She is back, it started with her peeking her head around a corner trying to get a glimpse of what I was doing and then she got a little braver. Sometimes, I would catch her just sitting back and watching. Watching me to see what I am going to do next and as long as my action does not upset her space she is perfectly fine with me going out into the world and making mistakes, some colossal and some embarrassing. She rarely has much to say until it is too late in those instances and then she sits there smacking her bubble gum like a child saying, “I told you so!”

I have made friends with my demons and I know that fear is just that, an old demon. However, fear is one of them that can never truly be abolished, for we need fear. Fear protects and tells us not to jump off the mountain or not to go down that dark alley. At times, we listen to that fear, thank it and jump off anyway to an exhilarating experience and other times we walk down that alley into danger. It is hard to know when to listen to fear, say thank you and do it anyway or when fear is really telling you to sit your ass down and stop this nonsense before your hurt yourself.

My fear, this time around is about me putting myself out there, in the world, making my writing more accessible and exploring the possibility of publishing my book. That has been a long held dream and as I near the year commitment I made to complete the book my fear has started to pay closer attention. She was all safe and comfortable, lounging back in the chair not worrying about my finishing. She knows I have made this plan many times before, so many in fact that she yawns when I speak about it.

Lately, it seems she has started to sense that I am serious this time and it is scaring the crap out of her. So, in her typical fashion, she has started to play with me.  You see my fear can be a bit of a bitch, acting like she is not really paying attention, acting all chill, sitting in the big girl chair with her feet hanging over the side sucking on a lollipop and clicking the heels of her red Mary Janes together (yes even my demons have awesome shoes) while plotting my demise. She is much happier when I stay in her comfort zone.

As I have been exploring publishing options, looking at websites to determine how I want mine to present and seeking speaking engagements she has started to pop her head into the mirror and laugh at me. I ignored her but she is persistent and demanding so she started to lob some doubt my way. It was subtle at the beginning with little questions like, “Are you sure you want to do this? What if you fail? You know you are going to fail, right? You are going to fail miserably!”

I smiled at her reflection in the mirror and gently reminded her that to not go forward, to not finish would be a failure. There, poof, my work here is done!

Hardly! She became louder, so I reached out to people and spoke about what fear was telling me. They told me she is just trying to keep you small and safe, but small and safe is, well, small and safe. I want big and brave so onward I went, I kept writing, I kept putting myself out there and then I decided to attend a writing workshop. “Oh fuck” she said, “here we go.” Now she was off the chair and standing right in front of me and yelling, “Not NOW!” I demanded to know if not now, when? As I suspected she did not have an answer for me. What she did instead was gather some of her minions, self doubt and insecurity to name a few. They started to circle me, taunting me, telling me that I will never get published, that this has all been a colossal waste of my time. They teased me and laughed at me for thinking that I could ever be good enough, that anyone would ever care what I had to say, wondering who the hell I think I am?

I listened to all of them and smiled because I knew them so well. It had been a while since we had seen each other but we go way back and I know that they get scared when I make some big moves or dream larger than they can imagine and that is ok. It is how we all grow, together.

I NEED fear and I am glad she is walking this journey with me but there is a balance between taking chances and hiding, between being protective and being vulnerable, between being afraid to live and living. I choose taking chances, vulnerability AND living!

I may fall on my face, I may indeed be a colossal failure, I may never get a published book and hell, people might even laugh at me and ask me who the hell I think I am and that is ok. At least I will have tried.

HOPE says, “LEAP AND THE NET will appear”, FEAR says, “oh shit, she is listening to hope again.”

I have learned that I need to listen to and lean into my fear. Yes I get scared sometimes but I am more afraid of not leaping, of standing still, of not trying, of wondering, what if? So I shall go forward, I WILL feel the fear, I will walk through forward, likely with fear holding onto my ankle but I will get to the other side proud of myself for taking chances!

PS…..I think fear and her minions better fear me, one day I may just smother them all with a pillow.