Yesterday, I was directed over to Tribal Writer by pal Jessica Corra to read this post about 6 So-Called Rules for the Badass Creative Woman by Justine Musk. It is, as my husband’s friends are apt to say, F***AWESOME (which is their highest form of praise and has, in fact, spawned a recipe for 4 Letter Word Chicken–but that’s another story). Go ahead. Read it. I’ll wait.
The whole thing resonated with me, but in particular her section about exploring your ragged edge.
Your ragged edge is your point of growth, the outer limits of your comfort zone, where the stuff you know drops off into the stuff you don’t. It’s an unsettling place to be. You will have to experiment. You will fall down, and fail, and make mistakes, and flounder around, and live with the kind of ambiguity and uncertainty that comes with dealing with the unknown.
I love this. It’s something I believe in so passionately, this idea of taking risks, being willing to make mistakes, all in the name of growth and learning.
There’s nothing wrong with safety. We should all have our safe space, somewhere we can turn off, unwind, be ourselves. But as Claire said in her fantastic post this morning on Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone, if you stay there
Our muscles start to atrophy because we’re certainly not moving from this, the comfiest spot in existence. We suffer some serious digestive issues because we’re eating the same thing over and over, not getting enough of some vitamins and getting too much of others. We never learn or experience New Things because we’re complacently clinging to Things We’re Used To.
There is weakness in being too attached to routine, too attached to the usual. Because those attachments are rooted in FEAR. And fear is a toxic thing that eats away at you and your safe world until you’re bound into a tiny, narrow-minded space that’s hardly big enough to turn around in. It’s mental agoraphobia (by which I am making an analogy, not talking about clinical agoraphobia) that can leave you so paralyzed with terror over the Different that you don’t actually LIVE.
I have a reputation for being an incredibly strong woman. As a mushroom eater. I take calculated risks; I try new things–whether that’s new foods, new marketing strategies, or pushing my own boundaries and capabilities as a writer. I make a point of it because I do depend a great deal on routine and the familiar in order to Do All The Things because they have to be done, and if I don’t do them, nobody else is gonna step up. I push myself and I risk failure because to do otherwise is to stagnate and accept Things As They Are. And I’m just not okay with that. I’m not satisfied with the status quo. I am meant for bigger and better things, and that is why I continue to juggle three jobs and maintain a perpetual state of semi-exhaustion as I push through all the Crap I Have To Do in order to Do The Things I Want To. Because to get where I’m going means taking those risks, maybe falling on my face and picking myself up and going on again before I get it right. It takes courage.
So I say to you have COURAGE, friends. To step outside of your comfort zone, to explore your ragged edge. Because as many wise folks have said in various iterations over the years, courage is not the absence of fear–it is continuing on in spite of it.
And this could apply on any level.