She doesn’t remember the exact moment when she made the decision. But in one gentle and still moment, her heart and mind came into full agreement. Until that moment, it was just a dream, but then the dream was birthed from the wishing soul. It was the defining moment when what seemed chronically impossible, improbable, and possibly even laughable, suddenly had a glimmer of possibility.
These wide-eyed dreams in the waking are now far more intriguing than the ones found in sleep. Adrenaline surges through her veins as newfound confidence spurs countless new ideas. A new hope floods her thoughts, casting brilliant light upon the old shadows of failure, disappointments, and skepticism. This time is different. This time she will build upon everything that she has learned. She is older and her scars give her wisdom.
But dreams are never easily built. Eventually, the weight shifts and her strength quivers under the pressure. There are days without enough time, patience, or resources. Nights that were recently filled with the splendor of optimism are now wracked with raging heart rhythms and sweaty palms. Even sleep doesn’t silence the pangs of doubt. The familiar voice inside her head scolds her and tells her that she was crazy to dream. And it’s not just her own inner voice. Others who claim to want her best interest, who claim to love her and support her, begin to point out speckles of rust in her armor. They won’t come out and say it, but veiled words and sideward glances confirm that they are afraid that she will fail. She wants to reply, “Don’t say that, don’t even think it.” But how could she hold them accountable when they say the very things that she tries not to hear inside her own head?
Once dreams are birthed from the wishing soul, they can never return because dreams long to thrive and grow once they breathe their own air. But what seemed exciting becomes demanding, even overwhelming. Suddenly she’s walking a tightrope that is tethered by elation on opposite ends, yet is held taut by tremendous tension that defies gravity. The time spent between these endpoints can be lonely, quiet, and fearsome. Especially when the choices she makes to continue are always met with the choice to forgive herself if she quits. She negotiates the guilt she would feel in the resignation and she even plans the words she would say to her curious critics when she is putting on her makeup. The night falls and she is still standing on her tightrope, as she faces the dawn to take another step.
She is a woman to watch. But most of us won’t notice her until she reaches her endpoint of elation. This is when we celebrate, as we should. But before the rejoicing, there was a long season of counterbalancing doubt and determination. Some were there when she began but could not bear to look. Some held the corners of the safety net until she was clear. Some offered words that affirmed her, so that she could continue to affirm herself. Some claim to have been there every step of the way; but only some actually were.
Behind every successful woman is one tremendously daring decision to be that girl. It’s the moment when she decides to be the one watched, instead of the watcher. And as she transforms, through education, rehabilitation, preservation, or transformation, the woman who dares puts one foot on the tightrope will never be the same. So she walks, both in the face of her critics and holding the hands of her confidantes.
She is the one who hears the inaudible “yes” in a cacophony of “no.” And she will be watched, not because she craves or requires your attention; but because she refuses to be a bystander in her own life.