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The Grey Matters

Who Risks Again?

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Who risks again?

I was the ultimate risk taker. Just ask my parents.

I saw a kid pop a wheelie on his bike. I tried it with everything I could muster up and flew off my bike and wound up with a huge gash across my stomach. I rode my bike even harder.

I wanted to skip THREE monkey bars instead of my regular two, and I fell to the ground with the wind knocked out of me. I still remember seeing the teacher on duty and being unable to make a sound. I can bet you I tried it again and succeeded.

I was left out of many an-elementary-school-girl-club and what do you know? I treasure many women, and I wasn’t afraid of making friends later in life.

Who risks again?

This might be the best question I ever asked myself and that ever stared back at me from the page of a book. It’s been resounding in my head and hasn’t let up. I read these words YESTERDAY, and already, I feel as though this is the question I’ve been asking myself all along.

What did I lose, looking back on the Melinda of years gone by?

Who risks again… and again… and again?

Because really… for those of us who have had a truly rough go of it (after seemingly having “It All”)… who among us will risk feeling that loss again?

Who has lost a child and dares to bring another into the world? 

Who has opened a business and watched it fail and attempts to open up yet another?

Who has loved with their whole heart and lost all of that time and energy and finds another to bestow the same amount of love? 

Who has had their entire existence derailed and looks to putting together the steps of their new life? 

I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned: There are those who do risk again. There are those who don’t (yet?).

I admire the ones who DO. 

I tend to resonate well with the ones who don’t. It’s not that I’m wallowing in the past and not living my life each day the best I know how. I am. But man, I feel like I can sniff out the jaded and the scarred and the wounded from ten miles away. We see each other across a room and nod, perhaps nothing more.

It’s something with the way we look, perhaps? Maybe there’s some animalistic instinct we have, a certain wrinkle that forms in just the right spot on our brows, subconsciously telling us who is of the same kind? Maybe it’s the way we carry ourselves, in some way defensive. It’s subtle. I know it must be. Or maybe it’s the language we use. We avoid certain words. We say, “I really like that jacket,” because we know the dangers of saying the word Love. I don’t love your jacket. I don’t even love any one person right now, so how can I love that?!

Maybe I’m making this all up in my head and I don’t have a special connection with anyone, except the one I imagine!

And don’t get me wrong. I admire the ones I resonate with just as much as the ones who are living with an unending, unafraid RISK of passion all over again. It takes a certain amount of courage to even get out of bed in the morning. It takes more to show up. It takes even more to smile, then laugh, and then admit to yourself that, “Hey, life actually isn’t so bad.” It’s admirable to admit defeat and then pull yourself up by your fraying bootstraps. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and I like it.

I’ve risked a lot in the last year. I risked leaving the city I knew. I risked missing my friends and family. I risked being more alone than ever. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It was enjoyable, even. But am I truly risking It All? As in, something to dive into head first…. the way I did when naivety was part of the thrill?

“We’ve learned to be as faithless, stand behind bullet proof glass

Exchanging our affections through a drawer…

You should count your change before you’re even out the door” -B.E.

What I’m getting at here is what I’ve said before:

What happened to that seven year old? Where is she? The Melinda who was swinging on the monkey bars would say to me, “So? You get back up, you do it alllllll over again. No one could hear me yell, but turns out I didn’t need help! I got up all by myself. And LOOK AT ME GO!”

Buck up, in other words. I know that’s what she’d say.

Yet it is scary to risk again. Broken bones are actually much easier to heal than hearts.

“Yeah, well, I cried a lot in mom’s arms when those girls wouldn’t let me in their club. That hurt my heart. But I stayed quiet, watched the world around me, and wound up with better friends than I ever imagined. And LOOK AT ME GO!!”

Seven Year Old Melinda strikes again.

I’ve recently risked a little. The move, the non-extraordinary things that turns out- people do every single day. They don’t even feel the need to blog about it (ha). But I will not risk saying words that make me 100% vulnerable. Not really. I go so far, only to reel back. It’s safe right now. I can’t imagine getting out of this sort of limbo that life seems to be right now. I feel in between “my old life” and “my new life” even though I KNOW that life is what it is: it’s happening right now. This is the new life. There is no magical moment.

Oh, how I wish there was, though.

“Oh, time has a way of throwing it all in your face

The past she is haunted, the future is laced

Heartbreak, you know, drives a big black car,

I swear I was in the backseat just minding my own” -G.A.I.

The past may be haunted with memory monsters. Things didn’t turn out how I imagined. I don’t really believe in True Love with the capitals. But I want to. I guess the journey in the big black car doesn’t have to be passive. Maybe it’s because I was in the backseat minding my own business that things turned out the way they did. Maybe I need to fight someone to get into the front seat. Be demanding? Nah. Be firm? Absolutely. (Absoloodle!) The future might be laced. And life can’t compete with memories. Though I’d really appreciate someone who appreciated me despite their haunted past. In that case, I know that someone else deserves the same from me.

“Hope was a letter I never could send

Love was a country I couldn’t defend” – G.A.I.

Welp, truly, I have sent letters. Some more important than others. Now starts the defense of Love.

My goal is to shatter bullet proof glass. Seven year old Melinda says, “You can do it!” And she probably high fives me with the biggest smile on her face.

Cheers to all that, to those who are risking everything and those who maybe aren’t there yet.


rockin the Paula Abdul shirt

rockin the Paula Abdul shirt


Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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