Courage is a choice

Sedruola Maruska | Leisure Life Coach

I recently watched “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and found it quite entertaining. Not incredibly intellectual, but I found myself laughing out loud at times and cringing at others. I was entertained, sometimes that’s all you need. . . but I digress.

In the movie there’s a character, Frankie, played by the very talented Justice Smith, who lives in fear. His problem, his position, what he’s passionate about is taking him to very scary places and he’s constantly engulfed by his fear.

Sleep: The Secret to Increased Productivity

The best part is when he has to make a choice between his fear and courage to save someone he cares about. As per Hollywood, he chooses courage.

Notice how I said he “chooses” courage.

So many times we think we’re victims of circumstance. Something scary comes along and we don’t believe we have what it takes to tackle that thing. So we choose fear. We choose to play small. Or, we choose not to venture.

Courage, choosing to be scared but to do the thing anyway, is a choice.

Great time to follow me on Instagram

I got cancer. I had no choice there. Choice came when it was time to decide whether I was going to choose courage or fear. The choice comes whenever I decide how to talk about, think about, or tackle the changes that have come with cancer.
I choose courage every day.

What we choose each moment of our lives, alters everything that comes after that moment. Sometimes, an act of courage may be to get out of bed in the morning, or to go back to school for what you really want to do. Sometimes, it’s simply smiling at a stranger who looks sad.

Courage, when chosen, is always grand no matter how small the act.

The Beauty of Chemotherapy

What’s your “Thing”? What are you putting off, shying away from or just ignoring because you don’t believe you have what it takes to do it? You do have what it takes, it takes courage, just choose to use it.

Courage is not exclusive, it’s what those who achieve their dreams choose everyday because going for what you want is scary. . . but you have the choice to work through your fear.

________________________________________________________________

Where is True Love’s Kiss?

Where Is True Love's Kiss? | Sedruola Maruska

I, like you, am of the Disney generations.

Starting with “Snow White”, Disney started defining “true love” and “true love’s kiss” for us.

Disney wove certain ideas into our fabric that have shaped our perceptions of love and what it means.

Today is Valentine’s Day (a made up holiday, but nonetheless) so lots of people are focused on Love. So it’s the perfect time to talk about love and where to find true love’s kiss.

Where Is True Love's Kiss? | Sedruola Maruska

A Story

When I was nine and ten we lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. Why, you may ask? Because my dad received a scholarship from the University Of Utah. So we packed up our stuff in New York City, and moved to a foreign land.

My brother and I never had a hard time making friends, but I think certain experiences we had in Salt Lake City shaped certain ideas for us. Living in Salt Lake City was the first time I knew I was different.

One day I was out with a group of friends playing, when someone suggested we play “run, catch & kiss”. If you’ve never played, let me explain. Run, catch and kiss is like tag except you have to kiss the person you catch then they have to kiss the next person to make them it. . . .

Mommy Can I change my color

At nine it seemed like a good idea since we were somewhere between “yeah, I want to be kissed” and “YUCK”! Anyway, we started this game and something interesting happened.

I say interesting now, with the luxury of distance, but it was hurtful.

As we’re running around playing this game I noticed something that soon descended like a fog on each of my friends . . . no one was running, catching or kissing Sedie, me. So, one of my friends went over and had a “chat” with the boys letting them know someone had to kiss me.

[wp_ad_camp_4]In 1977 & 1978 Salt Lake City I was the only person of color in the group. As a matter of fact, my brother and I were the only black kids in our entire elementary school for a whole year. There were about 300-400 students in the school.

But, I digress. The game resumed with the “new rules” and a very brave soul stepped up, chased me, reluctantly kissed me on my cheek (others were getting kissed on the lips), and that was the end of the game.

Disney. . . Will true love’s kiss ever come for me?

Friends

The year we moved to Salt Lake City was the first, and probably only, time we received neighbor gifts.

A lovely lady that lived downstairs brought us a cake of welcome. At the time she had four children and the eldest two were mine and my brother’s age. They became our best friends.

We were such good friends that someone asked if the boy was my boyfriend. . . not knowing much about what that meant, I asked him, he said yes and that was the extent of our romantic relationship. We were friends, we loved each other, and that was that.

After those two years we moved back to New York and left our friends behind. We lost touch because time and distance but I never forgot them.

Years later, when the internet was a baby, I realized I could probably find my long lost “boyfriend”. So I began a search and sure enough, I found him. We chatted for a long time and through that conversation I found out he was living happily with his partner, a lovely man he’d met at a party.

Disney. . . where’s true love’s kiss for that?

Please join me on Instagram!!

The Messages

By now I was 29 and I knew there was true love’s kiss for me out there, but that was in spite of messaging.

[wp_ad_camp_5]What are the messages we get?

  • Girls need protection and saving
  • Boys need to save and protect girls
  • Girls can only be loved and saved by a boy
  • Boys can only save and protect girls
  • Boys don’t need protection
  • Only boys can give a “True Love’s Kiss”
  • Only white girls are worthy of being kissed

Definitions

What is love? Merriam-Webster defines love as: 1) Strong affection for another arising from kinship or personal ties; 2) Attraction based on sexual desire; 3) Affection based on admiration or common interest.

What is true? Again, Merriam-Webster defines true: 1) Being in accordance with actual state of affairs; 2) Confirmable to an essential reality; 3) Fully realized or fulfilled

With those definitions it’s probably safe to say that “True Love” is a fully realized strong affection for another. That means anyone can truly love anyone. . . whoa!

New Messaging

It’s exciting to see that new messaging is emerging. It’s been extremely slow, but as we continue to speak our truths and express ourselves, the messaging must change.

[wp_ad_camp_4]As for Disney:

In 2009, my little girl got the message that she’s capable of being a princess, strong, independent and kissable with “The Princess and The Frog“.

In 2013, little girls got the message that they could be strong, independent and powerful. They also got the message that true love doesn’t require a kiss in “Frozen”.

In 2014, little girls learned that true love will always save you and it comes from those who know and accept you at your best and worst in “Maleficent“.

And in 2016 “Moana” taught our daughters that the quest isn’t to find “one true love” but to fiercely fight for all those you love. . . truly.

As we focus on love today let’s remember this: romance isn’t love, it’s a product of a romantic relationship.

Love is love.

Where’s True Love’s Kiss?

So, as we spread our kisses, let’s make sure they’re true loves kiss of knowing & understanding.

Let’s remember we’re all kissable and worthy of true love.

Let’s remember, and teach our children, that true love’s kiss heals because it comes from a deeper place than has traditionally been portrayed in the media.

Here’s hoping that the characters in movies become such that ALL children can see themselves reflected (representation is so important) and know they are lovable and kissable because true love’s kiss is not reserved from anyone.

Where’s true love’s kiss? It’s in those around you who are always there loving you. It’s not only romantic love but familiar love and familial love . . Happy Valentine’s Day!

A woman walks into a boardroom…

A Woman Walks Into a Boardroom | Sedruola Maruska

“A man walks into a boardroom…”

Sounds like a bad joke right? Well, sadly it is. It’s about our perceptions of men in general. It’s about our perception of ourselves, as women, as we relate to men.

What did you envision in your mind’s eye about that man walking into the boardroom? Was he in a suit? What about well-groomed? What about race, was he white? That’s what I saw too. . .

“A woman walks into a boardroom…”

We know how this one ends. She’s not as strong as the man. As a matter of fact, you probably went to a very dark and dismal place with that opening.

What did this woman look like? What punchline were you envisioning? Was she strong? What about race, was she white? What I saw has evolved over the years. A little like the riddle about the doctor and the dying son. . .

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to the hospital. At the hospital the surgeon looks at the boy and says “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son.” How can this be?

It’s a riddle because most people immediately think the doctor was the dead father, but how? Why? Our programming let’s us see men & women in specific roles. When challenged, there’s conflict.

A Woman Walks Into a Boardroom | Sedruola Maruska

Visions of Yourself

[wp_ad_camp_5]How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself walking confidently into that boardroom, or do you shudder at the thought? How you see yourself in your minds eye is key to how the world will see you.

Let’s take a minute and think about that woman who walked into the boardroom. Think about how you pictured her versus how you pictured the man. Then take a moment to really examine why you think you saw what you saw.

If the woman looked like you, why do you think that was? What if she didn’t look like you? What if she looked like the total opposite of what you consider yourself to be?

When I was young, in my fantasies I was always white. You may look at that and say “you wanted to be white?” No, I wanted the romance I saw portrayed in movies, on TV and in magazines. The people who had that romance where white. So that was what I saw in my mind’s eye.

Representation Matters

When I say representation matters I’m not only talking about race, but also gender & orientation. If you’re not seeing what you want to see in your mind’s eye as it relates to any part of your life, you need to ask yourself why and begin changing that.

[wp_ad_camp_4]How can you be a strong businesswoman if you can’t see yourself in that role? If when someone says “a woman walks into a boardroom. . . ” and you see something or someone “other” than how your perceive yourself, there’s work to be done.

Having a vision of yourself starts with being able to see images of who you want to be, around you. It also means looking beyond those images and putting yourself in the place you want to be.

You’re a badass business owner so it’s time for you to see yourself that way. It’s time to stop discounting your abilities and move in your power. When you hear the intro “A woman walks into a boardroom..” you should see yourself and all that makes you strong and unique, giving the most amazing presentation ever. . . or at least you should see that woman as strong.

Changing our Perceptions

As women we need to change our perception of ourselves. We need to start writing a new script that says “I have the ability to be someone’s true love and save them!” “Don’t save me, love and support me in my passions.” “I can do this!”

I want my daughter to see me doing this and know she can too!

Until we change our own perceptions, we’ll be stuck living the images and visions of others. It does my heart good to see that in recent years there have been movies where the woman doesn’t need saving by a man. My daughter is a strong girl, I want her to know she doesn’t need saving by a man, she needs to be loved, respected and supported in whatever she chooses to do. I want to be that representation for her so she’ll look for it in the books, movies & tv shows she’ll eventually watch.

What did you see when you read “a woman walks into a boardroom…” share below what your vision was and how you may want to keep it, or alter it.