So I recently finished creating my first poetry collection and I am so excited about it, almost everything is finalized- the interior, the cover, the publication process… Which was all fun and creative and great. But last week I had a meeting with my boyfriend who happens to be an expert marketer, to talk about the daunting process of actually selling the book. All in all it went pretty well until the very end when I looked at this board of things I needed to do, and it all started to feel way to real. So I cried. I’m not exaggerating. I actually had big ol’ baby tears pouring down my face.
That was basically fear showing up to say, “Girl, don’t think you’re about to do this shit without me.” But thankfully I was in the middle of reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert who that night- I’m not joking- said (to me) “Oh yeah, don’t worry, that’s what fear does. Totally normal.” (Fantastic book, highly recommend). She went on to explain how we need fear desperately for some things (making sure we don’t die) and do not need it at all for other things (being ourselves) but our brains are not able to make that distinction so fear just shows up to everything!
So I thought about that for a while. I’ve been thinking about that all week. (Mind you, I’ve cried several times since then.)
You see, I’m working on being the kind of person who is not afraid to be herself. And to me, creation is any form of self expression. We are all creators. Constantly creating things throughout the day. We create our look, we create our mood, we create how we arrange our food on our plate, we create our circle of friends, we create our outline for the day, etc. So I narrowed my thought process down to one detail. Dressing myself.
I get dressed every day in the precise way that makes me feel comfortable and confident. I in no way wonder what the people on the streets are going to think of my outfit. I don’t wonder if my friends are going to like what I’m wearing. I don’t wonder what models and fashion designers in LA will think of what I’m wearing. And I am fully aware that yes, someone, many, out there are going to have nicer, newer, more expensive clothes on than me. But that does not mean I fear getting dressed and showing up in the world. Why? Because I like my clothes. I picked them out. I chose them for my body type and my style. I don’t wear them for anyone but me. And so I brought my attention back to my book.
I fucking like my book. I really do. I had to read it an exceeding number of times with all of the editing and redrafting and proofreading and still- I like it. It’s real. It’s me. Every poem and prose came from real life experiences or real life feelings. In some way if you think about it, I couldn’t have written them any differently. Not at the times that I wrote them. And most importantly, I wrote this book for me! I never wrote anything thinking, but what are people going to think about this? Never. I wrote for my own self expression. Because if you know me- you know I really don’t talk a lot. I write.
And so, why should it matter if a better poetry collection was already created? It wasn’t created by me. Or what if people buy it and don’t like it? In my opinion, if you don’t like something, then it wasn’t meant for you. And that’s ok. I do not have a grand promise that this book is meant for every person in the world. But if it ends up in your hands, chances are, it was probably meant for you. And that is how I know my book rain, is meant to be in the world. Because it has ended up in my hands.
So my friends, the next time fear seems to be holding you back from creating something, just ask yourself one question.
Are you doing this for you?
If the answer is yes, then you keep moving forward even if fear is holding your hand. She can come. She WILL come. But don’t just sit with her and do nothing.