Take a Risk and Make Courage a Habit
I’m a risk taker.
But I’m also a closeted scaredy-cat, so taking risks doesn’t mean I’m fearless. In fact, stepping outside my comfort zone makes me anxious. I fear judgement, or that I’ll disappoint myself and others. I even worry about success because with that comes pressure and expectations. Often my fears are unfounded, and sometimes the things I worry about are realistic. I’ve fallen from grace more times then I want to admit, and the lessons that go with that have been hard won. I’ve made lots of messes. But, it’s the risks I’ve taken that have brought adventure, skinned knees, love, heartbreak, and self-discovery into my life. Each experience has helped shape who I am. And I like me. So, in order to follow my dreams, my internal mantra is, “take a risk and make courage a habit”.
A Year of Change and Resolutions
Why am I talking about risks and courage? Because change is happening, and I’d rather make friends with it than fight it. Yes, it’s scary… and that’s okay.
One unexpected change in my life came in October when I learned I had leukemia and I would need cancer treatments. These daily infusions take a toll on my body, resulting in far too many hours in bed, staring at the clock. I want to incorporate what I love into my life by making it as much of a priority as dealing with my cancer. So, I’ve made a commitment to myself to get back to doing what brings me happiness. My resolution: no matter how I feel, I’ll make time for photography and writing each week.
For photography, I chose the scariest of all challenges: a 52 week, self-portrait project. Maybe this wouldn’t be scary for others, but for me: EEEK! So why do it? I want to push myself further as an artist, and it will take creativity to come up with 52 different ways to portray myself and my life. Being uncomfortable in front of the camera tells me I need to work on my self-concept. I want to better understand what my subjects feel when they come face to face with my lens. And lastly, it will be a way of documenting this challenging, change-filled year.
For writing, I’ve promised to post a weekly entry to my blog. I want to journal my experiences. An important aspect of this promise is to be authentic. When I’m writing, my fear comes from wondering how my words will be received. I must remind myself that it’s not about the reader, it’s about me, and I need to speak my truth in this world. The blog is my voice and it’s a wonderful feeling when others connect with what I say. But, even when they don’t, I’ve still found fulfillment in the telling of my story.
Another major life change is eliminating 95% of my worldly goods in order to have a less tethered life style. If I’m to live in a tiny RV and travel North America, then I need to sell the home I’ve owned for 20 years and donate or craigslist the rest of my belongings. There’s therapy in purging, but it’s also difficult to see a lifetime of items go out the door. I’ll need courage to embrace this change, but I do it because I believe the risk is worth the reward. I’ll have the freedom to explore, meeting with friends and family across the country. What could be better?
We’re all gifted with new beginnings. Sometimes this change is forced upon us, and other times it’s of our own making. This scaredy-cat will run towards the risks, with camera and pen in hand. I’ll do my best to clean the inevitable messes, learn my lessons, and enjoy all the benefits of these new adventures.
What about you? What are you afraid of? What changes are you embracing this year?