Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchical system of organizing needs. His hierarchy often pictured as a pyramid, posits that basic biological needs to satisfy hunger and thirst must be first met, followed by our needs to feel safe, secure, and stable in a world that is organized and predictable.
We all crave for that smooth life. We all want the stability and fulfillment. We search for a haven that spells safety in our work, jobs or partners. In our quest for security, we reject those offers that come along because they seem too difficult or too inappropriate.
Not that I was any different. I too wanted a lifetime guarantee. I wanted a comforting shoulder that would bear all my baggage. I craved for a voice that reassured safety. And all the while I kept waiting…waiting for something or someone to come and lead me on the road to salvation. Months passed by but the savior did not appear. Yet, I held on… for a glimpse, a shimmer of hope.
Days passed by and I tossed and turned in my bed. I was safe, secure and comfortable. I had everything one could wish for. Yet, I was unhappy. Because somewhere along the road, I had settled for mediocrity. I was content within the confines of my walls. I didn’t dare to step outside for fear of being consumed. I was scared; I did not know what the outside would be like.
So I did one thing I was most afraid of: I let go. I let go of all my holds and handles. I stopped trying to hope. I stopped waiting. I stepped outside.
In a puff of smoke, all that I had known, thought and dreamt of vanished. All the laughter, tears, memories, fears, insecurities that defined me fell. I was naked. And I was hit.
It was like stepping out into a swirling storm. I was equipped with no identity, no purpose, no instructions.
Today, as I struggle to fight that seductress of security, I am still as scared and terrified as I was on day one.
I am extending one reluctant foot now. It is trembling, struggling to support my weight. My teeth are chattering from the cold chills of anticipation. My hands out of habit, are groping for a handle.
I know there lies a chasm of unknown before me. I know that no one will answer when I call for help. I know that things will not be the same again. And I know that there is a chance, a major one, that says I will fail. Many times, I wish I could cower in a place where I feel less exposed, less ripped open, less vulnerable.
But there have been many more times where I have wished to know. I have wanted to know what it feels like to be free. I have wanted to know what it feels like to fly.
Maybe my foot will be less reluctant tomorrow. Maybe it will take a step further again. Maybe one day, I will prove Abraham Maslow wrong.