There’s a secret I finally want to tell.
I’ve spent the better part of my years being afraid of things.
There has been a glorious smattering of amazing things I really, really wanted to do—some of which were handed to me like golden tickets—that I said no to because I was afraid.
What have I been afraid of?
Not being seen.
Not looking relevant.
Not looking pretty.
Looking like a snob.
Saying the wrong thing.
Showing up unprepared.
Not already knowing everything there is to know.
Admitting when I don’t feel safe or supported.
Screwing up my kids.
Pissing people off.
Saying no and seeming rude.
Saying yes and being a pushover.
People looking at me as a pity case.
People looking at me as a fuck-up.
Missing something important.
Ending up in a job I hate.
Ending up in a job I love so much I have to make hard choices.
Not having enough money to pay the bills.
Not knowing how to handle more money.
Not knowing what to do for someone who needs me.
Jumping off the cliff and trusting there will be a net.
Making decisions that affect other people.
Asking someone for help.
Being asked hard questions I can’t answer.
Giving a voice to deep, dark things in my past.
Admitting the times I felt less than.
Not feeling free.
Being a stay at home mom.
Being a working mom.
Being judged for my ADD (I know I jump around a lot when I speak; my brain moves very fast.)
Working on my art.
Not working on my art.
Not ever publishing that book.
Publishing a book to awful reviews.
Living in my dreams & never LIVING MY DREAMS.
(NOTE: This is by no means an exhaustive list.)
Here’s the thing. All this time, I thought it was just me. But now I know it’s you, too.
I know that your impatience, cruelty, snobbery, uptightness, gossip, workaholism, yelling, laziness and noncommitment are other faces of your fear.
If we are all honest with ourselves, we are simply SCARED of not being ENOUGH. And when we truly scrutinize this niggling little belief that slides itself into all of our interactions and experiences, we see it for what it is: the monster that we made. We made it, so we can befriend it or send it away. And fear in the actual physical sense is pretty damn helpful; sometimes it’s worth it to remind ourselves we wouldn’t be alive at all without it. But fear of showing up, being seen, doing the work we feel called to do, saying no to something that doesn’t align with our deepest truth—that fear needs to be seen, thanked, and then worked around. We cannot get rid of it. (And the more we try to, the more it clings.) But we can go beyond it.
I think, deep down, most of our modern fear stems from not feeling worthy. For 3.1 decades I stuck to the shadows or found safe ways to express myself. Thus, my life looks nothing like all those goals I set or dreams I meditated on. It’s just short of the magic I know it will be infused with when I stop sleeping with the covers pulled over my face.
One of my biggest fears is of not feeling connected. I realize now that in an effort to appease this fear, I simply tried to work out ways I felt better alone. Because that was easier than putting myself out there.
Not anymore. Not today.
It’s nice to meet you. Or, if we’ve met, to meet in truth.
I’m afraid, you’re afraid, and there’s a magical world to discover anyway.