Today has been a very good day. 

Perhaps it is due, in part, to finding myself taking more risks as of late. Not jumping motorcycles over buses or breathing fireballs risks, but choices and actions that require bravery. This may not be terribly impressive to someone who boasts natural courage, but I grew up being very shy. I was the child in the back of the room trying my best to cover my entire face with my bangs, speaking too quietly to hear. With tummy-aches and sweaty palms at school concerts and ballet performances. I remember in Kindergarten being so nervous before the Christmas concert that my Rudolph nose wouldn’t stay stuck because of my sweating. My small, Cancerian self was prone, more often than not, to withdraw to a place where I could watch others carefully. I always envied Franklin the turtle, his little world tucked away inside of his cozy, green shell. Over time, however, I found that my shell was not particularly cozy. It became inevitable that things would have to change and while working my way up through adulthood, I’ve managed to shed most of my extreme shyness. Not to say that certain circumstances don’t still make me want to crawl under a rock and go to my zen place (it’s really nice there), but I’m getting better. 

Growing up, children are taught that the hardest things in life are the best things and that success has to be earned. Good advice, but pretty broad in the spectrum of life lesson guidelines. No one ever warned me that it would be scary going after the things I wanted. That I would have to give up some things in favor of others. That not everything would work out and that it was going to suck, a lot. I suppose I wouldn’t have wanted to hear it anyways, and to tell the truth, I’m glad. If I had known how hard I would have to work, just to get to the beginning, I may not have started. 

Sometimes you spend a long time waiting for things to work out, carefully arranging all the small pieces to fit together. Sometimes you don’t even realize that you’re building something bigger. For example, this Spring I took a chance. Living in the second and third floors of a big house without yard space for myself, I knew that without some action I would miss out on any kind of gardening for the year. I knew that a friend in the city was somehow involved with community gardens, and although it’s completely against my normal instincts, I reached out to ask how to get involved. My first meeting turned into me enthusiastically agreeing to be the acting garden Coordinator, a shock and a dream come true! Since becoming involved, I have found a picture taken of the gardens when they were first started. At the time I had remarked on it’s beauty and I remember being amazed by what had been constructed from nothing. I saw this picture, this garden, for the first time five years ago! Does that mean that somewhere in my subconscious I’ve been secretly planning and keeping an eye out for just how to make it a part of my life? Is it coincidence that it is the same friend who first told me about Fruit Share? A huge portion of my life at the moment is all due to one choice, to be brave. 

It amazes me to look back and find how each piece of my personal history relates to where I am and what I’m proudest of now. With each decision that I’ve made to do something out of the ordinary- move to Kuwait or volunteer in Central America- I’ve faced opposition. People telling me not to, warning me that it’s not what’s best for me. I’m glad that I was brave enough not to listen. That I was courageous enough to know what was best for me in both the short term and the long run. I think it’s time to quit second-guessing myself for good, to make the commitment to doing what I know will make me happiest and most successful in the long run. It makes me very happy to find myself where I am now with the opportunity to help make a difference in our community. I can’t help but feel that this is one more piece being carefully laid at the beginning of something bigger. Something that I can grow and build on from where I’m at now. If it means the success of Fruit Share and the betterment of this city, I promise to be brave. I will ask for donations, I will hold workshops, I will make calls to important people on the phone (that one I still struggle with). I encourage you, readers and supporters, to be brave as well. Do what you know is best for your community and lend a hand any way you know how. One way is by helping Fruit Share by being either a volunteer or fruit owner- please register at www.fruitshare.ca and follow us on twitter @bdnfruitshare.

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