The pile of shit in your garage (and in my case, your basement as well).
The place you’re in.
It’s all bullshit. Every ounce. And here’s why: you’re just flat-out afraid to deal with it.
Sidebar: Is the image in this post not the creepiest EVER?!
In the case of my basement and garage, I just fucking hate spiders and I know spiders live there and the longer I can avoid the spiders, the better my life will be. The delays sure as hell won’t get what I own packed up for my impending move any sooner, but I’m willing to let the spiders have their raves in these respective spaces for a bit longer given that odder and odder iterations of arachnids are making themselves known each time I make a mad dash for the car. They are mutating to spite me, I assume. But I digress.
The spiders are bullshit, too. They’re just excuses. Excuses my fears put in place in order to keep me from getting to where I want to be from This Place. Where I am.
When’s the last time you sat down and asked yourself, “Self — what scares you?”
And when’s the last time, perhaps if you have asked the question, that you gave yourself an honest answer?
Today, I’m kicking off the Bitch Slapping by answering that question honestly — right here. Because fear is a funny thing. It’s even funnier when you realize that your fears aren’t all that unique. In advance of my answers, however, I will offer the following:
I don’t care what you think of my fears. They’re mine. Judge at-will. I’m a lactose intolerant 39-year-old woman who loves grilled cheese sandwiches and banana milkshakes. Sometimes I have good ideas — others, I have two ex-husbands. My tits are fake, my fingernails are real, and on random Sunday mornings, I crank up a Michael Bublé CD and dance around my house like an epileptic on meth. It’s also possible that this is done in a pair of Patagonia boy shorts and a classy white wifebeater. So, yeah — you can have your judgement. But maybe you’ll find something that follows to strike a chord in that place that rests right beneath your heart. A surgeon will never find it, but it’s the place we keep everything hidden from everyone else. Our hopes, dreams…and fears.
What Scares Me
- I’ll never be able to do as much as I’d like to help my parents retire.
- I will never have a family, as at age 39, I know my fertility is declining and I’m not looking for a sperm donor. I’m looking for a partner, a father, a lover, and a friend. And it’s beyond depressing to know that I’ve become one of the statistics in a book I just co-wrote on fertility challenges.
- I’ll move to Boulder and hate it.
- I’ll never say what needs to be said to the people I love most and come to regret it.
- I’ll let down the people I admire and respect.
- That I’ve built my life in such a way that I’ll never travel like I want to. I’ll never stand underneath the Eiffel Tower, ride my bike through Ireland or Laos, or stand on top of a mountain in Nepal and feel different winds blow through my hair.
- That someone to whom I say, “I love you” will say nothing in return.
- My book will bomb and never find the audience that loves it.
- That this time next year, I will still say that I am single and not madly and most inconveniently in love.
- I won’t find The Next Thing — where my business should go next, the future risk and leap that will catapult me into that place where everything simultaneously sucks and is brilliant. The place where you know something cool is happening and you’re completely exhausted but it’s the one time in your life where you’d pose for Playboy stark naked next to a giant spider because you’re fucking invincible.
- Those blow-up wiggly things your see outside of gas stations waving around.
- My retirement savings will never recover from the life explosion that was my 3.5 years in Las Vegas — that I’ll never look at my bank account and think “that’s enough.”
- I’ll never look at my body in the mirror and think, “You look great” — that I’ll always be 5 pounds away from happiness.
- I will fall in love again and lose him.
- Wet paper (really).
- That I will misjudge another jackass and have a drunk guy show up at my door with a gun. Again.
- That the day will come where I speak in front of an audience and they will not laugh, nod, smile. They’ll just sit.
- The people I’ve loved the most and who have been the only reason I’ve been able to do anything and everything I love won’t look back when I’m gone on to more ethereal places and think, “Damn – that was a life well-lived.”
Sixteen things. Huh. Who knew the list was so short? Fuck me for using a numbered list instead of a bulleted one, I suppose. But today, those are the things that scare me. Shitless, quite frankly. And now, I can ask the real question(s):
What does all of this shit I’m scared of keep me from doing and how many excuses do I make to avoid these things I seem to fear the most?
We aren’t honest with ourselves nearly often enough. We should make lists like this daily so that fears never have the chance to settle in and ruin out potential for 32 flavors of ass-kicking awesome (because 31 flavors is sooooo 1988).
We should scare the living shit out of ourselves daily — willingly and at dawn’s first light, noon’s high sun, and throughout night’s deepest darkness. Because if we do one thing each day, it should be something that matters. Something that tells all of the gnomes under our beds that steal single socks and hide our car keys that they’re our bitches and not the other way around.
Because all of these things that scare us — and scare me — are the things that will motivate me to live a better life, run a better business, say what needs saying, and close this laptop at the end of every day and think, “Today? Yeah. I owned that. Owned it like peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat.”
It’s time to cock that Bitch Slapping hand back as far as it will go and make your list. Be honest with yourself and put fingers to keys or pen to paper and enumerate all the nasty little soul-sucking shit that scares you. Clear out that space right below your heart — the one that holds your hopes, dreams…and fears. Because getting the fear out of there leaves an ass ton more room for the things that make our lives lovely and filled with fewer excuses and more fuck yeahs.
Let the slapping begin.