The website launch party was a huge success. A huge thank you to all of you who made it over to my new site and signed up to follow me on this journey. The outpouring of positive energy from so many of you was amazing and absolutely humbling. Many of you shared your appreciation for my bravery and willingness to be vulnerable, and that by exposing the good and bad of my life experiences you felt a little less alone. I am…well…I am…now terrified. To be honest, which is kinda my thing, the launch was so amazing, more than I could have ever asked for. Every word of encouragement reminded me that I am on the right track and that it is true, my story is meant to be shared, but the minute the dust settled the fear of failure, fear disappointing all of you and the fear that I wouldn’t be able to write anything worth reading again set in.
Fear is a bitch…I, like maybe some of you, feel my fear physically. I have, over many years, mastered the art of compartmentalilzing and as a result my body has found this ingenious way of manifesting fear…with pain…lucky me. It wasn’t long after the site launch that my body literally started to fall apart. The tension headache started in my mid back and settled nicely in my mid-brain and lasted for 3 days. Irritable doesn’t begin to describe how I felt and I was also lucky enough to break out with some painful acne, reminiscent of my pre-Accutane days. Fuck! I then proceeded to trap myself in the fear by gluing myself to social media and finding myself needing a fix just to feel, a comment, a like just to quiet the rattling in my head. As the days wore on and the likes and comments about my website and my writing, my bravery and confidence started to wane I began to feel as if maybe I had imagined all of it, I had even tried to convince myself that because the people who said such beautiful and profound things were my friends that somehow there was a possibility that they were all just being nice.
Fear is debilitating. Fear manifests covertly in our unconscious and plays tricks on our minds. Fear is our inner-critic’s #1 weapon which it wields with full force whenever we are willing to take a risk, to be vulnerable.
So there I was at a crossroad. Doing exactly what my heart told me is the right thing to do, sharing my story, the real story, allowing myself to be vulnerable and reminding people of the strength that can be gained when we ‘face our fears and do it anyway” and on the flip side succumbing to the exact fear I had so confidently said I was able to manage and contemplating never writing again.
Here is the truth, dealing with your inner-critic is a lifelong battle. Bertha, (the name I gave my inner-critic, a heavy-set women wearing an apron with her hair in a bun, who carries a pail and holds a constant scowl), had been wielding her weapon, fear, for 3 fucking days and I was all done with it. I could feel it happening. I could see it happening. And for the first few days I tried to ignore it, I played her game but she was winning. Then I hit a point when I knew that if I let it go on much longer, my ultimate fear would come true…full derailment…and I refuse to let that happen again.
For most of my decision making years, I have managed to quit everything that felt like it really mattered (relationships, school, jobs, friendships) and as a side effect, in order to feel accomplished, to feel like I mattered, I looked to external gratification and to others to define my self worth. I became very good at completing tasks that had little to no value for me (work, house cleaning, “helping” others, while ignoring myself)…stuff that kept me busy but added nothing to my soul. Once I became conscious of this, I worked very hard to overcome it. I reflected daily on my thoughts and actions and how they inter-played and the most valuable part of my recent self-uncovery was developing the skill to stick to the good stuff, the hard stuff and allowing myself to feel the fear and do it anyway. But the minute I shared my Self with the world all of the work I had put into myself seemed to fall away.
Fortunately for me, not for long. I’m here. I’m doing the work. I am looking Bertha in the face and telling her that I refuse to play her game. I do recognize her purpose, she is here for me, to keep me safe, to stop me from taking unnecessary risks but since she doesn’t really have a discerning way about her I need to step in and remind her that although I value her opinion she isn’t always right. I have let her know that I have considered her concerns, I have thought about her ideas; that I am not good enough, that I am not qualified, that I can’t really write, that people haven’t been truthful in their responses to me, that all of the good and positive energy I have been feeling since I hit publish was somehow fake, and I have decided to disregard them as bullshit. Thank you Bertha but now it’s time for you to shut up 🙂
I am here I am writing this post, I am sharing a story that makes me feel vulnerable and open to criticism and I have a huge smile on my face. I took the time today to reflect on how I felt. I invited a trusted friend to sit with me as I worked through this energy and I gave myself permission to sit and write this piece when I knew that there were a thousand other things I “should” be doing. I am enough and every week I will hit publish, I will create art, I will love my children, I will appreciate my husband, I will share myself and often I will feel fear and almost every day I will screw something up but I will learn and I will evolve. I will always love myself and feel gratitude for every leap of faith I take towards my ultimate goal of being happy.
Bertha I see you, I know you and I understand why you
but I don’t have to listen to you.
So here is a bit of homework…I challenge you to name your inner-critic and then promptly call Bullshit. With every ounce of your soul shout as loud as you can, as loud as you dare…FUCK YOU! I AM ENOUGH!!! and to solidify the entire experience I want you to tell me all about it. Let me be your accountability partner, let me know what you named your beast and why. What it looks like. How it makes you feel. What it tells you to do and how you know that it is complete bullshit. We are all in this together and together we have the strength to overcome fear and find happiness.
It’s time to regain your inner strength and re-invent how you see yourself!