The Green Hat
It was green, really green. I put it on and looked in the mirror. The hat was cute, but it was green and I was looking for something red or black. And yet, there was something about the hat that intrigued me, that challenged me to step out of the box of what I always did, to try something new.
It was only a hat, but it represented more to me as I looked at my reflection. I started to see myself a bit differently. Of course I had the option of playing it safe and staying with my original plan to find a black or red hat, but something shifted, a sense of possibility, and I decided I was going to go with the green one. Maybe no one else would like it, but I decided that I did. And at that moment that was enough.
Of course as I walked around downtown wearing the green hat, I started doubting myself. What if I look ridiculous in this? What if I look like a fool? Back and forth it went in my mind. I told myself that I was placing far too much importance on the situation, and yet I knew the decision to go with the green hat represented more, much more. I was taking a risk, albeit a small one. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and daring to see myself in a new light.
I have always been drawn to free spirits, the renegades, drifters, creative souls, unusual people, beautiful, eccentric people that live outside the box and the usual expectations that we have been taught. I reflect back on some of these people and how they have taught me to follow my heart and not to be afraid to live with passion, emotion, and risk. Some of them, like myself, are what I call dark horse people. These are people that got off to a rocky start in this life and yet somehow, counter to the doubts of others, have managed to rise through their personal ashes and find a sweet kind of redemption.
I think of a true story of a dark horse that despite an unpromising start became one of the fastest and most loved horses of the 20th century. At the start of his life very few people saw anything special in this horse, not in the way he looked or ran. But this horse loved to run, and he would run for the sheer joy of running. He would have run until his heart burst because that was his joy and that was what he was created to do. From what I understand, the people that surrounded this horse and believed in him were mostly considered to be underdogs, and as they witnessed the transformation of this underdog horse, they themselves began to transform, to blossom, to stand up against doubt and what seemed to be serious obstacles and limitations. They started to listen to the dreams that had been written in their hearts and souls when they came into this world, before the layers of this life buried them.
I often cry as I think of this horse. There is a part of me that understands that longing to follow my heart and pursue my dreams, even at the risk of my heart bursting. There is another part of me that tells me to play it safe, stay within the established lines, and to be satisfied with the so called security of sensible choices that get the bills paid and keep me within the norms of this western world. But is it security? What am I trading of my heart and soul to walk the path of conformity to save myself from being judged, shunned or at the very least, looking like a fool? So there’s this choice always, a resigned “safe” heart or a wild heart, a heart that leaves me feeling so alive and hopeful and joyful that if it burst I could almost accept the risk.
It is only a green hat. But perhaps it is a choice among many choices to step outside the lines and challenge myself to see myself differently; a dark horse that has begun to run with a wild heart beating to the dreams that God wrote in my soul a long time ago.
Deana Lafleur 2019