My sophomore year of high school, I had a biology II class. It was a class that most people took their senior year because they were short on some science credit and it was known to be easy. I switched into this class for a girl (my advice: NEVER do that). Anyway, it was a bunch of upperclassmen slackers for the most part in the class. At first this was intimidating, but it got a little easier when I became friends with a few of them. One of these friends in particular I found much fidelty with since he was a clown. He would always act up and make a scene for attention or just do something weird to get some laughs. This was a mantle I carried after he left.
There was a problem though. This guy’s name was Thunder. Yeah, his actual name was Thunder. Man, that is still so cool. I couldn’t deal with taking the famed position of class clown from a guy with a name like that and bestowing it on a lowly Zachary. Something had to be done.
So one day I decided my name was going to be Explosion. And that was it, my name became explosion. It’s pretty easy to unofficially change your name in high school, just edit your Facebook and adjust the heading on your homework and Bam new name. So now I was Explosion.
But that just wasn’t enough. I had a taste of manliness but the name needed more umph. So another day I added what gave the fulfillment I lacked and became Zachariah Fearless Explosion.
It was perfect. A nice ring to it and still all the ridiculousness I needed.
I remember some words of wisdom my dad gave to me once.
It was just before he moved to Arizona close to a year ago. He was explaining why he wanted to move and what was around the corner for him. He said that what he was planning was exciting for him but moving somewhere he’d never been to a place where he hardly knew anybody was going to be pretty scary. I wasn’t very understanding at the time. I told him it didn’t make much sense to live like that, leaving everything behind and facing the unknown.
When I asked him why he and my mom wanted so badly to make this move, he told me something that has stuck with me.
He said, “I’ve starting asking myself, what would my life look like if I weren’t afraid?”
I think these are very meaningful words. In times of my life when I feel the most inspired to make a change, even a small one, it’s always difficult to look beyond the immediate difficulties. Sometimes I feel chained to my current way of life, as if this is all there is and to venture away from it is madness if not suicide.
But that’s not the truth. If your imagination, your dreams and your message are bigger than your circumstances, you have no right to remain where you are. You know you’re a leader, and leaders need to take action, no matter how terrifying it is to do so. I have the responsibility to grow above the fear and complacency and comfort of normal.
For me it is encouraging to remember that bravery runs in my family, and Fearless is my middle name.
If you feel discouraged by normal and by fear of the unknown I’d like to tell you something. You may or may not be in high school, but you can still change your name. And it isn’t even hard.
No matter how lame your real name is, you can change it and be who you call yourself.
It’s a pretty silly story, but I hope that encourages someone somehow. Have you ever had a neat nickname? Did it stick? tell me all about it, and thanks for reading!