on being afraid.

There’s nothing glamorous about writing. The moments of exhilarated inspiration when I seem to be channeling a power greater than myself are so few and far between that most writing is actually staring at a wall, hoping, at least, that my next stage direction will make sense. So it takes discipline. And I’ve got that— I leave my honey curled up in bed to go run early in the morning when I’m training for something, I show up to the office on Saturdays, I color code, I do Whole 30’s,  I send follow-up emails, I show up; I even told an employer once that I manifested them and when they didn’t believe me, I showed them months worth of my “Goals and Visions” lists with their name written all over them as proof of my commitment to my desires. I take what I want very seriously— or so I thought.

So I want to write, right? The passwords on my electronics are all daily affirmations, the backgrounds of my screens are filled with encouraging phrases or pictures of Shonda Rhimes. I assist people on their writing visions for living! And yet, why is it the one goal I just don’t show up for at six in the morning, everyday? You know what, forget six, forget everyday: why don’t I show up enough? I was stuck in this questioning rut for weeks, journaling my desperation, looking for an answer when an offer came through in another line of work.

Pause. Just pause for a second, Priscila. I’m so action driven, I often don’t take the time to consider if the action is the one I actually want to take, until I wake up with the mud up to my elbows, wondering why I was there in the first place, knowing it’s not actually what I wanted at all. Also, I’m pretty good at convincing myself of almost anything. I believe that’s the one curse of possessing many transferable skills: there are many things that I could do and how could I just pick one and oh but this one is getting hard so let me maybe think about this other thing that I’m good at. Yikes. So pause. Really pause. Think this one through. Today it feels like you can take that offer and fly. But will you wake up in six weeks and regret breaking your back, digging a new hole for seeds you didn’t really want to plant?

I convinced myself for a few days that I must not really love this writing/producing/telling stories thing enough. I’m a person who goes for what she wants and a really serious one at that, so what’s going on? It was time to take a look. To pause. I’ve been pursuing the arts for more than half my life and while that seems ridiculous to say at twenty-five, do you remember setting professional goals at the age of eight? I did. I was that psycho kid. Am I not showing up for this because I actually don’t want it but I don’t know how to let go of a dream I’ve been pursuing for so long? Am I actually a lazy person? Gasp. More importantly— since I’m a person who goes for what she wants, and I’m not going for this full throttle— wait, do I actually want this? Do I? Can I be honest with myself and let all the information come through? Holy crap. And if I let this dream go, can I look back and be at peace with that decision or will I regret it for the rest of my life?

That last one hit me hard. The answer is no, actually. I’m really not okay with letting this dream go. Tears. Crying. The thought of it makes my stomach churn— it makes intestines I didn’t even know I had churn. More crying. I’m…afraid. Yes. No-nonsense, cheeky, cocky, driven, self-indulgent me is actually petrified. I feel my heart race right now, just writing those words. Yeah, I can convince myself of anything— anything but the idea that I’ve already given it my all and actually it isn’t for me and that it’s time I go succeed elsewhere. Excuse my French, but what a crock of shit. Of course writing isn’t glamorous— all the scenes we see on TV of writers sitting by their fire escapes, enjoying their cups of coffee, as the words simply pour out of them, are actually the fantasies of the writers writing those scenes, hoping that writing them would keep them from pulling their eyes out of their sockets.

That weekend was the seventh or eighth in my yoga teacher training and we were learning inversions. Inversions, poses where your hips go above your heart and most often require lots of balance and strength. Here I am, a yoga teacher in training, a pretty bendy and strong one, a pretty confident one, but these inversions… these inversions get to me. Turns out I can’t do them. Well, not yet in their fullest expression. Turns out I have to practice them in steps and I can only do the first two. The first two!!! Do you know how often I show up to these? Well now every day out of stubbornness for my teaching— but the eight years before that? Never. I never showed up for them. I didn’t have to, I’m pretty strong and bendy in other areas already, right? Right…

Writing also works in steps. You don’t ever “hit” the fullest expression. Turns out that I have to do steps one and two for a while. I’m not already strong and bendy in my writing yet. I can’t show off, yet. I can’t put my feet up and give others advice on how to achieve what I’ve achieved, yet. And so what? Because I don’t feel smug and empowered yet I’m going to resent my dream and give up on it? Do you hear that? That’s RIDICULOUS! I didn’t migrate for that boloney. Get on your mat and throw your ego out of the door, lady. You don’t get to prance around but you also don’t get to let the vision go. That’s not for you to do. Your job is to listen to the whispers. Really listen.

So if you’re feeling stuck, consider asking yourself the following questions: Is another season of Friends really gonna help me right now? Why am I actually not doing the things I said I would? Is it because I actually don’t want to? And if that’s the case, that’s okay. Pause. Let yourself receive the message. Allow yourself to imagine a world in which you can do something else. And if that sets your soul on fire but it requires a bit of work for your ego to let you take the steps, do that. That’s how you actually start to show up in life. By pursuing the things that actually amp you up, not the things you think amp you up. And lastly, am I just afraid? And if that’s the case— breathe. Fear is cool. Remember that you won’t be proud of yourself in five years for not doing something because you were just afraid. Celebrate the successes of your peers– especially the ones that make you feel like you’re falling behind. Your  Fear is a good sign you care. Be okay with doing steps one and two. Practice. Fear can turn to fire— and that’s where the glamour really is.

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