Each month we ask our readers to respond to a question. For October, 2012, "Bold and Brave"-themed issue we asked: What would you do if you were not afraid?
What would I do if I were not afraid?
If I were not afraid, I would start my own law firm. For many years I have been the only woman in a sea of men at the law firm where I am a non-equity partner. I really like the people with whom I work and I really love my work; but periodically I think about how much greater and better it could be if I were running the show. There has been no end, however, to the abundance of perfectly good reasons I have come up with over the years to justify not doing the very thing I early on told myself I would do: start my own firm. For example, I am not a huge fan of change. What I have is good enough. Plus there is the considerable financial risk of such an undertaking. Besides, what if I am just not that good? What if I never have any clients? What if I fail miserably?
On the other hand, what if I don't do this? The fear that I might someday look back and mourn what could have been is a far greater fear. How on earth did I manage law school with three little kids aged 9, 4, and 4 months if I am not driven, capable, smart and capable of overcoming my fears? What if I build it and they do come?
In September, the fear of not giving myself the opportunity won out over the fear of failure. I am bravely and boldly starting my own law firm in October. Yes I am scared, but I am not petrified. I am exhilarated and feel free in a way that I haven't in a very long time. Kelly A. Jeanetta, Marine on St. Croix, Minn.
Revamp voting process
Workers at the polling place can never find my name on their long rosters at voting time. It's not a complicated or hard to spell name. I read it upside down, and when I point it out to them they disagree with me. It's very hard to keep a straight face while being told you are not who you say you are.
This voting system is woefully outdated, and needs to be modernized. With all our great technology it should resemble a cash machine where a person can drive up and punch in their information; vote and go. I've been loosing faith in this antiquated system.
If I were not afraid I would get a bunch of competent women together and revamp that voting process. I would eliminate all those large ledgers with all our names printed on them. Then we would computerize it, fine tune it, and have it be a smooth task for all the busy people who have to juggle their many jobs that day. Leila O'Shea, Minneapolis
Change my identity
The thing I would do if I were not afraid is have a sex change. Since I have been a small child I have felt awkward in the female body. I was always a tomboy, but now that I am older I find this identity was wrong too. When I think of the phrase a woman's work is never done that might be true, and I feel exhausted trying to be superwoman every day.
If I were a man I would donate my bras to someone who actually wanted them. I have always wanted a flat chest, and could run around without a shirt on outside. I would have more muscles, and might not be exhausted after lifting weights at the gym. Heck I might even consider being a bodybuilder. Tanya, Minneapolis
Live it up
My first reaction when I read the word "afraid" was to think to myself-I'm not afraid of anything! But when I thought about it a little more, I realized (and admitted to myself) that I am afraid of dying and leaving this wonderful world and my great family.
My daughter recently pointed out certain behaviors of mine that clearly indicate that I'm getting older. I've already lived two years longer than my dad (he lived to age 67), so it does concern me. I identify with a lot of traits of my dad, but for physical health I identify with my mom-and she lived to age 86. So, I say to myself, lighten up lady! You have at least 16 years left! Bonnie Pouliot, Minneapolis
Send us your thoughts!
"A Woman's Survival Kit" is our November theme. Tell us a story about a woman who survived. She may be your sister, your friend, the woman next door. She may be ... you. Tell us in 150 words or less. Send YourThoughts by October 10, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org
December is our annual Changemakers issue. "What would you like to see changed for women or girls?" Tell us in 150 words or less. Send YourThoughts by November 10, 2012 to email@example.com