I recorded an audio version of this essay for folks who would rather listen. To check it out, play the file here:
(It’s only 4min and 20 seconds. And, it has music with it. Click the link to throw a bit of ear candy in your speakers.)
I used to be terrified on days when I had something to share.
The fear came from two angles:
One: everyone in the entire world would be reading, and Two:
No one would be reading.
I was afraid of judgement and,
I was afraid no one cared.
The entire conflict was within myself. The “work” wasn’t just the writing, it was also the act of “sharing”.
The battle was, and still is, an inward one: a fight that takes place behind the scenes.
The moment I start a sentence that says something scary and true:
The work begins.
I recognize something that I’m afraid to share, and then, I figure out how to explain it.
I have to discover “why”.
And the only way I’ve ever been able to discover is through writing:
An exploration of emotion in the form of literature.
Before stepping in front of the camera, Matthew McConaughey is nervous.
He’s anxious before every scene of every movie he’s ever been in.
He understands the anxiety. He embraces it. He pounds on his chest and he hums. He tells whatever dude is standing next to him: camera guy, assistant director, lighting girl, whoever:
“I’m nervous right now…”
***thump thump thump***
He pounds his chest and he hums. He shares the emotion with his team and then steps in front of the camera to perform.
Matt McConaughey recognizes the battle. He understands the need for emotion and he allows himself to feel. He releases energy into his environment.
He’s scared, but that doesn’t stop him.
He’s reaching for something. He’s challenging himself to be better than he thought he could be.
He embraces the anxiety and shows up anyway.
Matt McConaughey goes to battle because he wants to be just like his hero.
And his hero is him, 10 years from now.
And every morning when he wakes up, his hero is still 10 years ahead.
When I wake up, I think about what I want to do.
I recognize the constant flow of time and realize that there is no means to stop it.
So, I embrace my mortality and take action towards the things I love.
I risk myself in pursuit of the “me” I want to be.
And yes, I’m scared a lot of the time.
I feel alone. I feel segregated from society; on an island by myself. I feel like I’m the only one who understands, the only one who perceives the world they way I do…
So I look at how I’m thinking and connect my perspective with what it means to be human.
I read stories about other people: successful artists and entrepreneurs, men and women who have fought a battle in pursuit of something “more”.
I digest these stories and I become grounded. I stop feeling so alone. I stop feeling “different”, or “special”.
I feel the same.
Because we’re only human and…
We all just want to be understood.
So I ask myself every morning:
“Why not try to be better?”