“Jump! Jump! Jump!”
She crouched on the edge of the roof – paralyzed with terror.
One by one my siblings and their friends had leaped from the roof of our grandparents’ two-story home onto a discarded mattress positioned on the lawn below. But clearly my six-year-old sister was afraid. I think the trembling — as evidenced by the knocking of her knobby knees — gave her away. The crying didn’t help either.
“If you’re scared, you don’t have to do this. Just turn around and come back down the stairs.” Always the voice of reason, I thought they were friggin’ nuts. While I would never have ratted them out when my grandparents returned from church, neither was I crazy enough to participate.
But the ‘big kids’ — into whose group my youngest sister wanted desperately to be accepted — continued to taunt.
“Jump, chicken! You’re holding up the line! Come on; do it, Birdlegs!” That was our family’s nickname for her because she resembled a sack of flour with four broomsticks attached and topped by a big cantaloupe covered with coppery Brillo pads.
Suddenly — SPROING! – she flew from her perch, broomsticks flailing wildly in the air. Glee replaced that look of terror in her eyes and she laughed maniacally as she hurled her tiny body through the air.
“I’m flying!” she cackled as she descended and bounced off the makeshift landing pad.
She’d faced her fear, conquered it and in doing so became one of the ‘big kids.’ She was well aware that she could have been hurt – or worse, that our grandparents would find out and kill us – but she did it anyway. Oh, and for the record, a gossipy neighbor delivered the bulletin and our folks did indeed make our lives pass before our eyes. But to this day, my sister will tell you it was worth it.
And you knew I was going here…
Think about it. How often are we drawn deeper into the pit of quicksand some of us call our relationships because we’re afraid of the snake resting on the branch overhead? How often do we let fear keep us from moving on to something happier?
Let’s say, for example, you’ve found your Mr Right. But in his head, you’re Ms Rightnow. You want the ring, the home, kids. And he tells you he wants those things too – just not yet (translation: “just not you” but your language skills are not yet that fully developed). He’s not ready; he needs time to “process.” So you take yourself off the market and turn yourself inside out trying to be whatever he wants you to be and convince him otherwise.
Let’s say Mr Right walks into the Ferrari dealership, sees the fabulous 2012 FF and he wants it. But he can’t get it right now. Does Mr Ferrari Dealer say “That’s okay, Mr Right. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. Even though there are a number of other buyers who want this incredible machine and are willing to drive away in it right now, I’m going to take it off the floor, tuck it away in the warehouse and save it just for you. And while you’re “processing,” I’m going to add a few options to customize it just for you and I’m going to keep marking down the price. When you’re ready, just come back and it’ll be right here waiting.”
Think that scenario would make it past Mr Right’s dreams?
If Mr Right is not ready and you are, then he’s not Mr Right, is he? Don’t let the fear of replacing him – or of being alone without him – force you to devalue yourself. Don’t let it convince you to settle for less than you deserve. And don’t let it keep you from exploring other, potentially more satisfying opportunities.
Don’t warehouse yourself for even one minute more. Get back on the market — now! If you’re still available when Mr Right is ready, I’ll certainly wish you both much happiness.
If you’re not, I’ll mourn his loss.