Throw the script of playing small out the damn window


Over the last few months of my life, which, arguably, have been some of the most informative as to how I understand my sense of self and the ways in which I want to live my life — I have been running.

Sprinting, actually — down the tight knit trail Western society lays out for us, tackling every incline, passing every trail sign, chasing what I thought I was supposed to be getting after.

Hey, if running is your thing, if you’re running to clear your head and push yourself and feel damn good, then run. Go. Sprint. But if you’re like me, you weren’t running to do those things – you were running to hide, to stay on trail, to play safe, and to be who you thought you were required to be.

My sprint came to a hella strong halt last May when I road tripped to Gardiner, Montana to visit one of my soul humans. Not only did this trip take me down winding, valley roads into the landscape of Yellowstone National Park – a place that can only truly be described as a perfect combination of the desert and mars — but this trip also woke me the fuck up in my relationships.

What I woke up to was this:

If you are surrounded by people that play it small, people that make you feel like you have to match that depth or frequency, those are not your people.

Maybe they used to be. Maybe you used to love playing small. Maybe walking along the shore with your toes gracefully touching the tide was where you felt at home. But what you must remember is that you are under no obligation to keep your feet out of the water. It’s not the law. In fact, you were created with magic in your bones and fire in your eyes – and you were made to jump in.

If you are surrounded by people who are toe touchin’ the tide, those that make you feel like you have to filter what you say, hold back, and keep what’s in your heart and mind nestled deep – those are not your people.

Listen to that feeling – it is a message. It is there for a reason, and it is there to tell you that you deserve better. You deserve to be so unapologetically yourself and feel loved from simply existing. You deserve to jump the fuck on in.

But jumping in requires letting go of the tide toe touchers and chasing the ones who see the potential in the ocean, and first and foremost, this requires letting go of playing small yourself. Every relationship that we have in our lives is a reflection. They start from within and mirror our beliefs and limitations about the world and ourselves back to us – sometimes like a slap in the face, other times like filling you up. This is why the saying “your vibe attracts your tribe” holds so much truth, because when you radiate every goddamn truth nestled deeply in your bones, you will be living at that frequency and will attract people who do the same. You will attract the ones who play big.

Filtering the captivating musings in that oh-so magical brain box of yours to keep certain people around, at the expense of releasing the most pure and genuine parts of you to the world, is not worth the cost.

Basic cost/benefit analysis here, friends. It is a damn high cost to pay, and it takes a lot of energy. Trust me.

One of the perks of being somewhere new surrounded by strangers is you can drive down those winding valley roads and feel the depth in your bones. You can see it – through every 30m/h curve, every humble peak, every roaring roadside river. And as that overwhelming depth nestles itself inside of your soul, you can throw the script of playing small out the window. You can get rid of the filter, the habit, the mere notion of not thinking your true self is worth it. You can operate out of soul instead of fear. Changing that script is as simple, and as terrifying, as that.

So that’s what I did.

I spent 9 days in Montana, a place that prior to the trip I had only known through stories and pictures, and as the current hometown of a human that makes me feel the most like myself. How can a place that you’ve never been to wake you up and make you feel so damn connected and loved?Montana saw the deepest parts of my soul, and although that was hella nerve wracking, it showed it right back. From the consistently clear blue sky and roasting hot days, to the strangers that hug you hello and goodbye, to businesses run by families and best friends, to the quiet, small town nights with beer and wine fueled conversation – I felt it all.

After just over a week, strangers became friends who shared what was going on inside of their heads, thanking me for showing them how to love their life the way I love mine. After just over a week, strangers became family that took care of me, made fun of my stereotypical Canadian nature (as they should), and taught me to be flexible like a willow. After just over a week, I learned that it wasn’t one at the expense of the other: I could be me, and be loved and worthy.

After Montana, I stopped running.

I didn’t expect to fall so goddamn in love with Montana, but more than anything, I didn’t expect that trip to make me fall so goddamn in love with life.

You deserve nothing short of butterflies, of people and places that wake you up and jolt you out of living a life unconsciously. You deserve to experience people and places that show you the good in the world. You deserve to live a life awake, and free, and BIG.

The people of Montana reminded me that showing my soul is always worth it. They reminded me of the chase. They reminded me not to settle.

And so I no longer will. I had to leave to find the good. I had to leave to feel the butterflies and the overwhelming magic that can happen when you show a part of the world who you are.

Perhaps you don’t have to leave to feel this. Odds are it won’t be Montana that gives you this feeling. Maybe for you it can happen exactly where you are right now.

All you have to do is show your soul.


Don’t settle for anything less than the magic that can occur when someone lets you be so truly yourself. When you can scream sing at the top of your lungs; laugh so hard you start to cackle; wake up at 5 am to catch the sunrise in the valley of Yellowstone, brushing your teeth and making coffee with your eyes half closed and saying things that can only be described as cranky and hangry, admitting later that day that you need a 20 minute power nap that ends up being a few hours. Those are the days that you won’t forget.

So, run, but only if you’re carving your own trail. Run, but only if you’re wide awake. Run if you are chasing after the butterflies, if you look next to you and see nothing but your best friend, the rugged mountains of the Gallatin Range in Gardiner, and three huge bison that are hella comfortable with laying in the middle of the road and force you run on some sketchy side route to avoid them. (#Montanathings)

Run, but not to hide. Run to chase the people and places that remind you that life is a grand adventure.

Because isn’t everything we do in life one more step towards feeling alive, and waking up others to feel the same?

The Author

Mandy Huser

Mandy huser


Mandy Huser is a twenty-something made for deep connection and finding magic in the world. She travels honestly through life, seeking experiences that make her heart pitter-patter and feel the fire.