To Do in the Face of Fear

March 19, 2015

Hello blogland! Good to see your face again, i’ve been thinking about you a lot lately but haven’t quite had the courage to come visit yet. But here I am and I hope i’m enough.

I could use the “i’ve been hellishly busy” card all I want because it’s 100% true, but it’s not the reason I haven’t been on here. I haven’t been on here for a number of reasons and the first and biggest is because i’m afraid of starting and or doing things incorrectly. I’m afraid of doing things without purpose and doing things I don’t think i’m great at which I think is more than a little silly if not only because i’ve had a blog in some form since I was 16 (oh DF message board blogs, you were a disaster!) My fear of starting things wrong is something that has been jumping out at me a LOT lately and it’s something I need to confront.

The Universe Pops In

I don’t believe in anything in an organized manner, I belong to no creed and church was scary to me for a long time (okay sometimes still is). But as Mando points out frequently enough, i’m the most superstitious atheist he knows. I trust my gut more than I trust most people. I always toss spilled salt, I don’t step on grave sites and hold my breath when passing a graveyard. I won’t even go near anything resembling a ouija board. I don’t mess with things that shouldn’t be messed with and I pay attention to things that should be paid attention to, like the feeling that somehow the universe is conspiring to get me to confront my weaknesses.

The first thing that sparked this train of thought was Kaylah from The Dainty Squid posting about her fear of being creative again and her foray into painting. I read the post eagerly and nodding my head furiously in agreement. It made me feel like I wasn’t so crazy to be afraid to begin. Now, i’m a rational adult and i’m a teacher. I know being bad at things can scare you and is a perfectly normal reason people refuse to grow. But also as a rational adult I feel like everyone recognizes this sooner than I do and they’re far braver than I am. I feel that as the teacher I should know this by now, I mean I see it every day in my students and I do my best to push them beyond those comfort zones. I should recognize this reluctance to be bad at something and forge bravely onward, I mean i’m so good at seeing it in others! But I can’t. I get so stuck in the what ifs and all the mess ups along the way. I think of the impossibly tall hills I have to climb to be even decent at something and  instead of putting on my big girl pants and dealing with it, I stop. I return to the things that are comfortable to me and I return to what I know i’m good at. It’s scary being new to something and honestly i’d rather lose myself to something I know I can do. I don’t think it’s uncommon but it’s nice to hear some kind of validation that it’s not just me who is not taking those steps forward, but that I do need to take them.

No One Cares About Almost

Since then i’ve been seemingly bombarded with the same message: Don’t be afraid to be bad at something; It’s the only way you get good at something. Stop dreaming and start doing. Stop just writing down goals on a piece of paper and actually make a plan to go do them! I’ve heard this from Elise Blaha-Cripe from EnjoyIt! A lot lately as i’ve been getting more and more involved with her blog and her brand. She’s inspired me immensely. “No one cares about almost.” This is something she touches on a lot in her podcasts as well (I have been OBSESSED with podcasts lately and a whole post is coming soon on those!) and I can’t feel that this is just another place that the world has drawn me to for some reason. I’ve been following her on IG for a while now but all of a sudden I decide to check her out on more than just IG and bam! I see this message again right when i’m feeling so creative and motivated but also discouraged and already overwhelmed before i’ve even started.

This creative streak i’m talking about is in regards to my undying love for papergoods. I mentioned briefly in my 2k15 goals post about how I wanted to actually start working on paper projects with a friend of mine and that goal has been a spectre floating over my head. What’s also been a spectre is my anxiety disorder and it’s manifestation as a million notebooks and binders and planners. It’s the only way I hold it together and i’ve started referring to the mountains of organizational tools I carry with me as my ‘adorable mental illness’. Seriously you should see my meal planner and grocery list, the cutest!

I’ve been paying more attention lately to this mass of paper i’ve accumulated and also my propensity towards organization. Because at some point it stopped becoming about organization and making my life easier and instead became something else that wasn’t entirely helpful. My planner had become a datebook only instead of something that helped me live my best life possible and I found myself getting buried in obligations as I filled all my last hours with things to do instead of things I wanted. Not to say that i’ve wasted all my time this year by doing things I didn’t want to do, but it is to say I left very little time for the creative side of me. I left very little time for the side of me that was so passionate about renovating this house we just bought and organizing all of our things so we can live as happily and efficiently as possible. I left little time for intention in my life and I started to realize that despite all of these paper goods and planner I still didn’t have a system that worked for me. I still just had anxiety but I also had a lot of useless (but adorable) soft cover notebooks. And it left me feeling different. It was a good realization and instead of feeling as if somehow I had failed it lit a fire under my butt. I knew what I had to do. I had to get to work and I flew into working on a planner finally. I drew up ideas and organized pages and used far too many long sticky notes.

The Other Shoe

I then purchased the Adobe Creative Suite which thankfully my being a teacher affords me SWEET discounts (we’re talking 10 bucks for the suite here people!) and….quickly became overwhelmed with just how much I do not know about creating on a computer. Give me some pretty paper and some pens and some yarn and glue or whatever and I will craft you into a corner. But buttons and a mouse and a blank thing staring at me! Eek! I spent 30 minutes trying to get arrange squares on the page in InDesign. I was not having it. It wasn’t working and most importantly it wasn’t coming out perfect on my first attempt. Therefore it was not worth my time.

Luckily for me these messages of persistence and sucking for a while being okay were swirling in my brain and I tried instead to make a simple design mock up of my weekly spread idea in publisher the next day and I was much more successful. Obviously it wasn’t the picture in my brain but at least the squares were arranged and that’s honestly all I could ask for at that point. “Later.” I told myself. “I will be better later.”

Living in Desertion with 8 Million People

That night on my 50 minute drive to ComedySportz practice I put on the 100th episode of After the Jump and it purely served to reaffirm the work i’d done that day. Once again an inspiring woman, this time Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney, would tell me to keep working. To never stop working. And don’t give up when you realize you’re dumping yourself into a figurative sea of other creative people who are likely trying to do the exact same thing you’re trying to do. Speak with your own voice and you will always have a place.

As crushing as that message might sound (“You’re literally one in a million!”) She delivered it in such a way that I walked away from that feeling inspired because that exact thought had been needling me. In the past few months i’d followed countless new IG feeds of people with such passion and creativity who were so inspiring and they were all in the exact same field, or fields in the same proximity at least. Makers, creators, doers. And here I was simply toying with the idea of throwing my hat in that ring in a million years and I was feeling pretty small and like it wasn’t worth the fight. But then listening to Grace it reminded me of the other voice inside me that had been telling the defeatist voice to shut it: do it for you and you’ll always be happy.

Because that’s who i’m doing it for: me. I want to make these things. I think these things are important to me and who I am as a person and what I want to create. I want to do these things. I’ve felt happy in the past few weeks when i’ve taken the time to pursue those things and invest in my interests actively. I’ve felt happy when i’ve taken time to treat myself not to things but to experiences and people who I love dearly. And honestly this whole time i’ve been trying to reformat my thinking about blogging. Blogging and creating shouldn’t just be about writing things that will make other people like you, it shouldn’t be about trying to be interesting. It should be about getting out there and doing cool stuff that you actively enjoy and then coming back and sharing it. It should enhance your life and your creativity not drain you or frighten you. It should help you live bigger and to remember it better because you’ve got this nifty digital scrapbook.

The Recorded Life

So that’s what i’m here to do. I’m stating that this is not going to be scary for me. I won’t focus so intensely on creating cookie cutter perfect posts or trying to come up with “interesting” posts. I’m a writer and a thinker and I just want my blog to reflect that. I want to share my semi well organized stream of consciousness opinions about things i’m passionate about. I want to share the whirlwind inside my brain.

And most of all I want to document this part of my life. The part where I stop dreaming and I start doing. The part where I really honestly start taking care of my passions and I start being okay with sucking. The part of my life where I finally start making that planner i’ve dreamed of making for 3 years. The part of my life that I begin to live with intention.

So let’s do this. I hope you enjoy words because I feel a lot more coming.

Until next time,
Meagan

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kay Nyman

    LOVE this post! I love your view on blogging, and I agree 100%. It’s the exact reason I started my blog. Sometimes I feel like I get a bit too caught up in cookie cutter posts, and I have to take that step back and remember why I started.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your planner! I feel like starting a creative venture, even if it’s something you love, is always equal parts excitement and terror. The fear of completely screwing it up can be so debilitating. But in the end, just starting, and even accepting a total failure, can give such a sense of pride in just taking that first step.

    And I can’t wait to read more!

    1. Reply

      Meagan Crowe

      Thank you! The whole planner thing is scary and it’s probably going to take at least a million years (okay maybe i’m exaggerating but still!).

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