“Mom, inherently I am not a risk taker.”

To date that might be one of the most quoted lines in our house. When my #babygirl was about 10 years old, give or take a year or so, we were talking about some topic of importance regarding her life, when she opened her mouth, and out came that gem.

Now, as a mom, at first I giggled. Then, I was almost appreciative as her teen years flashed before my eyes, and all I could see were risky undertakings that teens take. And then, I wanted to have a serious conversation about life, and how at times we have to walk a tightrope/take risks in order to shine. You know…the whole; “No Pain, No Gain” mentality.

As for babygirl, there was truth in her statement. She did not really crawl or scoot. She waited until she was pretty sure it was a done deal and then stood up and walked clear across the kitchen. Same with regards to talking. She barely babbled. (Please do not even ask me what my mother thought I should do to test her hearing!!!) But then, Dadda, Mama, maybe another word or 2, and then it was “May I have more feta cheese, please!”  When she is ready, she IS ready. But don’t push her. I even used to try and get her to dye her hair a funky color, but she refused. The goofier, the more risks I tried to push her towards, the more she dug her heels in.

Last week while at our local grocery store there was a cashier with long red braids. LONG Braids and RED hair AND LONG fake eyelashes. So funky. So cool. She made me smile. She was unabashedly strutting her own unique look. She was pushing fun boundaries and I was impressed.

It made me wish I had the ability to take crazy risk in my life. I mean, how could I expect my kid to take risks, if I myself was not inherently a risk taker. Maybe not long red braids kind of risks, as that would probably not be a great look on me. But, hair color is not the only way to take risks, I am thinking more about the kind of risks that challenge some of my comfort zones.

It turns out, as I look back on my life, I am more of a comfort zone risk taker than I realized. I mean, I rebuilt a life after divorce. Found and made a life in Vermont. Moved my life to Chicago and started totally over. I think those are all pretty risky maneuvers. Don’t you think?

The world is so crazy right now and our personal world has been turned upside down. And, because what we have been doing is no longer working, this makes me feel the need to make new leaps. I am ready to take some more risks. You know, the safe kind of risks….

So here I am. Trying something new. Branching out and overcoming some anxieties. For all of us, this year has been filled with all kinds of new anxieties. Add those to my already existing ones, and it is time to take some control back. To grow and push through some of them. I think I am going to start with some of the “easier” stuff. So, here it is…I have never been a fan of being photographed or being on video. I have always been hyper critical when seeing my image and hearing my voice. But, I am finally coming to terms with…”this is me”, and some of that ain’t changing. And, instead of disliking certain aspects of myself, I am leaning in on being thankful that I have a literal and figurative voice. And, instead of not finding favor in my face, being over joyed that I am healthy and fit, and to focus on all of the positives of my being rather than nit picking all of the negatives.

All of that angst is bringing me to this. I am going to push myself and work through some of this by actually posting more on social. To put myself out in the world more than I am comfortable with.

But, the caveat is….to do it in a way that has us all bonding and sharing and supporting and spreading kindness, joy and love. It really isn’t just about me overcoming insecurities but really expanding community in the most uplifting of ways. And, together to help each other through anxieties and insecurities.

I have a new website, “theallisonjoy.com” where I am sharing things that bring me joy. Things that I am enjoying. And, I hope you will email me with all the things bringing you happiness as well. 

I am going to push myself to share my face in photos and videos. I am going to push myself to share my projects, my daily activities on social media. But, I will do so as they really are. No crazy filters, just sharpening or lightening/darkening where necessary.  The house will show our cords or a messy counter….I want to share real life. I want to push myself. But I really want to have my heart touched by all of you and to hopefully touch yours as well in a real way.

I am a supremely fortunate person. I have a great love, a daughter whom I adore, step kids that are my bonus people. A roof over my head. Food in my belly. And friends and family that support me. 

I am so fortunate.

And I am so fortunate to be able to connect with you.

I actively work on filling my soul with joy. Even when I don’t feel like it. Let’s lift each other up. And share love. And cheer each other on for taking risks, whether it is our hair color or putting ourselves out there. We have to love ourselves and each other. We must ” Choose Joy” at every turn.

As for my kid, she is living a great life and taking calculated risks. When she is ready.

Together, “Let’s Make Joy Happen”!

Much love, Allison

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