face your fears

What it means to face your fears ...

face your fears
Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

"Face your fears," little D said to me as we stepped off the flight at Pearson after a lovely three weeks away visiting family and doing touristy stuff across the pond.

I turned to look at him in surprise and said, "I had no idea you knew those words!"

He grinned sheepishly. "I've known this for a long time."

We were talking about his summer camps, now that we had returned from our holiday. He said he was nervous about attending them, he hadn't known they'd be drop-off camps, which means he'd have to be away from us the entire day.

These last few days have been full of conversations surrounding doing difficult things, feeling nervous and fearful when we're about to embark on something new, and how we ought to try and do that which scares us anyway because that is really the only way to face fear.

We face fear by looking it in the face.

So even though D talked a lot about not wanting to go to camp, he did make his way out of the door on time this morning and, at the venue, got in line when the camp counsellor was ready to take all the children indoors.

I'll leave in a couple of hours to pick him up, but his words and his behaviour have been having a huge impact on me.

I am so proud of, and inspired by, my little one who wants to do the hard thing even though it's scary and terrifying. I can't wait to see how he feels this evening when I go to pick him up.

I have been facing my fears too around writing and publishing. Instead of pooh-poohing away the feelings that arise or wishing I had been a different person of a different temperament, I've been consciously setting out to do the thing that I often feel tempted to give up on because I'm afraid that the outcome of my efforts may not be worthwile.

Well, no one can predict an outcome, can they? Let alone guarantee an outcome?

The instant I understand this, nothing is impossible. I only have to show up everyday and face my fears and do the work despite my fears.

These days, when I'm awake at 2 a.m., I no longer lie in bed rehashing the past a thousand different ways or imagining different versions of a dismal future in my head. Instead, I get up and get cracking on pending work.

Early morning is not my best writing time, I've come to see. But once I've gotten some of the admin stuff out of the way and have dropped D off at school/camp, then begin my precious hours of creativity.

It has taken years of trial and error to figure this out.

This is how I have begun to show up and face my fears and do the work.

I don't get sidelined by arguments. I'm not going to be bothered by the fact that the front lawn is overgrowing with weeds and really, the condo should be doing something about it, but hey, right now that's not my focus area.

Right now, it's writing.

And D.

And KrA.

Anything, anyone other than this is a distraction.

I also accept that some days it will be hard. Heck, on most days it will be hard. I can take a break, listen to a song and sing along, then come back to do the work, knowing that the discomfort I feel inside my skin is fear screaming its loudest.

Fear of not doing a good job. Fear of not finding an audience. Fear. Fear. Fear.

That fear can exist. And I can continue to show up and do my work.

Face your fears!

How cliché this sounds! How true it is!

And how surprising that even though this has been repeated so often, we still fall prey to the same old fears, and we let it stall us.

Not anymore. Not anymore.

Success comes from doing somewhat-monotonous things every day for years – but no one wants to hear that.
~ Dickie Bush, 19 inconvenient truths I don't want to forget (over on Twitter)