“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Roosevelt may as well have written this quote about my bestie Bianca.
She is my corner stone, my sweet song on a rough day, my sounding board and honest mirror. She is wholly striking with a killer aesthetic in all aspects of life - from her tiny new ear piercing - so subtle it appears like a secret - to the skinny rings adorning her long fingers. People often want to photograph her. Though shy, she is a strong magnet pulling the world in (and don’t believe her when she tells you otherwise, I’ve witnessed it for years now.) The trick is, like many New Yorkers, her humility is not feigned. It is real.
Bianca and I have kayaked the Hudson, traipsed through dangerous and colorful adventures in Brasil, rode horses on an island beach, gazed at the mountains together the morning after I got married. We have also cried together, shared beds, held hands, gotten angry at each other and made up tentatively, then laughed until we fell over. Book suggestions, quotes, poems and daily texts - we share a lot of hushed stories. But there is one enormous difference between us: I am a recovering workaholic with my eye precariously positioned on the future - and the way I’ll shine framed by it - and Bianca is deeply, easily invested in present moment gentle magic. Where I will never turn down a chance to speak, she prefers to remain out of the spotlight (this tribute is probably making her squirm.) Her ambitions focus on a future centered in nature, beauty, young folks, healing and exchanging information, wonderings, stories and love.
When women step into the Digging Deep, Facing Self course, they are seeking to, as the tagline reads, become their boldest self. But what is a boldest self? And what does it look like? I’ve been asked this question often - Caits, can I be bold even if I want a quiet, lovely life? Can I be bold even if I’m not on a stage or in the limelight or making some grand declaration to all of humanity?
Before I answer, I smile and think of my best Bianca. How when the world asks her to move in a way that feels misaligned with her ethics, her feet don’t move an inch. When she writes a thank you note or crafts a cover letter, the language is equally intentional, thoughtful and clear. I think of how she notices beauty my distracted eyes skim right by, or the tenderness with which she holds precious belongings, and my heart. Bianca who rocks a close crop or an Afro with as much sass as the next style icon but blushes when complimented. Bianca who dances like a maniac and ignites the dance floor! Bianca who reflects when I need it (and even when I’m not asking for it), and whose opinion I hunger for with an unwavering trust. Bianca who is so deeply herself that even when she feels lost, to be next to her is a compass towards what is right and true. Her boldness is so palpable - and her desire for how she presents in the world looks much quieter than mine, though perhaps even more profound. I feel lucky to stand beside her.
My answer to the women in my course is that your boldest self is the self who is most deeply you. The self that eases into your skin and wears it like a fox. Who doesn’t compromise ethics, but knows how to learn and bend and grow. The you who draws boundaries to protect your delicate parts, and who risks when it’s time to show up in action. The you that feels most honest at the day’s end. Your boldest self is a gift to the world. And your contribution matters.