And that's my goal, you know. To move forward. To live. You see, I got so tired of feeling like I was in a rut. Unhappy and feeling serious discontent, I decided to do something about it. I decided to leap outside my comfort zone and do amazing things. And then I hit a small snag: life outside the comfort zone is scary and kind of overwhelming. Rather than leaping I simply stepped a toe out, and as soon as I felt the discomfort I curled back in. Nope. I don't need to change anything. Not really. I questioned whether or not people really need to dwell anywhere but their comfort zones. I could survive where I was.
But friends, as I thought about that I hit another snag. I found that, though it was frightening and slightly overwhelming, I had developed a taste for that unknown space. Sure, I could survive where I had been before, but I couldn't thrive. Survival is important, and we all go through times of surviving, where we can only put one foot in front of the other until we get out of the jungle, or the desert, or the valley, or whichever figurative geographical situation we're stuck in. Survival is good. It's crucial. It's instructive. But, unless you live in a fairy tale, there's no magic in survival.
As many of you know, I believe in magic. With this in mind I had to ask myself a very important question: If I believe in magic, then why, for heaven's sake, and I living life as though trying to avoid it??
I dwelled on this for a while, and then the answer hit me:
Suddenly my comfort zone felt uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. I doubt many people really like to admit they live fearful lives. And, unhappy with this conclusion I decided that I would no longer be fearful. Right from that moment I would not only be brave, but I would be fearless.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I'm sure you can imagine how that went. My fear went from a steady, low-level hum to a constant scream. I can't remember a period of time in which I have felt more fearful or vulnerable. Now, I hope no one has the idea that I was suffering from paranoia or anything like that. Because I wasn't. But I was hesitant to try things, to do anything new or different. And I was unhappy.
But God is good, and through the conversation of family and good friends I came to a realization - an incredible and liberating realization: to live is to fear.
WHAT? I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this, but don't X out of your browser yet! Hear me out. I'll explain myself.
Feeling fear is a human trait, not just a personal one. And if you look back on the span of mankind's history, it can be a helpful trait, as well. Fear can, in some instances, keep you alive. Denying that we feel fear is like denying that we feel joy, or sorrow, or anything else. It's there. On the heels of that realization came another: fear doesn't need to keep me from living.
I can almost hear you right now, telling me to hold up for a minute! You just said to live is to fear, and now you're saying fear shouldn't keep us from living? Make up your mind already!
I have a response to that. We all know there is a difference between living and living. To live is to have a beating heart, and a brain. To live is to eat, and sleep, and exist. It's a physiologic thing. To live is to thrive, to experience this world and life as a gift and an adventure. I don't know about you, but while I am (incredibly) grateful to live, I have a great desire to live.
Are you still with me?
I'm about to shift gears for a minute, so do your best to keep up, please. I'll connect it all.
About a week ago I was messaging a friend of mine about taking writing inspiration from potentially tragic events, and does that make us weird or bad people? (Answer: No, it doesn't. It makes us writers.) I confessed a great love for fierce winds and storms and wildfires because I somehow felt an echoing wildness inside me. (I feel the need to clarify that I don't ever want anyone to get hurt or suffer. Truly.) She agreed with the sentiment and then the conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Other confession: I like wearing my hair down because it is the only part of me that is really uncontained. But when I wear it down often I start to feel in danger of becoming uncontained, myself.
C: Then you should should never wear your hair up. NO CONTAINERS IN LIFE (except for Tupperware. That stuff is legit.)
No containers in life. Think about that for a minute. That's a powerful statement. And I thought on that idea for a bit, and realized that the main thing keeping me from allowing myself to completely be, well, myself, was FEAR.
And I am not okay with that. As I said earlier, I don't have a problem with feeling the fear, but I have a problem with letting it keep me from living. And I made a decision: rather than trying to live a fearless life, I am going to live through the fear.
And I have begun doing that, in two very simple ways.
1) Leave my hair down.
2) Don't leave the grocery store without buying an ingredient I've never worked with before.
|In the parking lot of the grocery store WITH MY HAIR DOWN. Accidental selfies sometimes turn out so well.|
It'll be a journey to step completely out of the comfort zone. To keep FEAR from holding me hostage. And while I make no promises about how often I'll be documenting the journey, I hope you will join me. Let's do it. Let's live life uncontained. Let's live through fear. Let's live.
Author's note: Let's all take a moment and be grateful for our Mamas today. They very literally allowed us to live, and they deserve so much love and respect and affection. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mommies out there, especially to mine. I love you!