When I was in first grade I was chosen to be in the homecoming court. I can’t even think of what my role was called right now, but I was the little girl who stands beside the little boy and carries a bouquet of roses for the queen. It was an honor and my family was excited, but I was not.
I won’t do it, I told them.
There was no way this shy little girl who wouldn’t even raise her hand in class if she knew an answer, was going to walk out in front of everyone during a big school event. Not the lure of a new dress, not the idea of looking like a princess for a day, not even money could make me want to do that.
Until they offered the one bargaining chip I couldn’t refuse, a puppy.
On the evening of the homecoming I walked out in my new green velvet dress and carried the roses with my heart pounding and butterflies banging around in my chest (and they bang, they don’t flutter) and the next day I picked out a fluffy little red and white puppy who was my best friend for the next 12 years.
I’m reading Jon Acuff’s new book Start and it’s making me think a lot about what gives me joy, what makes me afraid, and how I can be the best version of me. (There’s a link on the sidebar if you want to pre-order his book.)
What does that have to do with my first grade homecoming experience?
It was one of my first real experiences with fear. I consider my Kindergarten year to be a gentle introduction to fear, but first grade was a real world introduction to fear which included life-changing episodes such as in front of class corporal punishment, reading aloud, and timed math quizzes. At least the homecoming fear experience ended positively.
There are still a lot of opportunities that come up in my life where I have the same reaction I did in first grade: I won’t do it. And most of the time it’s because of fear.
And oddly enough there aren’t a lot of people around to bribe me with a puppy these days.
Monday I’ll tell you a recent thing I did that made me afraid and what I did about it.