A few years ago, after the car accident that had me re-evaluate a few things in my life, I came across an Australian television special about the Brahminy Group and their work with troubled teens called Outback Kids. During the last episode, Allan Brahminy, the director of the program, stated something that has stuck with me for years:
“You’ve got to choose when to stop being a victim and become a survivor.”
I was shocked when I heard this. Something so simple and succinct but profound and heart changing to me.
Another moment similarly profound happened to me last year during a humorous conversation with a colleague resulted in them referring to me as a knight in shining armor. In that moment a phrase embedded itself on my heart and has become a personal mantra of mine, “Be your own damn knight in shining armor“. I don’t even know where “damn” came from (sorry, Mom and Dad!) but that is how the phrase resonates within my soul.
So many times we as humans act like the princess from fairytales; we hate our job, our family life sucks because they’re all idiots, Friends? They are just back stabbers. Etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile we wait for those things to rescue us from our towers; a job title promotion, boyfriend or girlfriend, more money, that one perfect house, even sometimes our faith/church. However, they leave us with empty promises and broken hearts. I’ve been there, I know.
You know what? I’m tired of waiting around for all of these other things to come through and rescue me when I have every resource to do it myself. Instead of waiting in crummy the tower for something out there to come and rescue me, I’m going to find my own way out. If these other people or resources show up to help me, fine. However, I choose to pick up my own sword and at least fight against the dragons. If I perish, I perish.
For me this took form of having honest conversations with people and resolving situations that were not pretty. Then it meant that I would stand up for myself more even if it meant creating awkward situations or hurting someone. Lastly it caused me to look in the mirror and choose to love myself more but also allow people to love me.
All of these are still so incredibly difficult for me to continue, BUT it is working. For the first time in my life, the girl who has always been the princess waiting in the tower is in the courtyard slaying dragons. You know what I discovered? I AM FREAKING AWESOME.
The proof of this shift in thinking is striking. This past summer while visiting friends I felt more in my skin and “myself” than ever. Am I still insecure, dear me yes. However, I am more forgiving of what I see in myself as flaws or weird quirks. As my own knight I am defending who I am without allowing the dragon of insecurities to rip me apart.
In the past I was never very driven, which for me was rooted in perfectionism. (Something that was heavily tested this summer while I learned to drive a manual car.) If I know something will not be perfect, I quit. This is glaringly obvious when it comes to me being athletic. I have no athletic bone in my body whatsoever, however, one morning my brain decided, against the will of my body, that it wanted to run a marathon by the time I was 30. Fast forward to almost 3 months later…the girl who could barely run 40 yards is running 3 miles 3 times a week and I have my calendar marked for my first marathon.
So I guess I say all of this to point out, stop waiting for [fill-in-the-blank] to rescue you. Put on your armor, pick up your sword, and fight with all of your might your way out of the tower you’re stuck in.
Be your own damn knight in shining armor.