To laugh is to risk appearing the fool;
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental;
To reach out for another is to risk involvement;
To expose feelings is to risk exposing true self;
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss;
To love is to risk not being loved in return;
To live is to risk dying;
To hope is to risk despair;
To try is to risk failure;
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing;
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing;
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live;
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave and has forfeited freedom;
Only a person who risks is free.
I’m not sure when I read this for the first time, but I thought of it tonight. It’d be a complicated and lengthy post to explain why this notion of risk taking and being a risk-taker has been a thought that has made its way into my every day the past two months or so. I can confidently say I am in no way, by the true sense of the word, a risk-taker. I am cautious and careful and guarded and paranoid and safe, constantly safe. I do all of these things and am fully aware of the way I am despite the disappointment that often ensues after an opportunity passes. I love the metaphor for slavery that it uses, “Chained by his certitudes…forfeited freedom.” That’s exactly how it feels. Caged by caution and fear. I live this way, scared to be alive and free, unaware of what I’m actually afraid of.
And in considering all of these things, I realized that I may take a single step in the right direction towards progress and risk, instead of ten steps backwards into comfortable and safe. I take risks in my writing. One place. Somehow it’s not so scary. I think anyone who creates anything from a place of honesty and vulnerability does so. You can’t create something whether it be a song, a painting, or a piece of writing that you honestly care about and put it out into the world without risking judgement and criticism. Anything less than the highest accolades are hurtful to the creator.
Next week in my nonfiction creative writing workshop I will sit in a classroom of twenty college-students and my professor and listen to them discuss an honest and personal piece I’ve been writing the past month. I’m terrified, to be completely honest. It’s so easy to want to crawl in a hole with my feelings and sadness, but in this piece, it’s me, exposed, vulnerable, and fragile. No hiding, no running; an unavoidable leap.
And I think this is just the step towards learning, feeling, changing, growing, loving, and living that I need.
I received a WordPress surprise when I posted this! Little things, it’s the little things. 😉
This is the video that popped up as my surprise.
*Sorry for all the typos on this post if you read this before noon today. I was hardly awake when I posted last night. Whoops. I think I caught most of them.*