Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Risks are worth taking

I just finished reading Biz Stone's book, Things a Little Bird Told Me: confessions of the creative mind. I had a hard time putting it down, so amazed was I in the creative ways Biz got through his childhood and became the success he is today. (As the wife of a teacher, I was stunned he got away with his "No Homework Policy" in high school.) I also found myself wishing I had more of his self-confidence. Alas, 'tis not in my nature, so I put the book down and picked up the next one on my reading list of 400+.
That is until I was driving into work this morning. I borrowed the e-Audiobook, Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou from my public library. Wouldn't you know, Maya, in her deep sultry voice said,
"When I reported the outcome [of an audition to be a dancer] to my mother, she was pleased. She said, 'I am not surprised. You are going far in this world, baby, because you dare to risk everything. That's what you have to do.'"
I immediately thought back to Biz Stone, his humungous risk takings and his often huge rewards.
Risks don't have to be humungous (like Biz likes to take.) They just need to be moving out of your comfort zone and doing something you haven't done before.

What does risk mean for you? 

For me, I've been taking more and more risks the older I get. Maybe it's because I'm gaining more confidence in myself. Perhaps it's because I'm getting comfortable with the real me.
Recently, I took one of the biggest risks of all. I told my parents to stop communicating with me because I am angry at how they treat me. I made sure to address present situations - specifically their lack of concern, or even curiosity, about my severe depressive episode this past winter. I didn't bring up the emotional and verbal abuse from my childhood, knowing they would sweep that away like so much litter on the floor. After all, that is what they did when I told them about my brother sexually abusing me.
And I've been holding firm. They have been hurling volleys upon volleys of emails (which I blocked after the first few) and phone calls (from numbers I didn't recognize), each filled with guilt-inducing venom and shame-invoking poison. I have withstood them all.
Standing up for myself was a huge risk. I had to give up my childhood family completely. Harder still, I gave up the hope that my childhood family would ever love me for who I really am, not the person they wanted me to be.
I lost a lot.
But I gained respect for the woman I have become. I am strong. I am lovable. I am real.

What risk are you going to take today?