I am no longer afraid. I’ve been scared most of my life; scared of someone noticing me, scared if they didn’t. I was scared to speak my needs, wants and interests or appearing different in any capacity. “Different” was bad in my household. We had to blend. My family taught me how to chameleon my way throughout social situations, mimicking those around me, laughing at things I thought were utterly obnoxious all the way to sleeping with partners that I didn’t particularly care for just for the sake of looking normal. (That’s a whole other post, though). When you’re the product of mentally ill, alcoholic parents from a long line of mentally ill, alcoholic people – it’s deep seeded in your bones to not stand out. You learn to become completely invisible. At least, that was my response.
I’ve chosen not to do that anymore. I’ve worked for 7 long, hard years to hear my own thoughts, desires, ambitions and my wanderlust for change. You cannot speak your own true voice if you cannot even hear it. I’ve been transforming into new iterations or upgrades of myself every few years since – and I’m fairly certain I’m in the midst of another large shift. I was afraid yet again when I wrote my first blog post. Worried that my family might see it and it could ruin all the hard work I’ve done to bring us back together. But then I remembered one really important thing: You cannot change something that you cannot face. Meaning, if you aren’t willing to own that there’s a problem and if you cannot accept that you are unhappy – then the circumstance will never change. I was unhappy because I’ve been silent for too long. I finally faced that truth within myself.
The writers I admire most are raw and authentic without glorifying their pain. They provide just enough detail so you can taste their sadness without it actually touching your heart. And the most mesmerizing thing about these idols is that they have gratitude in their voice. They are thankful for the past they were given, they even take pride in their discomfort – and day by day I try to remain in a seat of uncomfortability to always remain teachable by my fear.
I think, as conscious humans, we can all accept that fear is false. I’ve heard various acronyms used to explain fear; False Evidence Appearing Real, Fuck Everything And Run, Future Events Already Ruined, etc. But my favorite one is: Face Everything And Rise. If you can stare your fear right in the face, feel the shaking palms, the nervous belly and the uncertainty of the future outcome and then still do the thing you feel you need to do, then absolutely nothing can stop you! I believe that fear is an indicator. It’s telling you a story about yourself that you feel “unprepared” to hear. It starts off as a whisper, maybe something like, “Hey, doing a handstand might be cool, I wish I could do that.” Then, it becomes a quiet voice, “Why don’t you try it?” Eventually, the longer you ignore it, the louder it becomes until it’s a battle cry. “Get on your hands and lift off!”
“The true warrior isn’t immune to fear. She fights in spite of it.” – Francesca Lia Block
If you are living in fear, you will never change. Your unhappiness and unfulfillment and dissatisfaction will linger and grow. Your heart will harden. You will no longer be open to accepting new ideas, new experiences, new roads untraveled or new relationships never explored. Fear gets bigger and badder the longer you suppress it. It becomes a part of you. Your fear not only prevents you from becoming a better version of yourself, but it also prevents you from living. You will likely never meet someone on their death bed saying, “Man, super glad I listened to my fears and stayed at the same job that I hated for 30 years and drove down the same road every day and only spoke to my select friend group.” NOPE!
Obviously, fear is a built-in human preservation mechanism. Oh, you’re thinking about eating that random berry you’ve never seen before? Fear responds with, “Yeah, let’s not eat that, it could kill you.” However, in today’s society, we no longer really need to worry about those types of fears the way we used to a hundred or so years ago. (But let’s not go around eating random berries, okay?) Our fears nowadays are more focused on shallow, non-life-threatening things like, will I look stupid if I get bangs? Will people make fun of me if I post this picture of myself in a bikini? Should I stay in this job because it’s stable, even though I hate it?
If you are yearning for change, for transformation, for growth and a better way of life – it’s all completely possible if you face your fears. For example, I really disliked that I had road rage. I live in L.A. and as I stated in my previous post, it takes me on average an hour to an hour and a half to drive about 8 miles. Some days it can take up to 2 hours. That shit is insane, I know… but, when you’re driving in those kinds of conditions, road rage is very real. I would get SO upset. I would absolutely lose it. I would yell, scream, throw tantrums, cry, flip people off, etc. But, the only person this road rage was hurting was me. Where’s the fear in road rage? The fear for me was being honest enough with myself to recognize that I was being a dick. A dick to others and a dick to myself, because every time I got road rage, it kind of ruined my day. Then, one day about a year ago, I had supreme road rage and I got all hot and bothered by someone not using their blinker and cutting me off aggressively. I swerved around them in a very dickhead way and flipped them off – and who was on the receiving side? The world’s most adorable grandma with what looked like her grandbabies in the back seat. THAT was my reality check. I faced that fear of no longer being the “really sweet, nice Midwestern girl” to being an actual L.A. asshole driver. Once I looked at myself honestly, I began to change my behaviors. Moving forward, instead of getting upset and lashing out at others on the road, I would take a breath, learn from what that driver did so I didn’t make the same mistake and carried on my merry little way.
Transforming yourself into the person you want to be will be challenging. You’ll mess up and likely flip off grandmas too – but you will grow if you keep working at it. As the days pass, it’ll get easier. One day you might even realize that you didn’t do that thing you didn’t like about yourself and you will feel such pride. If you mess up, that’s okay! There are 365 days in a year, which means you are granted 365 new beginnings. Don’t start on a Monday, start today. Transformation, growth, and change are right around the corner if you want them to be.
Fuck fear, get real and be awesome.