Cass was a risk-taker long before she even realized she was. A good example is the way she changed how people addressed her when she moved to Toronto to go to university. All through her school days she had been called Sandy or Sandra by her peers, teachers, and most family members. It seemed a logical shortening of Cassandra and when she was younger she liked that abbreviation much better than the long name. The minute she hit the city though she introduced herself as Cass and before long everyone knew her as that and she loved it. She felt her whole personality open up.
Interestingly, I have a friend who made a similar change to her name after a divorce. She had never liked her first name but by changing the pronunciation ever so slightly, she turned that name into one that was very lyrical. New people would comment on how lovely it was when they first met her and they were right. I was always amazed at how such a small alteration could make such a difference. Her old friends had to struggle to remember to address her in the new way but with patience we all got used to it. Such a simple change but so important to the person involved. It takes courage and commitment!
Cass changing her name was her first conscious step outside the box. Going to Europe for a year with Pam in 1967 was the next. Leaving the security of job, family, and friends became almost a rite of passage in the sixties but for those small-town girls it was a huge step. Later on, leaving her marriage with a toddler in tow after just a few years was perhaps the greatest challenge she faced. Her reasons were clear and strong but nevertheless this was a decision that went against the values with which she had been raised. It was never a decision lightly-made. Ten years later as she tenderly embraced her son for the last time for a while, waved goodbye to friends and sailed off to unknown adventure, Cass again recognized her life was taking her places most women would not choose.
Certainly it is widely accepted today that the key to change is to free yourself from fear. In every period of change in her life, Cass calmed her fears (which doesn’t mean they never revisited), educated herself about the path she was choosing, and went for it.
Change does not have to be as dramatic or profound. There are always issues that need to be considered in everyone’s life, things that we’re not happy about. As a writer, the lessons I hope readers learn from Cass are to believe in yourself, calm your fears, and learn some new dance steps. The way in which her life unfolded is not for every woman but on the other hand Cass is not alone. If Cass reminds you of yourself, write and tell your story!
As with everything else these days, there is an over-abundance of websites to access when it comes to reading about change. I’m reluctant to recommend one in particular but I liked what this site had to say so it might be a good place to begin if you are so inclined. When I find a better site or if anyone suggests a better site, I’ll change it! Click here to begin.http://www.livingorsurviving.com/the-10-rules-of-change/