I’ve Fallen Off the Wagon: Returning to Fearlessness
Guys, I’ve been a shitty blogger. I can feel myself not doing it, and I feel this weird guilt (not because you need to hear my ramblings, but because I need to ramble), and then I just… don’t.
The truth is, for the first time in 3 years I’m afraid of what to say and who will read it.
I haven’t been able to figure out where this feeling is coming from.
Tonight, halfway through making potato soup, I think I figured it out. So I’m going to do what I used to do and I haven’t done in a long, long time: pour my heart out and press publish before I have the time to rethink it.
It started with a resolution
I’m big on New Years. Every year I make resolutions, and I actually stick to them. I love New Years. I love coming out of the gluttonous cocoon of the holidays and going back to real life and making it matter. I love reconnecting with myself and that little ember in me that has a shred of discipline.
This year I’m fired up.
Actually, tonight I’m fired up.
It all started last Monday, when I started resolution #1. It’s the same thing resolution #1 always is: exercise.
I went from an anorexic workoutaholic, to a workout person that eats well, to a woman with a boyfriend and a job and no time (and really no urge) to exercise. Then, I became the woman who, for the first time in her 26 years of living wanted to exercise because she missed the way it made her feel, not because she wanted to be skinner. I, for one, have never been that woman and I, for one, LOVE being that woman.
So I did it. I ran outside in downtown Denver during lunch almost everyday last week. Turns out downtown Denver is really small, and I made a lot of headway. I was so sore I couldn’t walk. This weekend I did 90 minutes of yoga. I was so stiff I couldn’t move. Yesterday, I ran. Today, I went to the gym.
And throughout all of this working out, the weirdest thing happened. Normally when I work out I feel myself shedding fat and food and bloat. This time, I don’t feel that, I’m not in tune to that. I feel myself shedding fear.
I know that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever said, but it’s true.
I’m going to be real with you for a minute. I truly, in my heart of hearts, am proud of myself because I believe that I’m a kick-ass, fearless woman. I have balls (figurative balls) bigger than most men I’ve ever met. But then, with time, I get nervous and I crawl up and I stop being fearless. I had a breakup in my early 20s that devastated me, and I spent years afraid of love and relationships. I spent puberty getting fat, and spent 10 years starving. I’m big on extremes.
Anyways, I went to school and I was an entrepreneur and I finally wanted some stability so I took on a desk job. In the beginning, I was fearless. I had tons of ideas. Then, they just… eh. They would work and then they would be ignored. I had too much to do. I got shut down or derailed. Yada yada yada. Basically, I got tired. I got scared of arguing. And since day 1, I’ve been terrified of being fired.
Chase always says I’m crazy because from day 1 with him I thought he would leave me. I did. And I would get drunk, and I would cry hysterically that he would leave me. But the thing is, Chase has never been tempted to leave me. We toast every night to forever. He moved in with me, he took care of me, he went on a date with me and never left me alone – even for a night – for the next two years. Chase, guys, isn’t going to leave me.
Work isn’t going to fire me, either. I do my work. I care immensely. I go above and beyond. I’m smart. I want to learn. But yet, I’m always afraid of being fired. And the problem is, I’m learning, is that being afraid is a cop-out. When you’re always afraid you’re indefinitely stuck.
Anais Nin once said that “anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds onto you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
That is why the only thing that’s ever made Chase want to leave me is my anxiety that he will leave me.
The only thing I hate about working is constant fear I’m going to be fired.
Chase and I have worked out, I finally realized, because I stopped being scared he would leave me, and started laying my cards on the table as they are – unafraid of whether or not he will leave me. I had that moment where I realized I would rather be alone than be afraid. I would rather be alone than be with someone because I lied to make them stay.
With working out, I’m shedding the fear I’ve picked up in my adult life, that fear of being fired. I’ve begun to handle working the way I handled dating: like I had to hold on so they wouldn’t tell me I was unworthy. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know how to have a job. I don’t know how to lower my voice when I’m saying certain things. I’m proud of all the things I say. I’m on board, I’m on the team, I’m here to rock this – I don’t understand the politics. I don’t understand how to move up, or how a chain of command works. I’m a fearless, loud, idea-filled, Italian woman. I am not good at playing games. And that makes me really nervous. The same way I was afraid of my body, so I starved it, I’m afraid of my energy – so I ignore it, push it down, stay quite, and let it atrophy.
So suddenly, I’m reminded of the fearlessness I developed with Chase. I feel fearless. I want to write again, no matter who reads it. I want to speak my thoughts and take ownership at work, even if it’s not my place or not a ladies place or not something. I want to be a person I’m proud of. I want to always be honest. That’s when I’m happiest – when I can be honest. When I can sit in a room with my mom, my boss, and my boyfriend and be the same person. And if I fail every step of the way, at least I’ll know I lost when I was telling the truth. I can experiment with the games in another life.
So this year, I’m going to return to MsMorphosis.
I’m going to return to fearless thinking. I’m going to sit down with my suddenly adult self and remind her who we are, and remind her that we don’t let fear control us. I’m going to remind her that fearlessness – fearlessness that comes from a life of integrity, and pride – is the life we’ve chosen. It’s the life that makes me believe that I matter.
This year, my real resolution is to begin easing into adulthood with the bravery of my younger self. My resolution is to speak my mind, and be vulnerable, and be naive, and be authentic, and be genuine. My resolution is to keep learning and growing and being the woman I would be excited to know. My resolution is to not let my fear control me. I’m going to exercise and be as strong as I can be, so I can be unashamed when my mind and personality are stronger. I’m going to do great things with each day and my one life. I’m going to hold onto the beautiful 20-something spirit that started MsMorphosis, and took chances to be with Chase, and stood up for her right to have a healthy body and say goodbye to the egotistical pride of anorexia.
My New Years resolution is to stay strong. Strong in my work, strong in my honesty, strong in my relationship. Strong in love, and strong at work. Strong enough to sleep well at night and trust in something bigger than myself.
See? I really believe exercising is a New Years Resolution that pays off.