Black and White Plain

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to live out my “Queen’s Gambit” dreams. Armed only with my elementary-level knowledge of chess and an iced coffee, I took my seat at the open-air board and very quickly remembered one crucial thing—I don’t like playing chess.

This black and white plain has no shades of grey. There’s no room for diplomacy or personal sentiment. It’s a world of strategy and ruthlessness. It’s also quite beautiful and inspiring when played by those who know what they’re doing. In case it wasn’t already clear, I did not know what I was doing.

After trying to negotiate a peace treaty, naming all of my pawns (and then some), refusing to eliminate any of my opponents pieces, and losing Phillipe and Bishop Shonda (to the cause?), I remembered something else about chess—it’s only a game. You can walk away.

While some might see this move as a forfeit, I think I won in my own way.

We may not live on a chessboard, but sometimes the boxes and predetermined societal roles we find ourselves in can make it feel that way. Here’s the thing though, just like in my terrible game of chess, you can walk away.

It may seem impossible. You may receive some unkind input from the other players. But I promise you, it’s possible and if you feel it’s worth doing, it’s definitely worth it.

Plus, here’s the great thing about walking away from something, unless you’re trapped in some weird, time loop, you’re usually walking towards something else.

Be Kind. Be Brave. Stay Awkward.

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