If You Want Me To Do Something, Tell Me I Can’t Do It

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"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be.” - The Princess Diaries

By Molly Braswell

“I bet you can’t do it.”

Those are the six most oddly empowering words that could have possibly been uttered.

The task at hand is less than amusing, but it was the moment of a higher awakening. Like when you were the last one chosen for kickball in gym class, or when you watched Mia Thermopolis undergo her transformation, and a small part of you couldn’t help but wish her hairbrush still broke when she brushed her hair by the end of the movie. Because yours does.

It’s almost selfish, and it’s a matter of catching yourself when you least expect it. The diet you were trying to stick with, the farewell of a relationship that almost broke you a few months back, or the newest career aspiration scribbled onto an an outdated post it note.

The clairvoyance of the moment strikes a chord, and then you have to remember that, maybe you didn’t lose ten pounds, but you moved to a new city, by yourself, without knowing a soul, and you didn’t even have a UHaul.

Your mind flickers back to the moment you took on the responsibility of accepting your first corporate job position, or you survived your first round of chemo treatment, or you celebrated your second year of sobriety.


You feel the humanity of your own consciousness. A close friend told me once that after going through a period of hardship, the sky seemed brighter and the sunset’s hues seemed more vivid. It’s as if our bodies can sense the vitality, the insatiable quench of how it feels to be alive, residing among the elements of the earth.

At its innermost core, our most striking moments of triumphs and joys evade what we have considered our follies. And all you can think of is how your Dad looked at you when you walked down the aisle.

The joys and losses come in like a flood, you’re washed away with the tide, and overcome with a strange sense of humility and recognition of a greater connection to the constellations.

The unsettlement ripples away, and you realize that, actually,you can do it, because you’ve done it over and over again, against all odds.

And you dare yourself to remember next time it happens again.

I bet you can’t do it.