Break out the ice cream and the sparkling grape juice because today is my birthday. Woot! Woot!
I’m actually not a big birthday person in the sense that I do not like elaborate celebrations or lots of special attention. But I do LOVE birthdays.
I love what they represent; the good fortune of having made yet another lap around the sun. Birthdays make me feel lucky. Grateful. Alive.
Maybe it is because I am getting older and more reflective or maybe it is because I am all pregnanty and hormonal, but birthdays also make me want to be better. Each lap feels a little more precious and little less guaranteed. Birthdays remind me to use my finite time on this planet more wisely.
And this year, for me, being more wise really translates to being less scared.
For the better part of the last
37 * cough * 25 years I have been pretty paralyzed by fear. Maybe paralyzed is too strong a word. It is not as though I have been a TOTAL wuss. I have done my fair share of scary-ish things. I have backpacked through Europe by myself, moved overseas, given birth and driven a car in Beijing. So that is somethin’, right?
Crippled by fear? Yeah, that’s closer. Stunted? Definitely. Duped? FO’ SHO’*!
*Mama, that is how gangstas** say “for sure”
** Mama, this is slang for gangster.
Yeah, duped. Stunted and duped. For the longest time (forever?) I have thought that I was sorta special. And by that I mean…I thought that I, and I alone, was the only person alive who was irrationally afraid of being judged, laughed at and failing on a public stage. This is not to be confused with falling on a public stage, which would also be terrifying. Speaking of, I don’t know how Jennifer Lawrence does it with so much poise and grace. It probably helps that she is smokin’ hot, huh?
Anyway, the cumulative fears of being judged, of not being liked, of looking silly and of failing miserably have often stopped me from branching out, trying new things and, at the risk of sounding cliche, dreaming big. Fear has guided me down the safe road. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a pretty comfy and happy ride…filled with lots of laughs, occasional exotic detours and some rockin’ mix tapes (am I dating myself?). But lately, the view, out of my metaphorical car window, is getting a little repetitive and well…South Dakota-ish (No offense South Dakotans – you have a beautiful state. However, driving through it, can be a tad on the dull side, save the Wall Drug billboards every 8 miles or so). Too safe. Too comfy.
It recently occurred to me that all this fear I have bottled up hinges on the fact that I must care more about what other people think of me than what I think of myself.
What a shocking revelation. Especially because I’m a
37 25 year old woman, not a 15 year old girl. How can this be so?
I mean, think about how silly that sounds. I have spent a good chunk of my life caring deeply about what complete strangers think of me. I’ve cared so much, that I have not done things that could greatly improve the quality of my life. And why? What did I stand to gain, aside from a totally safe but repetitive view? It seriously defies all logic, doesn’t it?
The answer, of course, is that it is not about logic. It is about human nature.
As it turns out, I am not remotely special. Well not that in that I’m special-because-I’m-scared-of-failing kind of way. Turns out, everyone is afraid of failing, being laughed at and being judged. Fact.
Wanna know how I know that? Because those things straight-up suck. And people don’t like things that suck. It is kind-of the golden rule of human nature.
So fear of failure is just human nature*. Hmph. Interesting. Why did it take me 37 years to figure this out? Fear totally had me duped into thinking I was the only one. I am not sure why, but I am so comforted by the thought that everyone out there is shakin’ in their boots about somethin’.
*yes, my own personal experience and 3 blog posts is enough evidence to convince me this is a global phenomenon
Yup, I am full of fear. But admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? The next step (for me anyway), is actually posting a link to your blog on facebook.
This may seem like silly thing to be afraid of, but for me…it is a BIG deal.
I can think of about 1 million and one “what if” scenarios that would normally prevent me from sharing this little url with the world.
- What if people don’t like it?
- What if they laugh and joke about me behind my back or, god forbid, to my face?
- What if people think I am a talentless ass clown?
- What if people judge me for my complete disregard for proper sentence structure and grammar?
What if, what if, what if… I can ‘what if’ myself to death. I am seriously. so. good. at. it.
But I was recently reminded that ‘what ifs’ can work both ways. For instance:
- What if people don’t like it? What if they do?
- What if they laugh and joke about me behind my back or, god forbid, to my face? What if they laugh with me and/or are inspired to take their own risks?
- What if people think I am a talentless ass clown? What if they think I am talented? So talented that word gets back to Emily Henderson and she hires me for my dream job despite my obvious lack of qualifications.
- What if people judge me for my complete disregard for proper sentence structure and grammar? What if people are so moved by my writing style that new grammatical rules are created in my honor?
Admittedly, these last two are a bit of a stretch. But why not train myself to consider the extreme positive outcomes as easily as I default to the extreme negative ones?
So there you go…now you know. I have a blog and I possess more anxieties than teenage boys have pimples. If you like it, read on and join me on this blog journey. Really, nothing would please me more. If you don’t like it, feel free to not tell me and/or make fun of me to my face. Or at least wait until tomorrow. You have to be nice to me today…its my birthday.