Anyone who knows me can tell you Spanish is my chosen secondary language. Lessons since first grade, four years in high school and two years in college should provide a firm foundation to tackle any Spanish-speaking occasion life can afford. I relish the opportunity to translate a conversation I hear on the radio. I’m the first to interject, “Camarones means shrimp” when looking over a menu. I’ve even been known to opt for the Spanish option on an ATM machine just to ensure I can manage despite the slight discomfort of not being prompted by my native language.
However, when the chance comes to use my skills in one-on-one human conversation, I freeze. I worry if my speech isn’t 100% accurate, I’ll make a fool of myself and insult the person I’m trying to converse with. Getting out of our comfort zone can be a paralyzing experience. No matter how prepared we may be, our perceptions of ourselves can be our worst detriment. We never feel ready.
That thought struck me as I read through this issue of Lagniappe. The accomplishments of these outstanding women — our incoming Board; our WE Fellows; our philanthropic trailblazers; our scholarship recipients — would have never been possible if they froze. They had a spark inside pushing them to help others dream big, follow their passions and make a better world for those they love. Their actions call upon us to always be ready — to stand for what we believe in, do what is right and give back to the community that has given us so much.
I stand on the precipice of my year as Editor of Lagniappe. I have many decisions to make, and they may not all be in my comfort zone. In that spirit, although Spanish is the language I’m accustomed to, I choose to end my letter with a French phrase.
Je suis prêt!
Kristin W. Durand