Yesterday morning, I checked my weather app on my phone. There was a 20% chance of rain dropping to 0% after eight AM. I didn't look outside or stick my head out the door. I took it on blind faith that the weather report on my phone was accurate. I rolled the scooter out of the garage and looked up at an ominous sky. There was a moment of hesitation as I wrapped my scarf around my neck and zipped up my jacket. The weather app may have said 20%, but the sky was saying "It's probably going to rain on you". I took a deep breath, looked warily at the clouds and decided to risk it.
Fearless is a word that has been used plenty of times to describe me. Sure, I can play the part of fearless or pretend well enough to make it look legit. But risky? Am I a risk taker? Does being fearless make you a risk taker? I've taken risks. One time Stephanie and I skipped school. There was absolutely no reason I had to actually skip. I was a straight A student who never ever got in trouble. If there was a day I didn't feel like going to school, Mom usually said "OK". For some reason that day Steph and I said screw it and decided to not go back after lunch (we still had off campus lunch). Of course we got caught. It was the one time we did something against the rules. We both served six days of detention which all the teachers thought was hilarious because neither one of us had ever EVER been on a detention list. I can't really tell you why we did it or why I didn't just call mom and have her get me out of it. We didn't do anything outrageous. We watched a movie on cable TV. A regular movie. Not porn. But we skipped school and took the risk of getting caught and then we handled the consequences of getting caught. No big deal.
Every time I went on a first date, I was taking a risk. Then there was that one time I went on that one date which was probably not the smartest date to go on. Michael has heard the story of this date. He still, out of no where some times, will look at me say "what the Hell where you thinking?!?!". I just shrug. What he doesn't realize is that I was taking a risk with any of the dates I went on. I took a risk by going on a date with him. I continued to take risks where our relationship is concerned. I gave him a second try. I moved him into my house. All of that was risky. To take a risk is to accept the consequences of failure. We are not afraid of risk. We are afraid of failure. Sir Ken Robinson tells this story in his Ted talk, How Schools Kill Creativity. It's my favorite story about a little girl drawing a picture of God. When the teacher tells her that no one knows what God looks like, the little girl replies "they will in a minute". Brilliant. Ken (if I can call him Ken or maybe Sir) goes on to talk about how children take risks all the time because they don't know that they can fail. At some point we are taught that we can fail and we can fail miserably .
So we stop taking risks in life, in creativity, in love. We stop taking risks for happiness, for joy. Because what if? What if no one likes my art? What if things don't work out with this person? What if no one wants to read my words? What if the sky opens up and pours buckets on me while I'm riding my scooter to work? I can remember a time I allowed all of those what ifs to root me to the ground and not in a grounded centered yoga way, but in a trapped paralyzed kind of way. Oh the things I missed out on, even the failures, because sometimes even totally amazing things come from failing.
So, I hopped on my scooter and zipped to work. Not a drop of rain fell on me and by the end of the day, the skies had cleared. I rode home that evening under a crystal clear blue sky. Completely worth the risk.