Saying Yes to What Scares Me

by - June 20, 2019

My creative journey only began its forward trajectory when I started saying yes to things that scared me. 

It's easy and safe to live life in a bubble, and some people can be happy there. Who can blame them, really? Have you ever watched the way the light dances off a bubble? It's like an oily prism of gorgeousness. I could get behind someone settling into that for the long haul. But me? I was made for more than that. Not because I'm better or more ambitious, but because I'm personally fulfilled by the chase.

If you're in the race, you have to be ready for the baton.


Fact: I hate running with the passion of a thousand flaming spears aimed at the likeness of a certain politician I have a lot of not-so-shiny things to say about. (But I won't mar this sacred space of mine by giving them any air time.) I hate running the way a rabid dog hates water or like how my sister feels about sugar in her tea. But for the sake of the imagery, come along with me, won't you...?

(To be perfectly clear, the included photo of me is not one snapped as I'm 'out for a run'. I never have, nor do I ever anticipate, 'going for a run'. Instead I've started this new thing where I go for a morning walk, tackling the Hell Hill along the road by my house as a way to combat my slothy writer lifestyle. Each morning, I snap a picture of myself for a photo journal I like to call: Kill That Hill, Girl. You're a Warrior at 3km/hour! or How the Smell of That Raccoon Roadkill has Changed Since May 7th. Watch for it on Kindle in 2020. 😉)

So, I'm in the race. I'm wearing a pair of those cute little running shorts along with a pair of those socks that go halfway up my calves because the 70s called and they're really disappointed I didn't get to grow up there (even though it's obviously where I've always belonged). I'm carving my own path because the track is boring and I know what it's like to fall on that gravel and have to pick pebbles from my legs. There are stones in my way and I skip over them by starting my blog. There are twigs and I swipe past them. Sure, I get a few scratches, but through the brambles I'm able to write my first novel. I hop, skip, and jump across a stream or two and my sneakers get wet but there's something musical about the way they make that squeaky-squish noise and that propels the launch of my publishing company. And the farther I go, the bigger the hurdles get, and it's scary every time but I keep running because I know the moment I stop for air I'll just want to become one of the bubble people and bask in the bliss of a colourful blur.

Last weekend I faced the most uncomfortable hurdle to date: I led a workshop on being creatively reckless at a writer's conference in Hamilton.

When this baton was first placed into my hands I passed it right back. Because nope! I wasn't about to stand up in front of a room of strangers and play-act my knowledge before them like I was some expert on the other side of the chasm. I said no. A big fat not-in-a-million-years no.

Because I was afraid.

     But then I said yes.

Because doing hard things is what helps us grow.

I have things to share and I believe part of my purpose here is to inspire others by sharing my own journey. I can be the 'if I can do it, anyone can do it' spokesperson. Anyone can be that person. Every journey has its lessons that are worthy of sharing. When I finally said yes it was because I decided it was okay to own my path and to share it. The passion of one can ignite passion in another.

My insights aren't because I'm smart. They're because I tried and tripped and dusted myself off and tried again. They're because I said yes.


This is not a picture of me giving my presentation. Don't be fooled! I completed forgot about asking someone to snap a 'to prove I did it' picture. This is a picture of the room I presented in, photo-shopped together with the 'I'm really nervous' selfie I took that morning as I was leaving my accommodations to make my way to the conference hall, combined with the title slide of my Recklessly Creative workshop - which I really did show on that screen in the picture - it just wasn't there when I took the picture of the room. Isn't technology awesome!?

One of my favourite things about this race I'm in is the community I've built up around myself because of it. By allowing people to follow my journey, I've invited them to speak into my life, and that's an enormous gift.

I lamented my nervousness across all my social media platforms, calling on my circle to send out their positive vibes at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. I was inundated with emails, texts, Facebook messages, Instagram comments, and Twitter DMs wishing me luck and assuring me I could do it, and every single one of those messages meant the world to me! Knowing there's a community that believes in me is one of the greatest gifts this journey has ever given me and it propels me forward every day.

So I hiked up my socks and I faced my fear. When there were technical difficulties getting my Mac to connect to the University's Windows system, I powered through and started without my slides. When it took a crew of three (or was it four?) staff members to figure it out, fumbling around beside me while I directed the attendees to write down a list of all the things that take up their time in an exercise that led to the identification of passions, I was (mostly) able to ignore them. When they finally figured it out and everyone applauded their techy help, I was able to keep on going with my slides as my allies.

I started shaky, but I finished boldly. The point is I did it and I feel pretty darn good about that.

It's hard to measure the success of a workshop like I did. Much of it called for personal reflection and for the first half it was a struggle to get anyone to participate by answering the questions I put forth. But at the end, one woman stood to her feet and, with tears in her eyes and a voice heavy with emotion, she publicly declared her creative goal (which is what I'd challenged everyone to do). Hearing her embrace that and spill it out with such fire was so powerful and I feel privileged to have given her a platform where she felt safe to do that. The same woman sought me out afterwards to hug me - not a 'hey friend' kind of hug. This was a heart hug. It felt like the kind of hug you'd give someone who just lost a loved one, like you're trying to give all of yourself: your condolences, your gratitude, your love. The kind of hug that lasts longer than social norms but feels like the whole world is nodding at you. Others shared their goals with me too, but that hug is what made the whole thing the right choice for me. It is what has fueled me up for the next big thing, whatever it may be.

I'm still sitting in that space of Writer's Conference Hangover (it's a real thing, trust me!), but I have ideas coming out of this experience to propel me onward. Would I do it again? Yes. Does it still scare me? Yes. Will I let that stop me? No. I feel good about how I look in these running shoes!

So, here's to the risk takers and the dreamers, the doers and the shakers, and the people like me who are trying to be just a little bit like them every single day.


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