I have a confession to make, I have lived my life pretty much in the safe zone. Back in high school I didn’t do drugs, I would take a sip or two of Strawberry Boons Farm, but that was me being a party girl. Even when I approached puberty and my body was making it obvious I was no longer a girl, but well on my way to womanhood, I played down my assets, as I was confused by the attention a pair of boobs now garnered and I just didn’t need that kind of hassle in my life! Still don’t by the way, only now I embrace what is! If I were to be called a rebel, the one obvious area would be having sex, since it led to a teenage pregnancy and I ventured into that realm, way too early, but was able to make sense of it rather quickly and appreciate and curse the beauty it can be.
Having been molested at a young age, and knowing how wrong and violated that feels, when I had sex as a teenager, it didn’t feel that way and I was able to quickly discern what a consensual relationship should look and feel like, and what molestation and rape felt like. But for the most part, aside from a few fights in high school, I managed to get a proper education and stay away from anything that might tarnish my goody-goody image, as I was mostly thought of back in the day!
When it came time to make decisions about my future, I was so paralyzed by the fear to leave home, and that I was not smart enough for college, that I declined my acceptance to Boston College. I wanted to go, not only to get an education as a journalist, but so I could be in Boston when the Celtics played. I imagined getting a stellar education and meeting Larry Bird on the parquet floor of the Boston Garden, whereby he would be so enthralled with my three-point shot, in my fantasy I was shooting hoops with him, he’d take me out to dinner and eventually make me his wife. Ahhhh. Even with visions of grandeur that didn’t force me out of the house and onwards to Boston. I played it safe opting to defer school and get a full-time job instead. I will say I wrestle with that decision sometimes late at night. Not Larry Bird, my decision to not attend Boston College. None the less, I had secured a decent full-time job that I adored for a while, until the doctor I had been working for, sadly got sick, he had cancer and was unable to keep his practice thriving, and I was forced to look for another job. It was at that point that I made the choice to go to technical school. Where I graduated and worked in my field as a Phlebotomist/Medical Tech (fancy term for one who draws blood, oh how I loved the big burly guys, ready to faint when the needle hit their veins, such wimps), and I did this for a while until this became something that didn’t feel right for me anymore and I left the field entirely. Now had I stayed a bit longer, the field of Medical Technology would have been booming with the emergence of forensic science and DNA testing and this undoubtedly would have kept me there for sure.
I played it safe when I wanted to travel Europe and talked myself out of it, for fear I would be alone in Europe and be easy prey for unscrupulous men. I played it safe when friends asked me to join them in activities out of my comfort zone, bungee jumping, cliff diving, water skiing. using cocaine, I could go on. I imagined perceived harm, looking stupid, and making an ass out of myself, and every other excuse I could label it, but it was fear. Fear was the fucker that had me in its grasp and wouldn’t let me go. I made excuses and hoped it would pass, but it just snowballed as I got older.
Playing it safe, stopped me in my tracks when my Mother died unexpectedly in my arms. Suddenly I was left with the decision to either move out at 21 and be on my own, or move in with my Dad. I had looked at apartments and had even had a move in date, and declined the apartment at the last-minute, worrying that I wasn’t quite ready to be on my own or nearly responsible enough to look after myself. So I moved home with my Dad and would remain there, playing it safe for the next 4 years, until I felt safe enough to leave and get a place with my fireman. Even then, with he and I, I think we both played it safe as we continued to live together for several years before we could even commit to marriage. We had been engaged but we prolonged the trip down the aisle for a while. Not that we questioned our love, but I think, more out of fear of not wanting our marriage to fail. Probably more my fear then his, as my parents separated after 20 years of marriage and I had that fear deep in my psyche.
The funny thing is, it wasn’t until I became a Mom and all of a sudden I had to be the strong one, the brave on, the one who was all things in the eyes of my children, that I found the courage to finally start living a life that was authentic to who I am. I was 30 years old when I first set foot in college. I knew that as a Mom, it was important to me that my children all attend college, and at the very least get an Associate Degree, and I knew if they understood that I had gone back to school for my degree at the age of 30, then they had no excuses. Motherhood set me on a path to know myself and find my truth for not only me, but for my children. I wanted them to see that their mother was brave, that she was a warrior, that she conquered her fear, that she acknowledged the fear and pushed through it. I think children witnessing you pursuing your passion and facing your fears is a powerful thing, it allows them a model in which to visually see, that anything is truly possible if you put your mind to it. Whether it’s running a business, running a marathon, battling cancer, or going back to college.
When I look back at my life thus far, there are times I wish I had taken more chances, had done and experienced more things in my life, and taken the road less traveled, but I don’t dwell on that for too long, as I know that in the end, the road we take is usually the one we were suppose to. I also see that playing it safe, prevented me from becoming an addict when so many of my friends and family had fallen vicitm, it kept me from physically abusive relationships, and gave me the courage to seek out a threapist when I need to confront my demons. I see that playing it safe has paved the way for me to know that the next part of my life I am ready to risk it all for love, happiness, peace, and the ones who matter most!