Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tiny Triumphs on Tiny Buddha

(Picture source)

April 6, 2013- I woke up to an influx of emails, Facebook friend requests, followers on Twitter, and hits on my blog. Confused, in my half-awake haze, I sift through them trying to figure out if maybe I had been spammed.

Then it hit me. "My submission to tiny buddha must have gone live!"

I check the site, and sure enough, there it was; my first piece published on a site that is not owned by a friend.

Throughout the course of the day I was able to interact with people from all over the world who had read my post. I never would have expected such a massive positive response. I was honored and humbled to read stories of similar loss, of travel and adventure, of starting over again, of newfound passions and joys...

Did that just happen?

Did I really finally put a piece of my writing out there for the world to see?

Did I really just connect with people from all over the world because of the blog post (Finding What We're Missing: Our Lives Are Already Complete) I submitted?

It may seem like no big deal to many, but for a girl who has been too afraid to put something she loves so much out into the open, it was huge. 

Yesterday a friend said to me, "You hold yourself back from putting your writing out there, even though you've wanted to do it for half your life and've been told that it's good, but on the other hand you'll leave your life and job here and head out into the unknown..."

It took me the next 15 hours or so to process that, and this afternoon I finally admitted to myself (and him) that yep, I've definitely been spending a lot of time and energy avoiding that one thing my heart has been telling me to do for years.

The funny thing about fear is that it sounds exceptionally rational. In my head, "I want to be a writer" sounded horrifically similar to saying, "I wanna be a rockstar." That in conjunction with my underlying insecurities ranging from, "I have nothing worth saying" to "Of course my friends and family say I write well- they're supposed to say that. Maybe they just don't really know what good writing looks like..." joined together to keep me silent.

So, I set out to do everything but write.

It has taken me years of floundering, miserable jobs, hopeless looking nights, traveling to other countries, and moving across the U.S. to finally set the stage to have the realization that in spite of saying I wasn't running away from myself, I really was.

What? Shit. Really? Yep.

Now what?

I keep going in spite of all the old lingering fears and the new ones creeping in. I keep putting myself out there and believe that what I have to offer just might help someone else. I believe that I deserve to do what I love.

When I say I was running from myself, I am by no means saying that all of the steps leading up to this moment were superfluous. On the contrary, each and every step was entirely necessary to reach this point. And oddly, I wasn't running from my problems- I was running from my talents.

What the hell was I supposed to do if I put them out there and they didn't fail, but succeeded? It's easier to rationalize a failure than a success. When you succeed, you have to own your strength, your beauty, your brilliance, and your responsibility to humbly offer what you have to give. 

And for someone who has struggled with feeling the need to be worth the space she inhabits, it's much easier to be a failure and recede into the comfort of anonymity than to own up and face my own light.

This milestone was confirmation that there is a path that I must follow. My sister and I discussed that perhaps instead of thinking about life in terms of goals and how we want it to look, we should shift our focus onto how we want it to feel. I had a vague idea of how I wanted to feel day to day, but no idea what would draw that into my life... until now.

Writing makes the hours feel like minutes. It combines everything I love into one package that I can share with others, and in turn, it returns to me with a profound sense of accomplishment, value, and peace. And what's more, it is beginning to bridge a gap by drawing in like-minded people who amaze me with their own incredible stories.

This is the first time in my life I've thought, "This is it. This is what I want to feel like every day." I want to be connecting with other people and making the world seem just a little less lonely for all of us. I want to be a hub for sharing inspiration, motivation, and encouragement.

Who knew such a seemingly insignificant act would draw in the energy needed for me to finally work through yet another one of my long-lived fears.

Here's to pursing our true love and passion (even if/when it takes us years to face it), and to each and every one of you who inspires me to keep going.