One of my closest friends became that because she sent me a DM when I joined a book club that she also happened to be in. “I think I know you,” she texted.
Sometime earlier, I’d met her a popular Blantyre cafe and I’d bummed a cigarette off of her in the most embarrassing way possible (I’ll spare you the details but the long and short of it is that cool people terrify me).
I left that interaction feeling the shame of one too many faux pas but lo and behold a person I now hold dear saw someone she wanted to pursue a connection with.
Obviously, this friend of mine is a madwoman capable of deranged levels of bravery. If our friendship had required the first step from me then I wouldn’t be telling you about her right now. She’d be a stranger. I think about this a lot because it makes me realise that my lack of courage could have birthed the future in which she is not a part of my life. See, I walked away from that wondering, “Should I have gotten her number?”
I thank the heavens that the matter is now moot and I get to enjoy the privilege of enjoying her friendship but there have been many other circumstances before this and after where I have let the fear of making the first step turn into existential “what ifs”.
I’m not going to type here and tell you to always do the terrifying thing. We’re only human and sometimes we cower but I can confidently tell you that disappointment carries a duller sting and has a shorter shelf life than what-ifs. What ifs can haunt you for a lifetime.
Apply for the job. Submit for the contest. Be the first one to offer the branch of friendship. Reach out and ask someone to teach you. Reach out and ask someone if they’d like to be taught. Write the book. Kiss the girl. Start with walking and then run. Just do it.
Do the thing. Do it however you want and however you can. It’s okay if you’re scared or if you’re tired or if you do it slowly.
All you need is courage for the first step!
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