Taking risks is, well, risky

Dear Reader,

This week on the podcast, I interviewed Angelique Imani Rodriguez on the topic of risk.

Yes, that four letter word that some of us avoid or thrive on, depending what the situtation.

I’ve lived a risky life, I can say. I left my home to start my journalism career in a whole other city where I know no one. Not one living soul. Then two and a half year later, I did it again, this time a whole other state. And nearly three years after that I did that same thing.

I followed job after job not finding fulfillment.

I have risked not only happiness but also starting this blog long ago was a risk. Who knew what this blog was going to become. I started this site as Writing To Insanity in 2008. Now, in its current form, Dear Reader, it continues to be about writing, the writing life, and now mental health.

Speaking of mental health, there have been risks there for me as well. One day in July 2015, I almost took my life. I took a risk and came home. And that has been the best risk of all, a bet on my self and my mental health to come home and work on the person who is writing this blog post now. I can tell you, dear Reader, she’s pretty awesome!

Risk happens in big and small decisions. Big and small risks. The size doesn’t matter but the sentiment behind it is what is life defining.

Here’s some definition to clarify what risk actually means. There are two entries.

Risk (noun): possibility of loss or injury

Risk (verb): to expose to hazard or danger

Risk, essentially, means you have something to lose. The bigger the thing you have to lose, the bigger the risk. And more often than not, what you are exposing to hazard or danger is yourself.

Angelique Imani Rodriguez is taking a risk. She’s entering the editor arena, daring to put out a collection that may or may not be wanted by the general market. Her name and reputation as a writer is on the line.

It’s a hell of a risk when you’re starting to be known in literature circles but if there is anyone who is up to the task it’s Angelique.

I meet her at VONA in 2015, about a month before my suicide attempt. I remember thinking I wanted to be her friend. There was something about her. She was strong, didn’t take any grief, and there was a light there. I was envious of that light. I wanted a light of my own.

Years later, my friend Angelique has that light in abundance. She was on the edge of greatness then but she’s diving into that greatness now, taking the risk to do something big. She’s editing a collection of work called Fried Eggs and Rice, about how food is tied to culture. The writers are predominately writers of color.

She’s taking a risk here because she’s going against the literary narrative of stories of color. While we struggle and overcome, that will always be our stories, we are far from being victims.

It’s a difficult tightrope to tell the stories of struggle and keep it out of the neighborhood of victimhood. It’s not about exploiting victimhood, it’s about coming out of it, even if it’s with a plate of fried eggs and rice. (Which is DELICIOUS by the way.)

She’s stepping out on faith and taking a chance on herself.

After all this time, she’s still a light. She’s stepping into her greatness. And I am so lucky to call her friend.

Enjoy her episode below!

Enjoying my risks,

~Icess

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