I have to admit, I am a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to risk-taking. I believe it comes down to being a closet introvert.
Socially, it could be said that I am prepared to take a lot of risks. I'll happily go up and talk to a complete stranger. I'm rarely too shy to ask for information, directions, clarification. I'm a pretty confident public speaker and have been known to sing at parties (though, it has to be said, not recently!).
But it could also be said that I am totally risk averse when it comes to social interactions. Put me in a situation where I feel vulnerable or judged and the defences brewing in my head rarely migrate southward enough to reach my mouth. Sharing my deepest fears or most grotesque wounds with a loved one? Er, thanks but I'd rather not, actually.
Physically, I have never been much of a risk taker. I'm hopeless at mosts sports and extreme activities don't really float my boat. That said, I was a bit of a reckless experimenter in my younger days with cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drugs and romantic liaisons. (Again, not recently!) And I was also a dancer, known for pushing myself beyond my limits whilst in trance of performance.
So in some ways, it doesn't surprise me in the least that I didn't really risk anything major in 2013. I didn't quit my day job, even though I did negotiate an extended period of leave. I did break up with my therapist, but that wasn't really instigated by me and by then our major work had really been done. Most of the major permutations and combinations in my life stayed as they have been for a few years, at least as far as outward appearances go.
The two emotional risks I did take would probably be considered by many to be a drop in the ocean. And, certainly, from reading responses from other Reverb13 kindreds and discovering the phenomenal hardships they battled last year, I can totally understand why. But they did feel like watershed moments to me.
The first was to confront two of the people closest to me in life, adult to adult, for the first time ever. I called the behaviour that I saw, stood in my own authority to call it, and shared my own experiences and vulnerabilities. It sent ripples through my life that I would never have anticipated. And, for the first time ever, I felt like I had finally grown up.
The second was to really get behind this blog and decide to develop it into a website, complete with my name and face, then share it with people who know me "in real life". Up until then, it almost felt like I was living a double life. Which was fine... up to a point. But gradually, the nagging feeling that I wanted more and I wanted to be seen for more just wouldn't let up.
And now, thank goodness, there's no turning back. My stuff is out there, along with my hopes and dreams, and I'm fully committed to taking it all to the next level. And I'm happy to say that the love and encouragement I've received from people from all quarters of my life has been tremendously motivating.
In truth, there are still a small number of people in my closest circle who are unaware of this blog's existence (to the best of my knowledge). And while I plan to keep it that way -- out of respect for their sensibilities -- if they did stumble upon it, I don't think it would be the end of the world. Sure, my self-confidence would waiver. But I know where and how I could find the support I'd need to put it in perspective... and keep going.
As a postscript, I feel compelled to add that I'm not sure sure I'd recommend that everyone risk their heart, risk being seen, despite the benefits being huge for me in these instances. I think Dr Brené Brown is onto something when she warns that vulnerabilities are best shared with those who have earned the right to receive them. And it seems to me that timing and readiness are also crucial. We all bloom at different times. The gifts are worth waiting for.
I am responding here to the fifth prompt from #reverb13 (yup: I got yesterday and today mixed up!). You are warmly invited to share your own response below, if you did not have the opportunity to do so in December. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. x