Last night I posted the following to my parenting message board (I’ve been online friends with this unbelievably awesome group of moms for over 10 years now) in hopes of gaining some insight, or even just some commiseration for an issue that’s been plaguing me lately:
Someone also suggested she ask herself whether any underlying fears were preventing her from creating her art, such as fear of failure, fear of success, or fear of not being good enough.
DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!
My internal bells went off as soon as I read this. Yes, I am often too tired and just outright fried to work on anything creative when I have the time to do so. That is valid. However, I also have the underlying fears mentioned above. And I think my initial insight was correct – that maybe a tiny part of me is comfortable in my rut, so I have difficulty doing things that might alter the state of existence I’ve become accustomed to, as sorry as that state is sometimes.
Finding comfort in my rut is unacceptable, and I must remedy this. As I said in a previous entry, I did not claw my way back from bizarre, isolating illnesses and despair only to exist in mediocrity for the rest of my life, too afraid to live. I begged for the chance to live again; it’s time to take it.
So, fuck the fear. I’m going to spend more time doing the things I love most: art and writing. Who cares if I’m no good? Who cares if I fail? Who cares if I succeed? If surviving illness has proven anything, it’s that I can handle things. I can handle adversity, and I can handle life.
I dont believe I came to this beautiful, insane planet just to sit on the sidelines biting my nails, watching other people live their lives, while too afraid to live my own. But my illness experience taught me that’s exactly what I’ve always done. When I was ill with MCS and I couldn’t participate in life, I felt like I was watching others with envy from afar. After all, that couldn’t be me. I couldn’t do the things everyone else did because our modern world with its ubiquitous chemicals made me extraordinarily ill. But I SO wanted to participate. Life felt like a cruel joke.
Looking deeper, I realized I had always been a mere observer in life – too afraid to participate, even though I could have participated. In this way, I wasted 30 years of my life. Well, it wasn’t a waste – it was the journey that led me to become the person I am, and all that crap. But regardless, I’m aware of the opportunities I missed throughout my life because of my fear of living. It’s time to show up for life now, in spite of the fear. It’s time to find the opportunities that scare me and dive in. I owe it to myself. I’ve survived too much already to just squander my second chance at living.
I realize I’ve already written about recognizing my underlying fears through processing my illness, but this recent insight has driven home just how pervasive these fears are in my life. I didn’t realize a simple lack of motivation could be rooted in fear. I’m sick of this shit.
So, I’ve got a message for the universe: I’m ready. I’m ready to show up for opportunities that scare me, and try to succeed even though I may fail. I’m ready to live an authentic life, in spite of the uncertainty and upheaval such a radical restructuring of my life would surely entail. Why? Because I’m worth it. My life is worth it. That’s why. That’s the only reason necessary, really. Every other reason is secondary to this vital truth which took decades for me to learn. But that’s okay. Better late than never, right? After all, there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer.
Also? Maybe I need to stop worrying so much, because maybe I’m exactly where I need to be at this stage of my life. Perhaps my years of fear and adversity provided the experiences I needed to finally show up for life. Maybe learning what I don’t want was a necessary factor in determining what I DO want, and a catalyst to push me forward into action. Maybe there’s actually a method to the madness we call life.
I must note that writing this post about my lack of motivation has paradoxically motivated me. I guess I should thank my lack of motivation for inadvertently uplifting me. Or thank myself. After all, I’m the one who decided to delve into this annoying issue rather than succumb to it, vegging out in front of crappy TV, shoving fistfuls of crappy food into my mouth, feeling sorry for myself. Go, me!
Actually, now that I’ve taken this time to write, and thus can breathe again, I think I will go veg out to crappy TV with those fistfuls of crappy food. But I’m not going to feel sorry for myself – I’m simply hungry.
So as not to end this post with a reference to my gluttony, here is a motivating post about fear of success. Good advice for us all, I think.