When you become aware of old patterns, and take steps to break those patterns in your life, there are many contrasts to contend with. The pull to follow the old way is strong as you find yourself surrounded by people shouting that there is “only one way” to do something. Then you find others, those who quietly speak about the same things you do, or share mutual interest. They remind me that I’m not really alone, and that perseverance to what I know is true for me is important.
I love working as an author and a voice actor. I love practicing martial arts and gymnastics. I love teaching all of these things to people. As I find myself in a transition, there are days I am terrified at the direction my life is taking. It’s not because I’m unsure of what to do, it’s because I am sure of it, which may be the first time in my life ever. EVER.
People ask: “Why are you terrified?” Well, isn’t the very definition of terrified being absolutely thrilled and scared for your life at the same time, yet you can’t turn back because you’ll never know how it will turn out? And you’ll only be terrified a single time, for once you’ve taken the ride, no matter how many times you choose to go on it, it will never be the same as it was the first time you did. (Okay, don’t quote me on that definition as I’m not Webster’s Dictionary.)
When I talk about what I do, when I teach—no matter if it’s writing, voice acting, or martial arts and gymnastics—I am excited. I can see the way it all fits together in my life. Yet, transitioning to make it all work the way it will work best for me is scary. Why? Because I’ve never done it before, and leaving the old behind in favor of the new, that which absolutely fills my soul with passion is the very definition of terrifying. At least to me.
And yet, I cannot leave it undone. I must follow the path even though it may be long, or winding, or uphill. Perhaps it may snowball downhill sometimes. Or it could be smooth sailing. (Now I’m off the path and into uncharted waters. See? You never know where life will take you.) My point: I do not know. But I want to find out.
And as my best friend told me: “Sometimes you get busy climbing your personal mountain, and feel so alone. Then you break a threshold, and stand at the top, daring to look about. Then you realize how far you’ve come, and all the other mountains there are surrounding you. And you see everyone else climbing their own mountain, and you learn to love your journey along with everyone else’s. In time, you look up and realize you have more of your own mountain to climb. So, you let everyone have their path, and you follow your own.”
(Well, his story went something like that. Let’s not call it a direct quote, but it’s what I took away from it that’s important to me.)
At some point, perhaps we have to stop listening to those shouting from their own mountaintops. They have their own unique perspective, and while some of what someone else says has value, it may be laced with fear, self-doubt, and despair. That is their mountain to climb—not yours. Take those things that trigger your own negative feelings, and use them to shed light on what is weighing you down on your climb. Shiver and shake off that which holds you back from going higher.
Many people have been quoted as saying something like the following, and I give props to whoever said it originally. Here it is with my own spin: Sometimes we fear our own greatness, and what we are capable of doing, so we tell ourselves we cannot do something rather than face the fear that is perpetuating our suspension. Then we let others tell us the same until it is so engrained in us, we believe we actually believe it.
Finding it, letting go of it, is no easy task. Until I can explain the mechanics of that, you’ll just have to believe me. In the meantime, love yourself fiercely and with all your might. Believe in you. Do that which terrifies you, and ask yourself why it does.
Learning to love my own journey, no matter how difficult helps me appreciate not only my own, but others as well. I’ve been terrified before, and yet I did what I knew was the right thing for me. This time is no different, and yet it is a different set of circumstances. And when I look back at where I was, and where I am now, perhaps it’s not so terrifying after all.
But don’t quote me on that.