So tell me, are you an advocate of truth in advertising? Do you like to see people as they really are, or prefer them wearing the sometimes elaborate masks they want us to see? Have you ever been surprised to learn that someone you thought you knew was in fact a very different person?
Before you answer, take a moment to consider the same questions stated in a different, more personal way. Are there things about you that even the people closest to you---friends, family, even lovers---seldom see or never know? Are there bits of the “real” you that you keep out of sight?
The answer, of course, is “yes,” as it should be. Each of us has stored away in the far corners of our mind soul-deep bits of who we are that are so personal they must be for our eyes only. We like to think of that inner repository as a safe place, a sanctuary---a place to keep what is ours alone.
But what about the times we use that same private space to hide the dreams we have for ourselves---those visions of what we could do or whom we could be---the ones we keep to ourselves because we fear the judgement of others or the possibility of embarrassment? What if our sanctuary becomes a warehouse, where we store the dreams we hide because we are afraid to try?
And what about the “you” that wants out of that sanctuary---the possibilities we long for, but can never exploit as long as they remain behind that closed door? By now, in our October Years, we may have spent a lifetime reinforcing the walls that hide those dreams from prying eyes. And each time we redouble those defenses we end up cheating ourselves---stifling the opportunity to have those dreams played out in ways that might help us be the person we were meant to be.
In one sense what I’m talking about is something akin to enforced captivity. Could it be that for too long we have locked away not only our dreams, but ourselves too? Are we trapped inside that supposedly safe place---on the wrong side of the door that insulates us from the real world---the one place where those dreams can come true?
October Bold is the story of a too-timid lady living a too-timid life, but dreams of a boldness that has always eluded her. In this excerpt she has opened the door to her personal sanctuary, just a crack---enough to let her dream slip out into the light of day.
For two restless nights and two long days Marian played and replayed her surprising dilemma. In more normal times the anxiety of dealing with David Larmer’s unexpected interest might have been too much for her fragile self-confidence, enough to put an end to such thoughts.
But these were not “normal times.” Weeks of frustration and disappointment in her own timidity were providing a new incentive. For the first time she could remember she was unwilling to settle for the easy way out, even though the situation called for bold action. But what action? Given her personal history, whatever course she chose would require a courage she had always found just out of reach.
The truth of it was beginning to sink in. It was one thing to replay her personal dream of becoming the bold and adventurous person she had never been. Actually becoming that new and unfamiliar version of Marian Crocker would be more difficult. She was not at all sure how to do that, or even where to start.
She had never been a bold person. There was little room in Tom Crocker’s world for a bold wife. Being the bold one had always been his role to play. For as long as she could remember, life with Tom had been a matter of safe and comfortable options---ones he carefully screened to avoid inconvenience and hardship. The vision she was piecing together now, of a future she could scarcely imagine, was sure to involve a new and heightened level of risk.
To further complicate matters it appeared that beyond the impact of his injuries, David was still mired in the hurt of his aborted Tanner venture. According to Jason, he was not ready to approach Marian. If there was to be a reconciliation it would be up to her to step forward with her own olive branch. Small wonder the uncharacteristic mind games she had played for the last two days, the ones that assumed a new blend of bravery and boldness, had her on edge.
One by one she studied her options, weighing the pros and cons, until finally she had settled on the most audacious choice of all. Never in all her life had she considered such an “unMarian” course of action. Though she had yet to determine her exact approach, she had managed to identify a starting point---a place to begin. Now the challenge was to take that first step before her already suspect resolve faded.
And there you have it---the first step. Whether for Marian, or the rest of us “sanctuary-bound” October inhabitants, the process of “becoming” begins by freeing at least a piece of our inner-self from its prison. We may fault the young for being too impulsive. But too often by the time we reach our October Years we have lost that adventurous impulse. To follow the dreams we have tried so hard to deny we must begin by freeing the inner-self from its captivity.