Showing up. Take a moment to think about these two words.
Think of the number of times you showed up to things, events, meetings.. today.
Think of the number of times you showed up when you were feeling great and it was easy.
Then think of the number of times when the thought of showing up was hard, let alone doing the action of showing up itself.
On November 1st I showed up and I proudly did so. As you may know i've struggled with severe arthritis for a number of years. I have great days and bad days. The "bad" days seem to be increasing lately and for a while I let it be a barrier to having me show up to things. But yesterday I wanted to show up to support the Jordanian American Association of DC (as I am part of the Executive Committee) to hear from an inspiring speaker, Dr. Julia Nesheiwat. But I knew I couldn't go in flats or heels because of the arthritis in my feet.
I was nervous about showing up to the IMF (a large prestigious organization) in my tennis shoes when I knew everyone would be in their heels. I was nervous about looking odd and was trying hard to find something professional to wear with my tennis shoes. As my nerves started building up, my frustration toward my arthritis that attacked my feet increased. I started asking God, why is it in my feet? What is it so hard to do daily simple things such as walking?
- I know I can walk for a couple of minutes in my tennis shoes so that means I can take an Uber to the IMF.
- I can sit for 2 hours so that means I can attend the talk.
- I can speak so that means I can participate in the meeting.
- Finally and most importantly, I can still smile so I can do all the above while still smiling. Listing out these things made me realize how much I CAN do and it felt awesome.
I said so what if I had to go with my tennis shoes. What matters is I had the courage to show up and be there. To not let a challenge over take me but to make the most of it. I happily showed up and left yesterday's meeting feeling empowered by listening to Dr. Julia's talk about her life of reinventing herself in her career that took her in unexpected journeys, and about her commitment to enriching people's lives. But what I really walked away with from her was her unapologetic attitude of her being her and of her showing up during the highs and lows of her work. Of her being comfortable in her own skin even if she was the only woman or the youngest person in the room or whatever other characteristic. She owned it and used her time and skills for something larger than herself.
I hope to use her example as a reminder to myself to keep on serving others, living towards something bigger than myself and to keep on showing up.