Fear; commonly used as a deterrent for an action. A way to impede or avoid change. Most are reluctant to recognize a “fear”. They would rather disguise it with words like “risky” or “impossible”. Something like: I can’t start my own business, it’s too risky. I could never go back to school, it’s impossible. Both statements are about fear. The fear to do something with an unknown result especially in the realm of failure or rejection. But why? It’s only an illusion. And I know this for a fact now.
SO WE MET AGAIN FEAR…
Last weekend, I made it out to El Paso to see my grandparents. Something that I’ve been trying to do all year. It’s a three-hour trip with one to three layovers, depending on who you’re flying with. From what I could remember, El Paso was a quiet but growing town; a third home for me—outside of my maternal grandmother’s house—one I use to visit every summer. But even with these beautiful memories and warm feelings, I was still nervous to visit. Sure the election was messing with my mind, but there was something a little deeper going on with my psyche. I hadn’t been back for at least 22 years and I knew it had to be totally different from what I remembered. Fear entered my mind. Had the city declined into this historic vessel, just remnants of the beautiful city I remembered? Or worst, how were my grandparents? Did they reflect my assumption of the city?
But I bought the plane ticket anyway.
The day of my flight started smoothly; got up, finished last-minute packing, drop off the little one and made it to the airport on time. Still, even with the ease of the morning,m y mind was pacing back and forth on what I was getting ready to fly into; this unknown present day El Paso. Fear made its steps known; shaking my reality, causing me create illusions of stepping off the plane into a deserted town, with depleted facilities and slow-moving citizens.
But I still boarded the plan.
Once on the plan, one of the last to do so for this flight, I had to choose one of the remaining seats–an aisle seat. I hate aisle seats, but I had no choice. Okay may be I could’ve thrown a tantrum, screaming about colonial women on the wing of the plane (totally stole that from the movie Bridesmaids), so that a stewardess would panic, causing her to quickly led me off the flight. But that would be childish. So I just sat down.
NOW HERE IS WHERE FEAR GOT REALLY UGLY…
So now I’m sitting on a plane with crazy thoughts about how sad my long-awaited trip to El Paso was going to be, and then I noticed that the woman, whom I sat next to in a seat I hated, was reading a book of poetry.
Go figure! I just pulled out the paperback proof of “Like. Love. Lust.”, my first poetry book coming out Nov. 27 (shameless book plug…yes), on my lap. My goal was to knock out the edits during the flight. In such a coincidence, someone outside of my scary nature would have been so excited to tap into a poetry reader, you know, to capitalize on their situation. Not me. I was scared shitless.
Not because I feared that she would hate the book, or even cuss me out if I asked her to check it out. No. I was scared to even open my mouth to ask. Who was I to speak to this stranger? Let alone, ask her about something that I knew she didn’t care about. And there it was…Fear! Live and direct. My palms started sweating and my mouth got dry. All at the thought of asking this random woman a question. A question that could be so beneficial to what I was trying to do as an author.
I knew I had anxiety about speaking in front of people, but damn I didn’t know I could get so shaken to ask a little dumb question. So I decided not to ask. Asking was too risky. I was just going to sit there and assume why she got it. She liked the back. Maybe the size and the color to the book were attractive to her. No she followed the author. Yep. Assuming was much safer than asking.
COURAGE SAID WHAT TO FEAR?
Then, as we taxi the runway, I remembered one of my favorite Michael Jordan quotes;
Never say never because limits, like fear, are often an illusion.
“…Limits, like fear are often an illusion” rang, over and over in my head. Then my homie, Courage, spoke in my ear “Ask her about the book. See why she chose it. What do you really have to lose?” Nothing. I had nothing really to lose but a great opportunity for real, live feedback–Something that every author dreams of. So I stopped stopping myself, and I let fear have it!
“Ma’am, can I ask you a question? I’m an author working on my first poetry book and I was wondering, what made you pick that one up?” Bam. Done! I got it out. It was easier than I thought and it was the best thing I could have done the whole trip. That kickstarted an amazing trip, one that I almost let Fear destroy.
In a nutshell, I found out she picked up the book because she knew the author, she was willing to look through my book, which turned into her reading the whole thing and then discussing her perspective on poems. A writer’s dream come true. All because I finally learned how to use my fear toward something great.
This week, be courageous and overcome a fear. A simple “hello” could change your life, and if something that small could be so powerful, think about the greatness that could occur if you really go after that big thing in your life that fear has kept you from (going back to school, starting your own business, etc.).
Oh and if you’re wondering how the trip it ended, I’ll just say this — Serenity wrapped in rainbows, mountains, love and friendship. Check the vlog for more including photos!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND GO BE GREAT!