Why it scares me, and why I should do it anyway
I’ve been re-watching one of my favorite shows recently, ‘The Bold Type’ on Netflix. A fantastic, female empowered show that has provided me with lots of nuggets of inspiration since I first watched it last year. I was struck this time by a quote from one of the lead characters. Editor-in-chief of Scarlett magazine Jaqueline Carlile, in her speech at her 10-year anniversary party, said “I vow to run, head first, towards the things that scare me most”.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. From a very young age I’d bombard my parents with stories, songs, and poems that came from my pre-teen head and heart; life-changing stuff, I’m sure. In the last year, I’ve shared a few pieces of my own writing for different occasions, and every time I’ve done so I get an overwhelmingly kind response from people who take the time to read my work. I re-read my own writing and feel so proud, yet still, there’s a fear inside me to share it on a stand-alone platform, with nothing but my name attached.
Why it scares me
Personal writing is like taking out your heart from your body, putting it on a table and giving someone a magnifying glass, and saying ‘here you go, it’s all yours’. Put simply — it gives people my thoughts, free of charge, to ponder and use as they want. It’s scary. I’ve come to realize, however, calling something ‘scary’ isn’t good enough, I need to understand why. So broken down more, I’m scared of what other people think. I have always been, for different reasons, a people pleaser, and the idea that people might discuss what I write is utterly terrifying. I’d like to reassure you that I am not naive to think that people have nothing better to discuss than me, but sometimes the possibility is enough to instill fear.
Why I should do it anyway
The possibility that one person could benefit, relate or even enjoy what I have to say is enough. Another answer is, I want to. I want to write. I want to put time into the thing that I enjoy most, and be brave enough to share it. We could benefit from doing the things that scare us most, or we could fall flat on our faces. Either sounds more fun than a life full of what-ifs, right?
Fear, by definition, is the feeling caused by an imminent threat. I can tell you now, not everything I’ve ever feared can be defined as such — unless you define green balloons as an imminent threat to society (childhood story for over a coffee someday). However, rather than worrying about what the fear is, we should rather focus on how it makes us feel, as that is what matters most. Adrenaline, stress, excitement, nervousness, pain, or joy — base your actions off of these feelings, rather than the thought of the fear itself.
I’ve thrived off lists for most of my adult life. So here’s one for you:
Why you should do it anyway: A list by Roisin McArdle — For use in context of goals, experiences, and opportunities — not spiders, snakes, or green balloons.
- It’s not going anywhere — That dream you have to jump out of a plane isn’t going anywhere. That desire you have to be a CEO isn’t budging. A life of ‘I tried’ is better than a life of ‘what if’.
- There’s always something to be gained — We often focus on what we have to lose, rather than what we have to gain. Sometimes, you’re putting money on the line, sometimes it’s a risk and reward scenario. However, a lot of the time what you have to gain outweighs what you have to lose. Measure these up honestly.
- There is a best-case scenario — Another focus shift for you. Both sides of the coin exist.
- Intentional living — You were not put on this earth to pay taxes and lose weight. You were given this one big and beautiful life to squeeze the most out of. Running towards scary things is so important in order to live intentionally. I promise you get out what you put in, and you stop getting things out of your comfort zone if you stay there too long.
- Because you want to — Full stop. Read it again if you need to.
So if you’ve read this far, thank you! I want to use this as a place to share things I enjoy, things that I question, and things I learn. Last year, I fell out of love with my life, and I didn’t try to fix it. I stayed where, to me, was ultimately comfortable to get back on my feet, and that was okay too. This year, I intend to fall fully back in love with the life I’m living, and I want to share parts of that process here, with anyone who chooses to share it with me.
I can’t promise life-changing wisdom, but I can promise a laugh, a cry, or at best, a smile. Let’s give this a go, shall we?