Courage and fear. Two words that go hand in hand and elicit the exact same response from me. My heart starts to race, I break out into a cold sweat, I have trouble breathing, and I can’t look people directly in the eye. That’s how I felt when I told the closest people to me about my 2017 project. Thankfully I only told one of them in person, so the eye contact thing wasn’t such a big deal.
I decided 2017 was the year I was going to ignore all those symptoms and take on those two words. Even now, I’m having trouble typing the words because it terrifies me; I’m going to write a play. There I’ve now told the additional 15 people who actually read my blog, and again I can’t breathe, I have to keep wiping my keyboard from the sweat dripping off my hands, and I’m sure my heart is going to beat out of my chest. I have started writing, I have about 3,000 words down on paper, and a few people have read it and are interested in moving it to the next step.
The more significant issue is those two words, courage, and fear. It seems like you can’t have one without the other, and how often do you let either one of them stop you from doing something you want to do? It happens to me a lot, and I usually let either one of those words win. It is the easy thing to do, let fear overpower the courage, and move safely back into your comfort zone, but for some silly reason, I decided 2017 was going to be the year I was not going to go back into my comfort zone. My blog is my safety zone, 700 words on a subject that just pops into my head, a little editing and it’s out there, for whoever to read or not. It is easy for me to put things down on paper, but my heart always stops for a second when I hit that publish button on my blog. I assure myself that not many people read my blog, and it’s okay, but a play? That is on a whole different level; in theory, people would pay some of their hard-earned dollars to see my words come to life. Again, my heart is beating too fast, hands sweaty…
I don’t know how to write a play; I’m not even really sure I know how to write period, but with some prodding, I sat down and took this little kernel of an idea and just started writing from the heart. For a few hours a day, I force myself out of that comfort zone and write, expanding on this little idea. When I have the number of words I have made myself write every day done, I have to tell you; I feel pretty amazing. Fear isn’t the dominant word in my head after that; it is courage, and when you do something that required both fear AND courage, let me tell you, the feeling is nothing short of the real sense of the word awesome. You have created awe in yourself, your ability to create something out of nothing.
Any artist, whether they are a singer, a songwriter, a painter, a chef or a writer, we all, at any moment, feel like we don’t know what we are doing and if we are any good, but we keep going anyway. We can’t help ourselves but to take on the words courage and fear and push past the uncomfortableness and create. In 2017 I am taking on the words courage and fear. I am going to be in awe of myself and my ability to create, and I challenge you to do the same. I promise you the feeling you will end up with is worth the sweaty palms, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. You are not headed for a heart attack or stroke; you are headed for self-satisfaction at the highest degree.
And to all my artist friends, you are my inspiration daily, whether you know it or not. Keep writing those songs, keep playing in those clubs, keep painting those paintings, and keep coming up with those amazing dishes. Don’t give up on yourself; I need you to be my inspiration. I’m counting on us!