I never thought of myself as bold. I still don’t. But in retrospect, I see how passion and commitment can morph even the most reticent of us to boldly tackle our dreams and aspirations.

I think a lot of women are quite bold. Reflect on your life and the steps you have taken and you may surprise yourself.

A cousin once offered to pick me up at our hometown airport. As I descended the stairway, scarf billowing in the breeze, my cousin quipped to my mom: “It figures. First an opera singer and now this!” Her remark bothered mom, but I had quite a chuckle.

Yeah, pretty bold I guess.

As a rather overly protected girl from a small Midwest town, my passion and love for classical music urged me boldly forward to dream of a career in musical performance. I vowed, “I’ll dig ditches! I’ll haul rocks!” to reach that dream of mine.

I nearly did just that.

Leaving my cozy and comfy home and striking out for the unknown and unsure, I sang anywhere and anything for peanuts just to hone my craft. I didn’t exactly do the ditch and rock thing, but I sure took a lot of interesting temp jobs; from cashiering at a zoo, to learning and teaching new software to other applicants back in the infancy days of computer technology. Those heady days in New York City when I would be called at a moment’s notice to walk in and manage a several hundred extension switchboard didn’t seem to faze me. It was a means to an end to reach my goal.

Performers receive far more rejections than offers. They pay teachers and coaches a lot of cash (on a struggling singer’s salary!) to correct and criticize their efforts. My passion and commitment made me bold enough to toughen up my very thin skin to further perfect my art.

Once accepted into that elite group of performers, I dealt with a constant barrage of ego, arrogance and a fair amount of cut-throatery. I discovered that passion, perseverance and ethical practices were far healthier, bolder tools than running roughshod over my competition.

And then Islam came calling.

So enter Islam and conversion into the picture and suddenly those years of boldly pursuing my career has given me a lot of leg up to deal with perhaps one of the biggest struggles I had ever encountered. Standing before an audience of thousands did give me pause, yet in no way equaled facing family and friends with such a monumental life and career turnabout. Today my faith emboldens me to deal with our current climate of Islamaphobia and Muslim bashing, maintaining a calm and confident demeanor.

Every little struggle I faced helped create that bold woman I am today.

I read in the Qur’an that God give us tests in life to build character. Certainly God prefers a bold worshiper as opposed to a timid one. When we wholeheartedly follow a religious lifestyle, we will certainly need a lot of bold. The naysayers are many and come of out places we least expect –those who know and love us best. But we’re in good company with nearly every religious figure throughout history. Each one, buoyed by his or her love of God, boldly forged a path against all odds and in the end was extremely successful.

Now it’s your turn tor reflect on your life, where you are today and how you got there. And where will you boldly go next. You may boldly confront that glass ceiling. Women are boldly furthering their education, often surpassing men. Even those roles dismissed in the past, motherhood and parenting, require a great deal of bold: think of facing yet another 9 months of pregnancy or starting over with a newborn when other children are entering college or marrying. How bold must we be to recover from an debilitating illness or bouts of depression; to face a prognosis of disease or death of a loved one? Even to shed those pounds, change a diet, and stick to a regime of exercise.

How very bold of us!

I have found that taking risks, diving in, no matter your better judgement or the advice of the ‘contrarians’ in your life, yields great results. What may be inconsequential, such as taking those temp jobs to support my fledging career, paid off in ways I cannot enumerate.

So, Women of Plaid! Be bold! Just like the feature on your pc keyboard, stand out! Be the adventurous, audacious, courageous, daring, fearless, heroic, resolute, bantam, forward, dauntless, enterprising, intrepid, unafraid, valiant, valorous, bold YOU!