baby stuff that scared me. 

The other day before asking someone a question, I took a deep breath and thought, 3 cheers for bravery.  And then I laughed to myself. Am I really using MK & Ash lyrics for courage right now? 

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. So thank you Mary-Kate and Ashley, for inspiring me with your lyrics. And thanks Mom, for always reminding us to be brave.

1 comment:

  1. I can really identify with this post! I arrived in Brazil in August and am struggling with the language and building a support system. I hope you've continued doing something brave every day :)