I have a confession to make.
Perhaps you already know this, perhaps you don’t care, perhaps this will shock you…regardless, I need to say it:
I am terrified.
I am terrified of failure. I am terrified of disappointing people. I am terrified of the unknown and of death. I am terrified of terrorism, of losing my loved ones, of looking stupid in social situations, of being called dumb, and of public speaking. I am terrified of getting into a car accident or of being on the phone with someone when they do. I am terrified of people thinking I am selfish, rude, or inauthentic. I am terrified of being selfish, rude, or inauthentic. I am terrified of wearing my heart on my sleeve, of putting myself out there for everyone to see. I am terrified to share my writing and my thoughts with people who may not receive them well. I am terrified of being judged and of being judgemental, of becoming an alcoholic, of being fat, of being a lousy wife, or someday a bad mother. I am terrified of making new friends and of losing old ones. I am terrified of meaninglessness and of that feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me that I am not unique, not special, not important. I am terrified of the darkness that creeps into my head, twists my thoughts, grabs me by the wrists and pulls me down. I am terrified by my doubts but also terrified by blind faith.
I am terrified of being anonymous but equally as terrified of being known. I am terrified of the prospect of trying to start a business…for I am just as scared to fail as I am to succeed. I am terrified of dying, but I am also terrified of living.
There you have it: I am a repetitive scaredy cat.
I live in constant fear of what people think of me, of wasting my life, of denying who I am, of not knowing what that even means. I feel like I am constantly fighting, swimming upstream against all of these fears…the ceaseless voices in my head warning me of all the ways everything could go up in flames.
But here’s the thing. I am not going to stop swimming. In fact, as I continue to identify all these things that I am afraid of, I feel as though I am slowly getting more equipment, increasing my ability to swim. The more I study the flow of the water, the currents, the jagged rocks…the more I am able to avoid the things I should be afraid of and ignore the others. That doesn’t make the water flow less, but it makes my muscles grow.
Okay…enough of that long, rambling (kind of dumb) metaphor.
The point is: I want to keep taking steps to face these fears. I want to identify the things I desire to be true of my life and actually go after them. For basically my whole life my goal has been college. And I thought at the end of it, I would be done searching… that I would know my “life path.” Funny thing is: I’m here now, at life post-college, and I think I know less about this path than I did going in! On one hand that terrifies me, but on the other it gets me so dang excited! And some days I think it only terrifies me because of the way other people react when they hear that I am not getting a full-time architecture office job straight out of college. (Yes, I am appreciative of my college education. No, I don’t think contemplating altering my career path makes it a waste of five years. No, I don’t intend to just be a lazy bum mooching off of my husband. No, I am not worried about how this time spent nannying will look to future potential employers.) At the end of the day it is not them who has to live with my choices and decisions (to get a job I resent, to chase my dreams, to take time off), it is me. (well…. and my husband…who is wonderfully supportive!)
So this post is for two reasons:
#1 – I have been afraid to really mention my blog on Facebook much at all, for Facebook contains high school friends, old teachers, relatives, parents, fellow church members… a whole host of people who may not necessarily react well to all of the things on this blog. Because this blog is one of the most honest and vulnerable places in my life. Here I feel free to doubt, to wrestle, to share. I am terrified of how people could respond… If I share that I am wrestling through doubts about my faith, my biggest fear is that people will turn me into “a project”…or that I will perceive it that way. But by not even giving other the chance to enter into the conversation, to see the real, authentic, vulnerable me I am not helping anybody. Are other people in my life asking similar questions? Do they desire community as much as I do? Are there others who wish they had a group of artists to paint with, open-minded thinkers to chat with, nature-lovers to stargaze with? I’ll never know unless I push past those fears and insecurities holding me back.
#2 – And secondly, today is Day 1 for me of the Life is Messy Challenge by Mayi Carles. You can accept this challenge too if you want to! What I hope to gain from these five days is some sense of where I want to begin heading. I am not thinking that by the end of this I will suddenly have my life “figured out.” I am not even really hoping to have any semblance of a business plan. All I know is I need to start somewhere and this seems as good a place as any! Plus I have really loved getting to know Mayi’s site better and it seems like she really knows what she is doing! (and who doesn’t love the adorably cute illustrations?!) So here was the assignment for day 1:
I was tasked with listing out things I love to do, things I am praised for, and thing clients will buy. Things I love to do was easy. Obviously I know what I love. However the other ones were harder. After some thought and sifting through memories I was able to pull out things I have been praised for over the years. But that last one… man, that last one is the hard one! Things clients will buy? I don’t know what people will buy! If I did, I wouldn’t be doing this! haha But I took a stab at it… based on some of the things that have been purchased from my Etsy shop. (If you are reading this and have suggestions or comments… pleaseee put them in the comment section below! I would LOVE some honest feedback.) In conclusion, pottery and kids seemed to be things in the overlaps. With art/collages/cards floating somewhere near the middle. So I guess we’ll see where Mayi takes me tomorrow!
Well, anyway… that’s all for now. To those of you new to my blog: Welcome. For those of you who have already been walking with me through this roller coaster of philosophical-existential-poetic-rambling-mundane-art-filled journey of mine….thanks for hanging in there.
[…and now back to our regularly scheduled program…]