Climbing into the drivers seat

It's been awhile since I blogged. I love writing, but I often feel like I don't have enough time. Or I write something and then I am not brave enough to put it out into the world. Lately I have been extremely busy with a new project I am planning. I have been writing for weeks, listing ideas, collaborating, working on a logo, a web page. It's been really exciting. And terrifying too. Like super scary.

I have been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and that lead me to hear about her podcast called Magic Lessons. All of what she says really resonates with me. I laugh when she talks about the ways we hold ourselves back. Take ourselves too seriously and we will get nothing done because we want to be perfect. Oh yeah, I have been there. Really you just have to read the book. And listen to the podcasts. So much wisdom. 

In one particular podcast she talks to a photographer. Ironically the photographer was in a similar place to where I am. When I heard the background of the story I just about fell out of my chair. The photographer wants to expand her creativity and feels afraid to do that. It is exactly what I am doing right now. Climbing outside of my photography box. 

Elizabeth tells her she should write a letter from her fear and creativity. Then write a letter back to them both. I scoffed a bit. These kinds of ideas seem a bit silly to me. Then I went to make dinner or whatever. 10 days pass.

This morning I am supposed to be finishing up a presentation for my networking group. A group of people that I have known for over a year now. They aren't my closest friends, but a wonderful group of people that I know pretty well. And they all know me. They are kind and open, and I have presented my photography to them in the past several times. I realize I am terrified to present my new project to them. The one that I am so excited to be creating. 

A friend calls and we talk. Somehow it occurs to me that this is good old fashioned fear and I need to get ahold of it. And then I hear Elizabeth saying to write the letter to fear. I figure it's the only way to hear out my fear. To list all the things it wants me to know. So I did it. And it was quite profound. In how simple it is. Once you write it down, well, it was rather cathartic. And it doesn't seem nearly as looming. I have shared it here. Because I feel compelled to do so. I guess because I think there may be someone else out there in shoes that fit a bit like mine. And because this project is all about getting brave. 

I must go now. I have a presentation to finish. 

Jen

Dear Jen,

My name is fear. I have lived inside you and taken care of you from way back when you were little. I am afraid of pretty much everything. I want to protect you. I want to protect you from other people. From having your heart broken. From being hurt or having hurt feelings. I want you to stay away from mean people. I want you to stay home and be very safe all the time. I want you to only put out your very self assured work, that you know will be accepted by others, not anything that might be controversial, that might be seen as making you look vulnerable, or anything that might make people see who you really are. Because having people see who you really are could lead to them judging and rejecting you. What if they all get together and talk about you? How would you feel then? Wouldn’t you feel sad and scared? I am here to protect you from that.

What if you fail? What if people don’t like what you create? If they hate it? And then they hate you? What if you end up poor and alone. Cause who wants that? And ultimately isn’t that what you fear?

Don’t you want to stay inside yourself? In this nice warm quiet safe place I have created for you? It’s lovely here. Nothing ever happens. It’s always zen. Nothing can come in or out. It’s all peace all the time. Except for when something gets in, and then it’s like BAM! I go into high gear. Telling you all the reasons you should be afraid and all the ways to hide. See list above.

I am here to protect you so you had better listen to me.

Sincerely,

Fear

 

Dear Fear,

Thank you for your hard work. For protecting me when I have needed it for all these years while I was growing up. I have a lot of respect for you. I understand that you are only ever just trying to do your job.

However, quite frankly you need to sit in the backseat. I am all grown up. I am clear on what I need to be protected from and you have lost your grip on reality.

My art is personal and raw. It touches my own heart and makes me feel all kinds of things. I feel happiness and joy. I feel empathy and connection. If I never put my work out to the world I would never meet these people. I wouldn’t get to know them and I would live a sad lonely existence. I love working with people. I love meeting them and hearing their stories. I love how I feel when I make a new friend and we have so much to share with each other. I learn so much from every new person I meet. I don’t ever want to stop because it is so much fun and makes me really FEEL.

If I stopped and hid my ideas, didn’t pursue my dreams and desires I wouldn’t feel afraid, but I wouldn’t get any of those other feelings that I love either. I must have all the feelings to really be alive in this life. So here’s the deal, I will let you stay in the car. You can whisper in my ear and I promise to take you into consideration, but you are no longer allowed to drive. I have places to go.

Sincerely,

Jen

PS As Elizabeth Gilbert points out and I have always believed it to be true, everyone is too busy thinking about themselves to really notice what I am doing. So there's that. (: