-Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Alpine Path
Fear. Will anyone show up?
Anxiety. What if I stumble over my words and forget what I want to say?
Excitement. I can't believe I get to do this!
Wonder. Never in a million years did I expect to be in a real bookstore talking to real people about something real that I wrote. The stuff of childhood dreams.
Doubt. I'm reading my essay aloud. What if people think it stinks and that I'm a fraud?
And yes, even amidst the customary terror that grips me during creative climbs such as this one is that zest, that delight, that Lucy Maud Montgomery articulates so well in the quote above. I think at the end of the day, I have to keep asking myself: is the fear and doubt and anxiety of making something and then showing it to people really worth it?
Pause. Yes. For me, it still is. Woven throughout with the fear is the delight of creating. As long as it's still there, I will keep my bargain to let the fear tag along for the ride. And what a wild freaking ride that is.
Another fear that tugs at me whenever I get to perform or write or share something with people is: "What if this is the LAST time this ever happens? What if you are never cast in a show (asked to teach a workshop, asked to be a guest blogger, get the chance to write a play) EVER AGAIN?"
Do you ever hear this voice in your own head? Do you hate it as much as I do? Admittedly, I've kind of given up on getting it to go away, and now I just co-exist with it, as if it's the annoying neighbor that rents space inside of my brain during times like this. We're stuck with each other, so we had better find some way to get along.
Is it possible that this book event at Trident tonite might be the LAST TIME EVER that I get the chance to share something I made? Of course it could be. Will I get the chance to share something I made 1,000 more times in the future? It's possible. But where I prefer to float on this big river of speculation is right down the middle: True, I might not get another 1,000 chances like this one, but I'm probably not looking at my last opportunity either.
So what do you do when you are trying to experience something like it's the first and last time you might get to live through it, but not make it so rarefied in your own mind that you can't just let go at some point and simply let the joy of the moment sink in?
I wish I had my own personal Yoda right now to help me with this ever-evolving quandary. But so far, he hasn't show up and it's up to me to fashion a game-plan for tonite. I'm going to keep breathing, be grateful for the family and friends who are planning to be there to support me, and try to let myself feel all the Big Feelings. Fear. Love. Excitement. Doubt. Wonder. And zest. Always that zest, even (and maybe especially) when your creative footing isn't as steady as you had imagined it would be. Unsteady as you might feel, you must remind yourself that you're still climbing--that's what counts.
Wishing each and every one of you a Zesty Tuesday!