11 Parts, Daring
: venturesomely bold in action or thought
daring (noun): venturesome boldness
As a little Iowa girl I am not sure of all I see. Trying to hone in on the feelings, it was hard to understand the fighting, the alcohol, the church, the god talk. I spent so much time feeling like I did not fit. Why? I discover Maya Angelou, I am the only one that I can see to ever check out her book and it feels like a dare and so I devour it. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings lights up something inside me. Our gravel roads lie at different coordinates, but our longing, our desire to speak is the same. Voice. I find mine as she tells me how she finds hers.
I leave that Iowa town and head north to Minnesota. So exotic with all the lakes and blue politicians. I learn about a guy named Paul Wellstone and there is talk about wanting something better, for everyone. How daring.
How about that I date an Asian man to stir the pot? VonMany. So exotic to my grandfather. Can’t you date a white guy? Contrary to the whispers from friends and family, it was the eyes, not the skin, that drew me in. They were full of kindness. I have always been a sucker for kindness. Is that daring?
Fly away. I wanted to fly away and I did. I went to Cameroon, Africa, by myself at the age of 23 to see VonMany as he served in the Peace Corps. I needed to know, really, was he the one? It turned out he was not, and how would I have known without daring? I had to sleep wrapped in mosquito nets all alone and ride buses and avoid pickpockets and beggars and endure shots and a few days with sketchy food to understand, it was not the world he lived in that was not for me, it was him. I dared to ask the question and though I did not like the answer, I found it.
Safety. Isn’t it daring to want to feel safe? The first half of my life, 25 years, felt very insecure. And then I lived alone for three years. I learned a bit more about who I was. So silly to think I’d learn it all, but I did get acquainted with me. And then I met a different guy. He made me laugh and dream and laugh some more and if I could have just kept one thing in my mind- he is for me- I could have had more happier days. But I am getting there. He is still for me and I him and his eyes and his laugh remind me to see me as he does.
Each time I tried to have a child, I dared the universe. Make it happen. It did not. Again and again and again there was loss. How does a person bear such loss? How did I? Did I dare? I must have. I dared the universe to tell me NO, but it did not and then came Thing 1 and more loss and Thing 2. Daring. Ha. This seems like so much nothing after the parenting journey I have been on now.
Letting go. My babies are not gone, but they are developing so quickly into their own selves. They are becoming more and more of who they have always been and what is daring is that I let them be. I can harp/remind/henpeck with the best of them but what is daring is to let them fly. Let them figure it out, let them do what they must to make their own way. I must let go and the daring is my own. Can I let go of all I have carried? Will I feel free? Ever?
My mental health is no joke. It feels daring some days to operate a car when the fantasies of driving off the road, the cliff, into a lake pop up. How do I ever get from point a to point b? I am a walking dare.
I often say what I am not supposed to. Large workplace environments are difficult for me because systems drive me crazy. I ask the questions no one wants to and the silence, the blank stares, once I have let some cat out of the bag, infuriates those who are supposed to have the answers. Do we dare address this thing? Of course not so don’t ask. I just can’t not ask. How dare I?
I have done the exact opposite of what is recommended, especially in the realm of health. I cannot tell you how many times I go for this or that because it seems proactive and then I get recommendations and I do…..nothing. I am married to family physician and he tells me I am a terrible patient. I am hard-wired to not follow directions of most kinds. I guess the truth is the school of hard knocks is really the only true medicine (except for my antidepressant) I understand. This is either daring or stupid or a little of both.
XII think this word suggest only grand ideas elicit daring actions. Except to me, in my experiences, what I feel is that things unfold and I go from one thing to the next based on what seems right at the time. I could easily paint a picture of daring but really it was just me moving through my world, reacting, or not, to what was before me. Often, I say yes or no based on where I feel lead. It is not daring to listen to yourself. Or is it?