Last week I released my first novel, Returning To Friendship, and since then, I have been bombarded with conflicting emotions. While I am crazy excited, I am also terrified.
Publishing a work of fiction is totally out of my realm of comfort. Now that the novel is out there, I have little to no control. Agghh! A lack of control makes me break out in hives and want to curl up in the fetal position. I had the same feeling when I sent my children to kindergarten for the first time. It was the worst (for me, they were perfectly fine), but I recalibrated and kept on moving. There’s no other choice, is there? We can move forward, or we can stay frozen, never experiencing anything new or different and never learning or growing.
As for most of us, when faced with a life-changing event, this process has also put into question my sense of identity. Suddenly, I need to shift my thought process and kick to the curb the imposter syndrome that tries to sneak, poke, and prod its way in. Getting married, starting a new job, becoming a parent, and losing a parent were also life events that forced me to reevaluate who I was. In doing so, I discovered a strength or a passion or a love I didn’t know existed.
But the biggest scariest part of this process? Being vulnerable (cue the music from the shower scene in Psycho). For those of you who know me, you know I do not do vulnerable well. I mean, who does?
Yet, here I am, letting the vulnerability spill out in a big gooey mess (at least that’s what it feels like). Every character has a piece of me in them, and not all of those pieces are pretty or likable. Because I’m new to this I know I’ll make mistakes, I know I’ll wonder what the heck I’m doing. Both of which lead to more vulnerability. There have been moments during this process where I did freeze, too scared to move forward, but refusing to go back. I’m sure there will be more moments in which I get stuck, but I will not let the fear overtake me.
As I continue to plow ahead, I realize that fear is part of the adventure. We don’t know what will happen and we may not have control over much. But we can embrace the fear and know that we are headed for something amazing. Know that this life we have is one big-ass adventure, and we are fortunate to explore it. Know that we have people who are cheering us on and will catch us when we fall. Know that we are stronger and more resilient than we ever imagined.