By Tiffany A. Potter
As I’ve gotten older, I have learned, even welcomed, the adventure that is life. At some point, I began to realize that there was nothing to fear and that, in fact, I was capable and competent enough to welcome in all that comes my way. The result? I now take risks that I once would have been too fearful to take, I leap knowing that the net will appear (not just hoping that it will), and I don’t shy away from new experiences and opportunities but instead blaze ahead with a confidence I once only dreamed of having.
A few months ago, a dear friend forwarded me a job posting that she believed I just might be interested in. The challenges associated with the mere idea of this job initially felt overwhelming and scary, but instead of dismissing the idea I realized that if I really thought about it I was energized by the challenge. This job, if I were to get it, would take me back down to San Diego full time. More specifically, this position required a certain subject matter expertise that I’ve been known to have, and my employer would be the Office of Homeland Security as an emergency manager, which felt like nothing short of a long shot to be sure.
On Dec. 10, I moved back down to San Diego, leaving my supportive Fresno relationships in Fresno, and the next day was my first day at my brand-new job.
When I was in the fourth grade, I and my classmates were tasked with a writing assignment. We were expected to finish the sentences on the worksheet by filling in the blanks however we chose to. I worked through each sentence methodically and carefully, coming up with endings that I believed were clever and creative.
I had always enjoyed writing in my diary, and I appreciated the (what I thought to be) freedom to take my sentences in any direction I wanted. One answer referenced me floating down the Nile (I was proud of that one).
Three days later, my teacher returned my paper with a note she wrote next to my creative answer, in bright red ink and underlined that read, “REALLY?” at the end of my Nile sentence. I was crushed that she apparently didn’t appreciate me flexing my creative muscle, that she was expecting more traditional (read: boring) answers, and my grade reflected it.
When I got home that evening, my mom brought up my assignment, making sure that I understood the importance of telling the truth and that I shouldn’t lie on my classwork. (Clearly, my teacher had called her, concerned about what I had turned in.)
For years after, I had a complex about my writing. I felt that I couldn’t write how I really wanted to write but rather had to write how I was expected to write. I lost my love of doing it.
Fast forward to three years ago when I was given a platform—this column—to write however and whatever I wanted to write. What a gift, although I had to wrestle with some insecurity for the better part of the first year.
Writing, editing and rewriting my columns to say exactly what I wanted to say without reservation or second guessing myself was a process. It’s been a wonderful lesson in returning to what I have loved, owning my voice, and trusting that what I write is, perhaps, exactly what someone needs to read in that moment.
From my first column, I had always wondered when this wonderful experience would end. I suppose I just believed—if it was my choice—that I would know when was the right time to sign off. I could have never expected that I would find myself in this new chapter, where the local girl moves back down to San Diego, but again—adventure.
And after a lot of soul searching, considering all the new demands on my time and attention with this new position as well as managing the relationships I left behind, I have concluded that it would be best to step away from my column after this month. It is true that all good things must come to an end.
It is impossible to express my gratitude over my last three years with the Community Alliance. To have the opportunity to see my words in print was a thrill beyond all expectations, and my two editors were simply amazing to work with (even on the months that I exceeded my word count).
Going forward, I have a few plans in the works once I have a bit more time. I will continue to post on my TiffanysTake.com Web site whenever the mood strikes me, and when I settle into my new job and do not feel so overwhelmed, I will begin to work on the children’s book I believe I have in me.
Thank you for being so kind and welcoming to me over the years, for allowing me to take up space in your lives and on the physical page. It has been an absolute joy to meet you back here every month. While I am so sad to say goodbye, I know that I must concentrate on this new chapter and something, unfortunately, must give.
So, loves, I leave you my parting Life Lesson: Enjoy the rollercoaster that is life. The good days and the bad days, the good decisions and the bad ones, the days that you’re confident and the days that you’re filled with self-doubt and insecurities—resist nothing, be grateful for everything and allow yourself to grow.
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and change agent. Find her at www.TiffanysTake.com on Instagram: Tiffanys_Take.columnist or Twitter: T_Tcolumnist.