The Daring Adventure
Every time I sit in front of my laptop and start clicking away at the keyboard, piecing together a moment, highlighting an idea, seeking to inspire or convey a glimpse into my perspective, I am filled with trepidation. There’s nothing worse than a blank page—except for a completely full page that contains your most personal thoughts and hopes. Which you plan to share with the entire world. Just because.
What if no one likes it? Or worse, what if no one reads it? Then again, what if people do read it and then they KNOW my thoughts, ideas, and feelings? It’s like I’m opening a peep show into my soul every time I post something. Sometimes I share stories about my family and life, other times it’s an opinion, or just a shot at sparking happiness or a new way of thinking. No matter what it’s about, it comes from me. It is me standing on the electronic mountaintop shouting out my scariest, silliest, or cherished experiences, hoping just one person will get it. Be moved by it. Relate to it.
Those optimistic goals are always rivaled by another voice, nagging, “Is this good enough? Is this stupid? Is it inspiring AT ALL? It’s too wordy and full of blubber. I know it is.” Just ask my sisters who often get a last minute plea to edit and reassure me that I’m not going to embarrass myself.
You see, every post is personal. It’s me putting myself out there. Being vulnerable and hoping that I will be—in the era of Facebook—liked. And I don’t mean literal click the thumbs up button likes. Those are great, and I can not express the validation that swells when someone shares the blog or says: “I feel that way too!” or “Happens to me all the time,” “I never saw things that way before,” or even “Nice post.” More than anything, every time I hit “Publish” I am opening the door to be judged. Every post is a bullseye for that judgement, gossip, and failure. I grit my teeth and hold my breath that I will come out on the other side of the post unscathed.
Sounds like torture, right? So why? Why put myself through the anguish and fear of the unknown receipt of this and any other writing? Because the joy in the writing and the risk in actually doing something is what life is all about.
Writing this blog is a creative outlet. An opportunity to flex the very slack muscles in my brain that for the past 9 years have been used mainly to help little people get dressed properly, prepare gourmet quesadillas, and pick up the same 10 toys repeatedly. Writing allows me to feel alive, as if I have a purpose beyond my children and family; that I can contribute something unique and worthwhile; that my brain does work. It’s an opportunity to connect or feel understood. A chance to feel like I am not alone because you relate to me; maybe not my exact story, but the way I feel, and my hopes and observations and wishes for all of us to find a bit of bliss in every day, hour, and moment. And so, in the end, I pull the trigger and bare my soul.
When I do hit that button it’s as though I’ve liberated part of my creative spirit. I’ve put myself out there and challenged myself to a new comfort level. I’m not sitting back doing nothing. I’m pushing my limits and daring myself to forget about the number of likes, shares, comments, or knowing glances I may get. To forget what others may say and celebrate the simple yet daring act of doing. It’s not a life or death chance I’m taking. It’s believing enough in myself to craft something worthy to read. And if it isn’t liked or doesn’t resonate with anyone, at least I tried. At least I stirred those muscles and next time they will be stronger and more pure. Every time I try, I risk, I share my ideas, I’m getting closer to accepting myself for who I am. And that’s what life is really about. Owning who we are—wordy, mundane blog posts and all. It’s believing that what the rest of the world thinks—if they take the time to consider us at all—is far less important than what we think of ourselves and what we do with our talents, purpose, and passions.
So, forget about the fear of failure and put yourself out there. Join me on this adventure called life. Take the first step toward your passion, your limits, the unknown. It’s exhilarating.
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” —Oprah Winfrey