As it’s around my year anniversary of leaving home after graduation to chase love, I thought it was finally time to put my thoughts into words on the topic. I ran across this quote the other day and I thought it was very appropriate for the way I’ve been living my life. And the way people have been reacting to it.
“Courage in women is often
mistaken for insanity.”
On June 3, 2014, I packed up my bags after graduating from Florida State University, and I flew 10,000 miles to Sydney, Australia to be with my boyfriend, Sam. I knew nothing about Australia except from what I’ve seen in Our Lips Are Sealed. I knew no one except Sam. I was leaving behind my family, my childhood friends, my college friends, and countless others who had made an impact on my life. I was throwing away job offers, and potentially even the professional connection to those job offers. I was starting completely over in a brand new country I hadn’t even visited. All for what? To be with my boyfriend of 6 months?
To say that there were more than hurtful words thrown at me at the “insanity” of what I was doing is an understatement. I could tell that behind friends’ smiles there was a skeptical “This is gonna fail” look in their eyes. This was my first real lesson into understanding that not all people are going to be happy for you, especially if you’re going to do something out of their comfort zone.
This all got me thinking as to why I was not seen as being courageous. Of course to my parents and their friends, they understood the importance of taking these chances now, but why were all of my peers and colleagues missing the point. Instead of being courageous, I was being insane. Insane to chase after love. Insane to move away to a new country I’d never visited. Insane to move in with my boyfriend’s family whom I had never met. Insane to leave home without a job. It was all insane. But no one had dared to say courageous.
Why is it that courage in women is mistaken for insanity? Why is it that the everyday mediocrity is celebrated, but as soon as someone turns the tables on what’s normal, and is actually successful, it’s considered insane? Is it easier for people to accept unconventional lives if it’s labeled something a little bit negative, hey?
To the women who have given up everything to follow their heart – to you I say, you are the courageous ones. Chasing love isn’t crazy – it’s courageous. It’s being courageous enough to admit that there is no greater chase in the world. It’s being courageous enough to deal with the people out there calling you insane. It’s being courageous enough to be totally and unapologetically happy. It’s being courageous enough to just border insane, and that’s where all the magic happens, baby!
I’m inspired by so many women every single day. My friends have been setting off solo on big round the world trips. My friend Holly moved across the country after graduation to go after a job at the world’s largest club in Vegas knowing no one, and landed it, and is killing it. My friend Haleigh survived the Nepal Earthquakes, and still is making plans to get back out there and travel the world. My friend Brianna left everything she knew in Canada to join her partner in his dream of teaching in Thailand. I know of women who have had setbacks with their health or are disabled and still get out in the world to do what they want to do! I know countless women moving to Australia, Europe, Asia, etc, making a difference in the world, or maybe just making a difference for themselves, which is quite alright!
The bottom line is, whether it be for love, for a job or for a new experience, we need to stop categorising this kind of bravery for insanity. We need to stop putting down other women’s dreams, and start recognising the courage and strength it takes to actually go after these dreams and aspirations.
Now, after making the move to Thailand, I embrace the term “insane.” If being insane means having traveled to 32 countries, lived as an expat in 2 and have met some of the most accepting, beautiful people around the world, then so be it. I’ll take the term and make it my own, because I know how much courage and a little bit of blind faith I, and the rest of these inspiring women, have had to get to where we are today.