I was having a discussion with one of my students a few weeks back. She was asking me why I hadn’t done something and I told her, “Well, to be honest, it’s because I’m too chicken.” “MISS G!!!” she said, placing her hand to her hip. “Don’t be chicken. BE STEAK! Be tough and rough..” “And chewy?” I interrupted with a smile. “What? No. Don’t be chewy, Miss G. No one wants to be chewy. Besides, steak isn’t SUPPOSED to be chewy, it just is sometimes.” I laughed at my student who stood giving me this advice in all earnestness. Don’t be chicken. Be steak.
I have been on my own for a very long time and grown pretty tough as a result. I have yet to face anything in my apartments that I can’t fix or kill by myself. Given a scary night, I am ready with my baseball bat security system in hand. I have thick skin, a sense of adventure and an easy going nature. Steak? I AM TOTALLY STEAK!!
Except when I’m not.
Being chicken means being afraid, and despite my best efforts, sometimes I am oh so afraid. Then again, when I really think about it, that fear has been the catalyst to all of my greatest adventures. Three years ago I was afraid of being sad for the rest of my life, so I moved. I went so far outside my comfort zone that I needed a u-haul to get there. It is a beautiful, weird, awesome place. Last year I flew to New York City to take a chance on a boy because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. That adventure left me in pieces that needed to be picked up and put back together.
I wonder what my life would be if I wasn’t tough enough to acknowledge my fears and do something about them. Sometimes I need a ten year old girl with a hand on her hip to remind me of that. Being chicken is okay as long as I don’t let that stop me from crossing the road and finding out what’s on the other side. It might not be what I’m looking for but maybe it will be. I’m steak enough to handle whatever that adventure brings.