Don't join the list with these other fools
-- Janet Jackson, "All for You"
In the fantastic song “All for You,” Janet Jackson outlines a scenario where she is at a party with her girl friends and she notices a guy looking at her. He seems afraid to approach her, so in the song she describes how she is not surprised by this as “it happens with all the guys,” and she encourages him to come over, promising, “I’ll let you sit right next to me.”
Beautiful, powerful, or otherwise attractive women often have the problem that men are afraid to approach them. Sandra Bullock, when asked why she married her husband, said that he was the only man who asked her out all year. Clearly the issue was not any lack of attractiveness on her part.
One thing I greatly admire in anyone, as I’ve said, is directness. The man who made the biggest impression on me of any man I’ve ever met (WOW! Take that as a challenge, brothers!) walked up to me at a party in college, put his arm around my waist, and left it there. We danced all night. Eventually this led to me taking a whole bunch of courses in computer science and becoming a top level Computing Assistant, So I can thank him for my well paying college job and my ability to program in old UNIX and C++, but the point is that even though socially I was of way higher status than he at the time (details for another story), he had the guts to just walk up to me and make a bold move. All of a sudden the other, supposedly higher value, men who were courting me just seemed to disappear and I was fixated on David. My Yale friends are all pounding their faces with their hands recalling the absurdity of it.
The moral of the story is not limited to romantic relationships by any means. Make a move. Apply for the promotion. Ask the person out. Volunteer at the place where you’d like to work or make friends. Apply to medical school (well, give that some serious thought first!) Get another cat (assuming your current cat(s) like other cats. Never inconvenience a cat.)
Change is not for those who won’t make a move. Change is not for the faint of heart. Change is not for those who are happy with the status quo. If you’re happy with your status quo, I have no idea why you’re reading this except that you’re one of my old friends and you’re really nice and want to see if I’ll talk about you more (I will.)
We all want to change something. It may not be our job or our relationship. It may be our weight and fitness, or the tidiness of our home. It may be the collection of lilies in our garden, or the amount of money in our retirement account ($244 for me! It’s a banner day! Long story.)
I find that when we want to make a change and we don’t, something festers, like a wound headed toward gangrene. No one wants emotional gangrene, so I suggest you make a bold move. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
If you are jumping out of a plane and your parachute fails (I am assuming you are using a parachute - if not, please seek professional help immediately), you could die. Okay, that’s bad.
Most of the time we risk rejection. And rejection hurts. For all that I am a maker of bold moves, I almost always know I’m going to get what I want. I tend to be genuinely shocked and hurt when I get rejected. A few months ago I was flirting up a storm with a guy, and he totally ghosted. Second time this has happened to me in 48 years. I threw myself on a bed and cried. I was sad for three days, approximately. I asked all my male friends what happened. They were utterly clueless, though a few had good suggestions. I settled on the idea that the man was clearly kidnapped by aliens. My favorite suggestion was from a guy with tremendous insight into the male mind, but it is a bit unprintable in a publication my parents read (one must preserve one’s parents’ innocence. They are so sweet.) Eventually, I gave up and completely forgot about it, moving on to other pursuits such as investigative journalism and making a living.
A few days ago, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a few months asked me, “What happened to that so-and-so guy?” She didn’t remember his name, only a description of what he does. I honestly took a minute to figure out to whom she was referring. A victory. Yet I am writing about him now. Rejection hurts.
When you put yourself out there, the universe listens and reacts.
Not always the way you think you want at the time, but eventually,
if you keep working on your own game, you will be rewarded.
BUT! I would not take back making a bold move. If you don’t make a move, you never know. The timing and appropriateness of a move is all-important, and make sure that you’re not making an inappropriately placed proposition, which is even worse than an inappropriately placed preposition.
BUT! You build strength and courage every time you try. And get this: I think you build more strength and courage every time you are rejected and get over it. There is a better man/woman/non-binary person out there. There is a better job out there. There is a better house out there. There is another marathon that will be so much more satisfying when you complete it. As my good friend M loves to say, “There’s always another bus coming around that corner.” I should know. I am frequently almost hit by a SEPTA bus on a busy corner near where I live. Am I invisible???
Don’t risk joining the list with those other fools. You never know who has a crush on you but is afraid to make the move themselves. You never know when the leadership of your company wants to promote you but wonders if you’re holding back. You never know if you could have won that poetry contest, or just caught the eye of an editor who might publish you.
Another tip, upon which I will expand in later entries. Life is long, even though it is short. Play the long game. Win the war, not the battle. Things have a way of coming around. When you put yourself out there, the universe listens and reacts. Not always the way you think you want at the time, but eventually, if you keep working on your own game (stay in shape, stay up to date and cutting edge in your field, take good care of your children by putting away your iPhone RIGHT NOW and cuddling them if they are of cuddling age), you will be rewarded.
My magick teacher Jason Miller says, “The universe is like a bad Google algorithm. It doesn’t give you more of what you want. It gives you more of what you click on.” If you click on fear by refusing to make the bold move, you will just get more fear and more doors closed in your face. If you click on courage, you eventually will get something that is equal to the courage you put out there.
This lily will give you courage! She got it goin’ on!
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