I am getting to know my fear intimately. She is an angry, cruel, rebellious teenager. She spits out toxic thoughts and encircles me in a cloud of doom. She hates everything, rejects everything and prides herself on her resistance.
I used to think that she was the truth. But she isn’t. She is my fear. She is the one who pretends to hate me but really wants to hold me tight against her tense body and never let me go. Her anger and hate and meanness are just her ways of saying,
I love you. Stay with me.
A few days before I was to shoot my movement video in November, I started to freak out. All of these crazy negative thoughts started popping up in my head. (Here is another blog post on meeting my fear when I stepped towards a big desire.)
- My new short hair cut is horrible and would never look good. (I wasn’t beautiful enough)
- My body isn’t good enough to put on film. (I wasn’t sexy enough)
- The new page and video isn’t going to be good or do what it was supposed to do. (I wasn’t good enough)
- It wouldn’t be good because my work isn’t good and it’s wrong and bullshit and stupid
- And that means that I am wrong and bullshit and stupid
(She’s so much fun at parties.)
It went from A to B in 5 seconds flat. My fear took me from anticipation, excitement and full faith in what I was doing to fear, anxiety, anger and panic.
At first, I mistook all of these thoughts for the truth. (There is a great quote out there somewhere that says, just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.) But then, I saw her. I saw her. I saw the web she wove, the track she pushed me down, the way she wanted me to go. I could see that fucking death spiral. And I saw that none of what I was thinking was true. (Even she didn’t believe it was true.) It was so drenched in fear. She was so afraid for me. That I would leap and fall. That I would struggle. That I would fail. And she loves me so much that it breaks her heart to not be able to go where she can’t follow.
The fear was about this leap into the unknown. I didn’t know what the video was going to look like. How it would be received. Whether it would encourage women to come to my class. I didn’t know how my weekly classes would go. Whether my business would succeed.
My fear wanted so badly to keep me small and safe because there, she can protect me.
She almost had me stop everything.
If I believed her, I would have cancelled the shoot. Or pretend I didn’t care about it and not put any effort in to have an excuse for the big failure it was going to be.
But when I could see that fear for what it was, it changed from being something nasty and random and irrelevant to being a harbinger of something. Of greatness. Of daring. This fear of mine was a big post-it note that said, “Get ready! You are about to dare greatly!”
My fear became a sign of my courage.
It was messy. It was hard. I fell and got back up.
Before the shoot, I took my morning to fill myself. I didn’t try to escape by doing nothing to prepare. I did it all. I shaved my legs. Got my clothes ready. Did my hair. Cleaned my toes. Breathed. Talked to myself. Planned. Invested. Went all in.
I went in. I warmed up. I danced. I tried to be as true as I could be. I was true.
My fear is still there. I guess she will ebb and flow, depending on where I am in my life. There may be days when I don’t have the strength of my angels and she holds me in her hard, loving arms. There will be days when she gives up the fight and hands over her stewardship to my warriors. No matter. I see her now. I know her. (And I will love her into submission.)
I’d love to hear about your experience with your fear. Do you have a sense of when it is real and when it is trying to keep you safe and small? If your fear was a person, what would she be like?