When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. His name was Qoozel. Even as a little girl, I loved letters. Certain letters more than others. Loved the Q -- so cool. So questioning. Loved two 'o's together. Like owls eyes. Bright. Inquisitive. Loved the 'z'. Like a road serpenting. A path leading off into the woods. And the letter 'l'. Well, it's the first letter of my name. It's straight and tall. Stalwart. Forthright. Unquestioning of its place amongst the letters of the alphabet.
As a child, I didn't know what it was about those letters I liked so much. I just liked them. And, they were the name of my imaginary friend. I knew I couldn't have named him. He came with his own name already attached. Qoozel wasn't a person as much as a bear. Which sometimes made it difficult taking him places with me. People were always so afraid of bears.
I loved Qoozel. He wasn't afraid of anything. Of going anywhere. Of doing anything. He was brave.
Not like me. I was scared. But Qoozel gave me courage. With Qoozel, I could leap tall buildings. Explore unknown territory. Step beyond the confines of where I was, to search for where I wanted to go.
Qoozel was my eyes. My ears. My voice. My heart. He was my friend.
Somewhere on that road from childhood to adulthood Qoozel vanished. Perhaps he got tired of not being able to come out with me all the time. Perhaps I got tired of having to explain to people who Qoozel was when I took him out. Perhaps I grew embarrassed of his presence in my life and turned my back on him as I opened myself up to the possibilities that I could be courageous without Qoozel leading the way.
The other night I spoke with a friend who also happens to be a Psychiatrist. Awhile ago she asked me to take part in a survey she was conducting about women who become involved with psychopaths. I agreed. I too wanted to know if her premise was true -- that women who become involved with these types share some of the same characteristics. Her results are a resounding, yes.
I'm not going to go into her findings -- those are hers to reveal. If anyone is interested, visit her site at: www.justlikehisfather.com. You can contact her from there. You can also take the survey by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
In our conversation the other night, she said something very profound for me. I am a risk taker. Now, I know I am a risk-taker. Always have been. Qoozel taught me how long ago! However, over the past few year, I've been trying to eradicate that aspect of my personality. "You can't." My friend said. "It's neuro-chemical. You're hard-wired. It's part of you. It's something you should applaud. Love. Cherish."
"I've wanted to get rid of it," I replied. "Because I know it's what left me at risk of Conrad's lies."
"The fact you're too accepting and too forgiving, coupled with risk-taking, left you at risk," my friend said. "The opportunity is to find the balance so that you continue to thrive through your risk-taking nature without putting yourself at risk by being too accepting of other people's risk-taking behaviours in your life."
Once upon a time I had an imaginary friend Qoozel. He didn't teach me how to be strong. To stand up for myself. To stand for my beliefs, principles. Ideals. Values. He taught me how to be courageous so that I could face what I needed to face and learn how to love myself. Learning how to be strong, to stand up for me, my beliefs, ideals, values -- that's been the journey of my life. The adventure of my lifetime.
Life is an adventure. I take risks. I grow. I learn. I change. I get better at what I do, who I am. Who I can be when I do not allow other people to put me at risk because I accept their unacceptable behaviours. As I've grown, I accept that I can forgive. That's part of being loving. Forgiveness doesn't let anyone, including myself, off the hook of accountability for what they've done or said or created that put me or someone else at risk. Forgiveness opens me up to my courage, to my knowing that I can be all I'm meant to be when I live fearlessly and passionately in love with myself.
Qoozel has vanished but the courage he taught me lives on. I'm willing to risk the unknown because I have the courage to turn up for myself without fear of ever being less than all that I am meant to be.