I am afraid. Of failure. Of being judged. It has taken me the best part of my adult life to come face to face with that which I feared the most. That the knowledge of the normalcy of my imperfections couldn't save me from the constant wanting to be 'perfect'.
Take it from a girl that sailed through her elementary school years feeding on the validation of her teachers, parents and peers. Admired and envied by many, a top-scoring pupil with entertainer-level confidence. Whenever I ‘slipped’ and failed to perform, admiration is withdrawn, self-doubt creeps and settles in. I knew love to come as a reward for being good. My parents, unaware of the consequences, had programmed me so.
Changing schools at 16 paired with the realization that wanting to please my teachers explained my 'A' level performance, left me running for the hills in pursuit of new ways to be admired and envied. I went from what felt to have been an invincible teen whom so many deemed 'most likely to succeed' to a lost and terrified young adult who looked to fit in all the wrong places so she could once again feel the bliss of being praised, validated.
Validation, the pursuit of, reigned over me.I compromised on my values for it, I said 'yes' while meaning 'no' for it, I blamed myself for stinking crap left by others for it. It followed me everywhere. Showed up in every friendship, relationship, sinking ship. Like one would be afraid to live without water, I had no clue what would be left of me, if, heavens forbid, anyone who was close enough to matter, withheld it. With strangers occasionally qualifying.
It showed up in my dreams of becoming a writer, even after I attempted and succeeded in chasing it out of my career choice by withdrawing the phrase 'pharmacy school' from my vocabulary. Funny thing is that I never took the time to notice how whenever I followed the fear of not knowing what lies ahead, I had found something worthy. This blog is an experiment, to see if I can replicate my fortune of finding pleasure while heading towards something with fear in tow.
It's a sticky situation. To aim to get somewhere worthy in the realm of writing, while having a weak spot for negative feedback. That's why I set out to do exactly that. Start putting myself 'out there', and do so not in a cushioned habitat, but the ruthless internet. You may be thinking "Way to go!" but the struggle had only began then. Before I could even celebrate that stride, fear stepped back in, morphed into the myth of readiness.
How does ready feel anyway? Ready?
What signals you to to give yourself the green light to do something, be someone, go somewhere, be someway? I imagine metaphorical gates opening wide in the subconscious, allowing passage into an unknown of some sort. Nothing is promised beyond the gates, just the way, thats all that's given. Allowed to carry hope, passion and determination as much as your soul can fathom make room for. The unwelcome yet the default load is the fear you are by nature programmed to embody.
Fear of the unknown is as innate of a reflex as it was to suckle. It's a biological need, one designed to keep your heart beating for longer. This protective state, like other reflexes, has the potential to cross its healthy boundaries. Turning into a debilitating bully keeping you from safely exploring the magnificent gift of life on earth as a human being.
Ready or not my dear, I'm saying to myself, you are stepping into the unknown you have been gravitating towards for so damn long. Ready or not.
I am going to write in a language I had to study in school as a subject, with limited vocabulary, knowledge of grammar and punctuation. No I won't be picking 'soft' subjects, I will dive in to share my two cents on everything taboo and sensitive. I will face conflict head-on, as shitless scared it makes me, as easy as the norm to please and comply comes to me, I will step on deserving toes wherever they peek from.
"Stepping into the arena, showing up for the fight", as one of my favorite authors Brené Brown terms it, is the commitment I am making with myself and my fear. Also with you who's out there, terrified of showing your imperfect being to the world as is.