Her Royal Highness of Vulnerability: Reflecting on DARE

It is no exaggeration to say that Daring Greatly completely changed my life. I know I’m not alone in this. Author, social worker, and all around vulnerability badass Brene Brown is one of those transformational people who seems to make fans of literally anyone who has read her work.

Everything she creates, writes, or discusses is pure gold. And so during a week that was far more cerebral than I expected it to be, I found myself watching and rewatching this Facebook video she filmed in the wake of Charlottesville.

In it, she articulates the importance of owning our privilege. And recognizing that we all have it in one way or another. How we are all responsible for standing up for those who lack the privileges we have. To act in compassion and grace when we fuck up — because no matter how woke we all try to be, we’re imperfect. We mess up. And at the heart of her life’s work is that to be vulnerable, to own up to our mistakes or assumptions or general wrongness… that is the most DARING thing we can do.

Brene challenged me this week to reconsider and really own the benefits I receive that I did not earn. That I have been granted because I am a mostly-young white cisgender able-bodied middle-class well-educated woman. And to consider and reflect upon how I can use those identities to not only benefit myself but to use my voice to support — yet not speak for — those with marginalized identities.

To hold others accountable. And to do so with compassion. To rise above words of hate because, let’s face it, if I espouse hate back in the face of bigotry then what purpose am I truly serving? Does this mean I sympathize with or condone the beliefs of white supremacists? Absolutely not. But to challenge those ideas in a wholehearted and empathetic way, especially with those whose ears I already have, is just about as close to DARING as we can manage most days. And that ain’t bad.

Lin’s VOW Mantra: “Daring greatly is being brave and afraid every minute of the day at the exact same time.” ~Brene Brown

Lin’s VOW Song Playlist of the Week: As Steph mentioned, #VOWdare will always and forever be linked with HRH Brene Brown in our minds. So with that, my song became my playlist, created as a class project for COURAGEworks.

Check out Steph’s #VOWdare post here!

#VOWdare: Walk Tall & With Heart

I am convinced you find what you’re looking for, and when DARE is your verb of the week, you’re looking for a fight. You’re asking the Universe Buddha God to give you reasons to enter the arena. To suit up and battle. To show up and be kind. To have a not so great week.

Brené is a goddess, but the work she asks us to do is Hell.

In the past seven days:

I was soft with a man, knowing it might be one-sided.
I was emboldened by my sister to demand something for softness.
I was scared to write a letter and a couple of emails but wrote them anyway.
I signed up for my 200-hour yoga certification, knowing it will cost me.
I realized when I was wrong and apologized.
I saw a chance to extend empathy and did.

And I saw others do the same thing every damn day.

Because when you’re waiting for people to dare greatly, you’ll see them do it. And if they don’t, you’re mindset will be different–maybe, just maybe, they’re doing the best they can–because you truly never know the battle someone else is fighting.

And I think some gratitude is probably in order for the work they are doing, so…this week we


Steph’s DARE mantra: Courage, my love.

Steph’s Song of the Week: Inner Demons by Julia Brennan

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWtake post (coming soon).


#VOWtake It In; #VOWbuild On It

For no other reason than a bone-deep feeling, I believe that my 28th year will be the last one that I am here—

Not alive (that’s morbid).
But fully present in this city, maybe.
More than that, by myself here.

I think, in a year, there will always be two, more times than there are one.
And that I will be completely ready for that commitment.

I believe I will owe that readiness, in large part, to this project.
To this year of Build-ing.

Because each week, these VOWs take me somewhere new.
They’ve become cities I’ve traveled to and explored without a map.
Alleys and cafes I fell in love with, not because they were wholly unseen,
but because they were ordinary things that made me feel feelings that,
in that moment, I hadn’t felt yet.

I think #VOWtake was an earthquake. An aftershock. And the rubble.
And ruin, as Elizabeth said, is the road to transformation.

This past week, I took:

In more calories in bread and cheese and wine than I should have.
More nights for what they were.
More chances than were smart.

And I regret nothing.

So this week, I’m primed to


Steph’s TAKE mantra: Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the word is full of uneducated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. (Calvin Coolidge)

Steph’s Song of the Week: TESTIFY by NEEDTOBREATHE

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWtake post (coming soon…after she returns from the beach…not that I am jealous or anything).