I have not typically ever been a bit risk taker, though risks are perhaps somewhat subjective. I have done things about which others have commented "That was so brave of you." and yet it did not seem a brave or difficult thing to me at all, only a necessary thing. Still, I am generally someone who has lived with the better safe than sorry motto, someone who is cautious and who does not really like to put herself out there as the saying goes. I do not believe there is a need to apologise for this. It is who I am and it is typical introvert behaviour. In a world where extroversion is the norm and considered the ideal, introversion can sometimes be seen as something that needs fixing, correcting or changing. This is not true.
Having said that, I do sometimes need to push myself a little bit to take a risk. What that risk is or whether or not it can even be defined as one is my own personal decision and I don't usually feel the need to have it validated by anyone else. I also sometimes find it valuable to remind myself of the things I have already done or am able to consistently do which are risks in the eyes of some and thus remind myself that I am not a timid wee mouse. What is frightening or challenging to one person may not be so to another and I have sometimes been surprised when someone has said to me "Wow, I could never do that." This has happened with regards to my painting, or I should say with the fact that I paint. I do not have the chutzpah to sell my art or display it publicly and showing it on my blog has been a big first step for me. But I have had some people tell me that from their point of view it takes enormous courage just to paint at all.
Another thing I do, which seems bold to some, is write fiction. I have been sporadically writing fiction all my life, but I rarely share it and certainly nothing is published. I do not yet have the boldness to pursue anything like an agent or publisher or even to self publish. I am not a self promoter. And yet as someone who creates, whether it is art or writing, I do recognise that I do it both for myself and for others. I do it primarily for my own joy and yet things created are often meant for sharing. I hope that what brings me joy could potentially bring others joy too. I abhor the idea of fame, I am terrible at self promotion, but I dream of my work being shared, recognised of something that has value not only to myself but to others, and above all, I simply wish to be good at it.
I often ponder the concept of Patti's Visible Monday, and completely understand women can become invisible in our youth equals beauty culture. Introverts can tend towards being invisible too. I wonder just how visible I want to be or if I do want to be visible at all. I am uncertain. I believe that what I really want is to put what I create out there and then myself step back into the shadows. I prefer the idea of some notice paid to what I create rather than to me, the person. I am perfectly well equipped with social skills and could not really be described as shy, but I do not like to be the centre of attention. I would appreciate recognition and perhaps even praise where it is due but do not like a fuss. Trying to find this balance in my life seems like a constant sort of juggling act.
Once, years ago, and I am perhaps fortunate that it is only once, I experienced the frustration of a colleague taking all the credit for work we both did together. I fumed silently. I was angry. It was particularly challenging to cope with as she was also a close friend. In retrospect I believe that she is not a calculatingly evil person so much as she is someone who is much more prepared than I am to bask in a bit of glory and it was something she sought. Although we are not as close as we once were, I still see this quality in her and I do not wish to have it but I have learned from her on my journey to understanding myself and what I want, why I do what I do and what I may need to do next.
A strategy that seems to work for me, when I do need to push myself a little, is to tell others of an intention so that I feel held accountable. This is what I do when I feel I need or want to take a bit of a risk. This is essentially the strategy I am using when I show my art on my blog. I am saying, look, see I am an artist and this is something I have painted. I am setting up an expectation in others that I will make more, that I will grow and improve, and that I will continue to share. Or at least, I am setting myself up to believe that others expect that. The next step is to do that with my writing. I am not yet certain if I will share any of my fiction writing here on my blog, but today I am going so far as to state that I am adding to my collection of short stories, intending to seek out some contests and submit them. I am also working on a much larger project, doing research for what I hope will be a novel. It may be spectacularly bad or it may be the next best seller. I will never know unless I try. And I am more likely to find the courage to share it if you hold me accountable.
Dressed for writing, both at home and in my local cafe, I'm forced back into darker and warmer clothes due to some nasty weather. My solution is to add liberal doses of purple! The new to me red tooled leather tote has become my writing bag. I have my notebooks, pens, items for editing and a book for research stashed in it. It fits my laptop too if I want it but I don't want it today.