Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Dare or Not to Dare .... That is the question

"Don't dare to be different, dare to be yourself
if that doesn't make you different then something is wrong."
One of my daily routines is to visit blogland. I check out what other people have to say. Rather than reading the newspaper I prefer to jump from blog to blog to find what's going on in the world. That may sound impressive but I don't read political blogs. I go sites where creativity is shared and awareness of social issues is a priority. Some of the blogs I go to are just fun. And like picking a piece of chocolate out of a Whitman's Sampler I never know what I'm going to find when I click on a new blog.
Recently I found this site: http://www.daringfemale.com/
Here's the first paragraph I read that pulled me in. Author Natasha Kogan wrote: Two years ago one of my most precious, life-long, “I can't believe this is ever going to happen” dreams came true – I wrote a book (The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living) and found a publisher who decided to skip the rejection letter this time and give me a shot.
I've been giving some serious thought lately about actually trying to have something I've written published someplace other than the church newspaper. It is a thought that I have entertained over the years, but never truly believed possible. I get all puffed up when someone says to me "you are a good writer" of "you should write a book" but I take them seriously. I'm not sure it is in my nature to actually put myself "out there" in any meaningful way. Now this is the complete opposite of what goes on in my head in the wee hours of the morning when I'm sure I'm alone and won't remember anything anyway! That's when I sit with Oprah in her big comfy chairs, or around her dinner table with other "real" writers and share ideas. I've been known to see myself on an Oslo stage accepting a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, trying to thank everyone who encouraged me to dream. No ... more like to dare to make the dream come true.
Dreaming comes easily for me. It's the next step, the daring or believing, in the dream where I get hung up. This is actually a good thing, because I'm pretty positive even if I believed I'd never have the nerve to pursue the dream. Some people are brave. Some are big chickens. I fall into the latter category.
I've been afraid for as long as I can remember. The last time I recall daring to do something out of my comfort zone I was in the third grade. I had a boyfriend, George Couch, who I thought, at age 8, was about the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I didn't know anything about having boyfriends or what it involved. I just knew I liked being around this guy and he seemed to like me. He made me laugh. He promised me plastic rings from gumball machines for every finger and toe.
I lived on a secure Naval Station and George lived on the other side of the tracks, though at the time I had no idea what that meant. In order to get on the base one had to have an ID card to show the guards at the gate. One day little ol' skinny, scaredy cat ME and my best friend Lisa, devised a plan to sneak George on the base. (Good Lord, my first daring deed was something akin to a terrorist plot!) I don't know how it worked. If I entertained the guard with my glib 8 year old banter while my friend secreted George past the gate, or if we just told the truth, showed my ID card and walked through like we all belonged on the base.
Once over that hurdle we did what kids do. We went looking for adventure. It took us all over the base, near Lake Michigan, through Officers' quarters, around enlisted men's barracks and into explorable tree-lined gullies. At one point we were at the top of a huge grass covered hill. Or should I say I was at the top of the hill, watching as George and Lisa made plans to leave me there if I didn't get up the nerve to run/fly down as they had just done. I'd obviously used up all my daring at the guard gate. What was probably nothing more than a small incline looked like Mt. Everest to me (if I knew what Mt. Everest was, which I probably didn't). Running down did not look like the best way to descend.
"We're leaving," shouted my best friend and my boyfriend looking a little too cozy together for my liking.
"Geronimo," I cried and threw all caution to the wind (which would be a repeating scenario in my life when it came to impressing the man du jour). I took off down that hill and built up momentum as I went. Soon, looking like the downhill skier experiencing the agony of defeat, I was toppling head over heals toward the bottom of a glacier that seemed to never end. Once at the bottom, I lay in a crumpled mess. George, impressed beyond belief, came to my rescue. He asked if I was okay. As if I came down the hill exactly as I had planned, I assured him I was just fine. When I stood up, trying to act cool and put weight on my right leg at the same time, I knew something was not quite right.
However, the afternoon light was growing dim. Our day's adventure was coming to an end. We still had to figure out how to get George out the same gate he'd come in. As we plotted my ankle began to swell. And swell. It was soon too big and painful to walk on. All thoughts of anything but explaining to my parents what I had done left my pain-enhanced brain. George was on his own. I headed home making up what sounded to me like believable lies.
Before dinner, it became clear I had a major boo boo that needed attention from the emergency room. Dad gave up his nightly cocktail and as it turned out his dinner. As in all military dispensaries the lines were long, the wait for X-rays interminable and the actually cast application took forever to complete. I know this because I was stripped down to my white cotten Carter's Spanky pants in front of a young sailor and given nothing with which to hide my modesty.
Dares, be damned. It took several years before I succombed to the lure of an alluring dare.
You'd think writing a book that would get me on Oprah would be a piece of cake to Merry Me, Girl Adventurer. But I learned that day that adventures aren't all they are all cracked up to be.
Now I'm beginning to think I've outgrown my Chicken Little Persona. Who knows, maybe I'll start believing this writing thing is a real possibility.
One of the greatest sources of inspiration for living your life as a true Daring Female is learning about other Daring Females who are chasing their passions, exploring their creativity, taking a stand, or pushing their own boundaries.*
If you go to the Daring Female website you'll find a page filled with other women's dares and dreams. Some sound pretty basic and simple. Others sound way too daring for me. But the thing is, each of the women quoted has not just had the dream. They have the intention to change their lives. Big or small, I applaud each and every one of them.
Slowly getting up my nerve to put my pen where my mouth is,
Merry ME
P.S. What's up with this blogger spacing? It has a mind of its own that I am unable to influence.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always thought jumping from the top of Wailua Falls was pretty darn daring. I was down there clapping, not up there with you. Remember that day?lg

terri said...

i never felt like my art was really art. i still don't. but something i noticed and couldn't ignore...it touched people somehow. so while
i still don't think of it as 'real art'....i do know whatever it is it offers something. and i think i want to do that....offer something.

when i read your blog...it touches me. i come back over and over again because it touches me. i'm thinking it touches most who read it. that's offering something.
something that matters.

i guess publishing something will make you a 'real' writer....but in my eyes, you already are. you move my heart with your words.

i think you should publish something. not to be something...but to offer something. and you know....there's something really wonderful nowadays...self publishing.

you don't have to wait for a publisher to believe in you.
all you need to do is believe in yourself....and do it yourself.

just a few thoughts for you.

sometimes stepping outta your comfort zone is as much for us as it is for you....