Sink or Swim

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I’ve been thinking a lot about commitments lately, and about safety in life, in and out of the SCA. Nine years ago, I broke up with my fiancée of a year and a half, left the Society and began living on my own, without a boyfriend or roommate, for the first time in my life. It was terrifying, at the time. I had no idea if I could afford the bills on my own, or if I was destined to be one of those people who moved back in with their parents.

And the thing is, I fell on my rear. I had to move back in with my folks to get my debt under control, and to sort out my life. I thought I wanted to go toCulinarySchool, I thought I wanted to finish college. I lost most of my friendships, all of my pride, everything, and gained only one, very important thing:

…the courage to fail.

So now, three years into a new relationship (and a new love of the SCA), I’m faced with another scary proposition. My “secure” job of the last fourteen years is ending, and again I don’t know how I’ll be able to pay the bills, or find a new job, or manage my life without it. I’ve had to face interviews and applications for the first time in over a decade; purchasing work appropriate clothing for the first time; insecurity about my near financial future. I’ve already had to secure promises from friends of monetary assistance if I can’t find a new job in time to pay my rent for June. And I’ve already been rejected and scammed out of a dozen jobs at least.

And to add to my stress, I’ve stepped up to take on the regional Chronicler position for theMidlands. This is the first time I’ve ever done something in the SCA outside of my Shire or immediate friend circle. When I was first approached, my immediate reaction was to say no. I didn’t think I could handle it with what is going on mundanely. But then, something incredible happened.

My new mentors told me I could do it. My regional Seneschal told me I could do it. My boyfriend told me I could do it. My friends told me I could do it. People who barely know me, told me I could do it. And I think that if so many people see qualities in me that make them believe I can do something outside of my comfort zone, and make a commitment beyond my shire, and beyond my immediate friends, then why shouldn’t I have the courage, and faith in myself to do it?

Why can’t I once again have the courage to fail?

If I never face things like this, and never push myself to succeed, how will I ever know my own worth? How will I ever see beyond what’s local, what’s solid, or what’s safe? I will never know my own potential, and that, I believe, would be a tragedy. I have to see what lies beyond my Shire, beyond my “secure” job, beyond what I know and what is comfortable.

Am I scared? Yes. But if I never try, then what’s the point? It’s no longer about being a big fish in a small pond, or even being a small fish in a big pond. It’s about having the courage to swim. 

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