Monthly Archives: March 2013

Carrying with care

Sometimes the box goes in the backseat.

“You can put that box down,” my high school boyfriend once told me. We’d been driving for a while, and had a while left to travel, and the whole time I’d been gripping a cardboard box full of…CDs? Books? The contents weren’t particularly important, but having their weight on my lap was comfortable.

I am comfortable carrying weight, all right with responsibility. Sometimes it overwhelms me, but as long as I am honest, I usually feel light, even if my burdens are heavy.

But it matters what I hold, and why. There is no need for me to balance a box on my lap when I can just as easily put that box in the backseat. It helps to have free hands.

And while I don’t always get to choose my responsibilities, a lot of the time I do. Just because I can carry something doesn’t mean I need to. So I do my best to choose wisely, and if I notice I’m lifting unnecessary weight, I can always put it down.

(And if I really miss it, I can usually pick it up again…)

Patience in snowtime

snowprints

A grounded perspective is a good view.

I was unprepared for snow.

The weather app on my phone predicted chilly sunshine all day, and since I wasn’t expecting to work late, I didn’t check the evening forecast.

So the snow was a surprise. It didn’t seem bad as I exited the subway and went to get groceries, but by the time I left the store it was coming down hard and starting to stick. I was wearing slick-bottomed fashion boots and have a history of ankle sprains, so I decided to wait for the bus rather than walk three avenues while carrying a large and heavy bag of food.

I stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes, taking the time to observe that snow is like friendly rain: it’s soft and pretty as it falls, but you still end up wet. Then, since I was quickly getting soaked and there was no sign of the bus, I reasoned I was better off moving though the flakes than letting them accumulate on my unhatted head.

So often I take walking for granted—it’s my primary mode of transportation in Manhattan. But tonight I had to be vigilant, because there is no security on slippery sidewalks, especially not when wearing unsuitable shoes.

“Slowly, slowly, careful, careful,” I said to myself, keeping my head down and my pace measured. People around me moved faster, but I plodded insistently, lifting one foot and then the other, paying no mind to the progress of fellow pedestrians.

And that’s when I decided to write a blog post, because tonight’s journey home parallels the path I’m traveling professionally. I know where I want to go, but it’s a few avenues away and snow is falling. I will get there if I’m patient, and it’s not a competition, but one careless step and I could be on my ass.

It’s not easy, taking care of every. single. step. Paying attention to the footprints ahead of me while deliberately placing my own. Acknowledging and praising progress while staying focused on moving forward.

But it’s not hard, either, making my way with cautious determination, trusting that I will get where I’m headed. Catching slips before I fall. One step at a time. Simple. Steady. True.

It  was uncomfortable, walking with wet socks and a weighty load. “This suckity sucks,” I said once or twice, but I knew there was a warm bath waiting for me, and hurrying wasn’t going to make me drier. So I stuck with what worked. One foot in front of the other, again and again, and in time I got home.

photo

The view from my front door was a welcome perspective.

I’m so scared

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

I try so hard to be brave. My comfort zone feels like a distant home, a place I love to visit but where I no longer live. And a lot of the time that feels fine. I am excited about where I’m headed. I’m SO excited. But I’m also scared.

And not confessing the fear makes it worse, because then it turns into a shameful secret, and shame is self-hate, and self-hate is harmful.

So I want to talk about this, even though it’s (surprise!) frightening to be publicly vulnerable. It feels like because I am strong I’m not allowed to show weakness; because I have courage I shouldn’t flaunt fear.

But the fact is I’m afraid. And the more I illuminate that truth, the lighter I will become.

I’m afraid I can’t hold all the goodness I’m asking for. I’m afraid to write another book. I’m afraid to look for an agent. I’m afraid I don’t deserve the massive success I envision for myself. I’m afraid I’m a fraud, that my earnest attempts at authenticity are nothing more than ego.

I’m afraid to publish this post, that exposing insecurities is naive and unsavvy. I’m afraid you’ll pass judgment. I’m afraid I’ll be sorry.

And all of that’s okay. Each of my fears and ten million more are not only okay, they’re inescapable.

As a human, I am going to feel fear. A lot. Probably always.

But I also feel love.

Love is my trump card, my winning lotto ticket, my night-light, my soft blanket, my wide smile, my huge hug. Love is my hope, and my laughter, and my promise to keep trying.

Love is what I have to give, and fear is what I face to do so. Neither emotion will disappear, but what I focus on will flourish.

So today I choose love. Awareness gives me the option, honesty gives me the freedom, and with gratitude, I am not so scared.