The past two years I have been choosing words to live by. I find that they are a nice, gentle guide to go about living and it’s interesting to see how they manifest themselves. This year, my words are “bold” and “beauty.” To seek bold beauty and to see beauty in boldness. (My art practice this year will have plenty of colour, I hope!)
Being bold has never been a strength of mine. For almost all my life, I have worked to be easy going to the point of being steamrolled. My number one love language is words of affirmation and I want to be liked (don’t we all?) — so I never want to rock the boat. I will extremely go with the flow, say yes to things I actually don’t want to do, and never advocate for myself. I do this all in the name of peace…and for people to “like me.”
This year, however, I decided I wanted to change that. I wanted to be bold. I don’t want to do it in a boisterous way. I want to be bold in a respectful way that advocates for what I need and want. I want to see that asking for what I need or want is not a bad thing. I am entitled to the right to ask. The respondent is entitled to the right to say no.
Boldness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. I think that often the things we seek don’t have to be grand gestures at all. We’re always looking for that “ah-ha!” moment, but I think the truth is that sometimes, boldness come in glasses of water.
Asking for things I need has always filled me with dread. The thought of asking made me feel like I was imposing on someone. In my quest to be loved by all, I sought to impose as little as possible. Take what I am given, and be content. Now, I realise that to be everything to everyone means I am nothing to no one. Sometimes, being bold is as simple as asking for a glass of water.
I arrived at her flat around 9h30 on a drizzly Monday, wishing for spring and irked that I had, against my better judgement, left my umbrella at home. Gently running through the courtyard, I arrived at my friend’s door, apologising for my tardiness.
As I settled myself on her couch, in my spot on in the left corner, she offered me tea. I accepted. Then, taking a breath, I asked, sheepishly, if I could also have a glass of water. My voice rose in the way one’s voice does when she is simultaneously asking a question and apologising, and I was apologising for asking for something that wasn’t offered to me. A glass of water.
My friend knows that my words for this year are bold and beauty. That is why I felt comfortable enough to ask. And she affirmed my efforts, replying that she was so glad that I asked. It is this first ask, this first request, that showed me that boldness can be as simple as a glass of water.