Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
That has inspired me to jump out of planes and off bridges, hitchhike in foreign countries, buy one-way tickets to places I’ve never been, and to get up on stage in front of other humans and say things.
(Actually, if I’m being honest it’s mostly my self-destructive nature that has inspired me to do those things, but I want to sound impressive. Saying that Eleanor inspired me sounds way more sophisticated.)
((And hey, there’s a lot to be said for self-destructiveness! It’s the reason for every single one of my adventures.))
So here I am, playing the violin in front of people:
I failed. A lot.
But I kept playing! Stay determined, never give up. Do all the scary things. Make all the mistakes. No one starts off an expert.
And just tonight, I got up on stage in front of people and I told them jokes.
Notice how the guy in the front row kind of pretends to smile at first and then gives up? Like, “This girl is so not funny… I’mma look up funny cat videos on my phone now.” And then he half-heartedly claps at the end, like, “Thank god this shit is over.” Enjoy.
I am not brave. Or, I guess in the world of Game of Thrones I’m pretty brave. “Can a man still be brave if he is afraid?” To which Eddard Stark replied, “That is the only time a man can be brave.” …and I’m afraid all the time.
When I first got to Hawai’i, I had never played a violin solo in front of other people before. I had never told jokes on a stage before, participated in an open mic night. I also had never hiked a mountain and swam in the ocean on the same day, or saw a turtle on a beach, or worked in a hotel, or hiked on a active volcano, or had furniture or painted my own room. Every place I go, there are new scary adventures to have.
And here, I’ve been inspired to be stronger and braver and better, and it’s because I’ve met all of these really amazing, really strong and brave and empowered women.
Carina is the owner of King’s Pizza, where I participated in this open mic night. She’s a single mom and a small business owner and entrepreneur.
Erica is the founder of the Female Comics of Hawai’i, who organizes the open mic night here on Thursdays.
My violin teacher’s name is Julia, and she’s an incredible violinist. I have learned so much from her, and that’s not limited to the violin. She’s also teaching me (whether she knows it or not) to be a stronger, braver person. She told me a few lessons ago, “Stop saying sorry so much. You say sorry a lot, and you don’t need to.”
She teaches at the Masaki School of Music, which was founded by a woman named Ellen Masaki over 55 years ago.
There are so many amazing women there are out there, starting businesses and nonprofits and comedy groups and impacting the world in a positive way.
I’ve been so inspired by so many strong, empowered women that I’ve met here. I want to be stronger, too. I want to channel my inner Beyoncé, my inner Khaleesi.
I want to be brave. So I’m going to keep making all the mistakes and standing up anyway. I may never be a leader, or start a business, or achieve any form of greatness. But in my own small little life I hope I impact the lives of the people I meet in a positive way, and inspire them to be stronger too.