Fears I Faced This Week, or How I’m Only A Little Douche-y

For New Years, I decided instead of having one specific resolution, I’d take on 365 of my most limiting fears. This week instead of focusing on anything specific, I did a bit of a loose- ended random fear round up. Maybe because I’m starting small, or maybe because even letting go of the little fears liberating, my “Year of Fears” is already turning out to be unexpectedly fun.

Day 1-

Fear of Sharing Excerpts From The First Draft Of My Book With Others

So I wrote a book… or rather, a sketchy outline and pile of pages that wants to be a book when it grows up.  The fairly normal response to me telling people that is, “Can I read it?”, to which my answer is, NOOOOOOOOO. But at some point, I’m fairly sure books are meant to be read… so…

Strategy– Read one of the roughest excerpts at writers’ salon.   Result– I stumbled over about 8 paragraphs and didn’t even die…  neither did my audience. Cool, that was easy. One fear down, 364 to go.

Day 2- Being a Writer Makes Me Self Absorbed/ Promoting My Work to Build a Writer’s Platform Will Turn Me into an Insufferable Narcissist

A mentor once told me that 50% of being successful as a writer is about building a writer’s platform. Whaaaaa? Noooooo…. Just writing! I thought, I’m not trying to produce blockbusters, I just want to do what I love and maybe have it resonate with a few people. And pay the bills.

Then I realized there’s probably a reason aspiring writers are launching Myname.com sites, and everyone from Chuck Paluhniuk (hero!) to Cheryl Strayed (Wild author) are self-promoting via social media.

Daaaamnit, I might have to make sure I write good things I’m confident enough to share and learn how to do that tweetering thing? Ugh.

Strategy: This…

day 2 photo

Jenny Monet’ shared Jenny Monet’s post, at JennyMonet.com.

Then I took a whole heap of smug selfies, because I can think of nothing more uncomfortably self-absorbed. Basically, I spent the afternoon being as narcissistic as possible and again… no one died.

Result: Eckhart Tolle once said that worrying about our ego is just more ego, and my equally wise best friend once said, “Jenny, you’re a bit of a douche already” (thanks Meg). If I write things I believe in, and am already a bit egotistical, then building my writer’s platform will go just fine.

Day 3– Because I’m a traveler, don’t own a home, a car, or even a couch, people think I’m poor/unsuccessful.

Strategy: Took a Greyhound bus which I figured would make me feel poor. Result: Saved money, listened to this really lovely podcast about networking, enjoyed two hours of free time, and realized this was about the most absurd leftover from childhood fear ever. Left my inner-poor-kid at the mall, so she could go buy a new shirt and look cool at school, and I could get on with being awesome.

Day 4

Fear that I’m not doing as well as I could be/should be/think I am (in other words, big time Imposter Syndrome)

Strategy: Hung out with a friend from college who has known me for long enough to be a good judge of whether I’m moving forward (13 years) Result: Reminisced and remembered how in my early 20’s I was a disfunctional alcoholic who spent my afternoons nursing my hangovers at my job at Verizon. Considering a decade ago my entire skill set consisted of a talent for bonging beers and yelling song lyrics while standing on furniture, I’m doing pretty damn well. Realized not only I accomplished about a million things I would never have dreamed of back when my goals were ‘find the party, drink the party, sort of remember the party’, but also… I’m happy. For someone who nearly died of depression in my early 20’s, being HAPPY… #1 success EVER.

Since this lovely photo (age 20) I have learned how chairs work and that cigarettes are gross.

FullSizeRender

Day 5

Fear of telling people I have ADHD, because it will limit my professional opportunities if people doubt my ability. Fear that every time I get distracted, forget something, or waste even a minute of my workday, that my ADHD actually does limit me.

Strategy: Announced my label on Facebook with this photo..IMG_5194

a compilation of my yearly goal folder my giant bulletin board, and all the other office supplies that have been my key to  grad-schooling, and business-running,  travel planning, and general adulting for the last decade. also, the Buddha, because he makes a really good office assistant.

Result: Realized that as a result of acknowledging ADHD early on, I’ve actually damn good at time management. Also, found out that I know a bunch of really successful ADHD people hiding their label for the same reasons… ADHD is misunderstood and when channeled and managed makes us awesome at achieving and creating.

The only true downside?  I might kill a forest with my exorbitant use of post-it notes (which I will make up for by saving gas on Grey Hound busses?).

Day 6

Fear that finding consistent and enjoyable remote work to support my travels is a pipe dream, that the only way to have a good job is to be tied to a location/ ‘oh-dear-god-don’t-make-me-work-in-an-office-ever-again-phobia’.

Strategy: Set goals for the next day to push myself a little harder, be a bit more optimistic about freelance options that aren’t mind numbing.   Result: Woke up in the morning to an email from an old online boss, offering me work. …I didn’t even email her, I just wrote a To Do list the night before and woke up with a job? Holy hell, my day planner must have been designed by wizards.

Realized that if I can get online work in my sleep from old bosses I hadn’t actually contacted, and that I’ve stumbled into some decent online gigs in the past, I’ll probably kick some serious ass if I actually apply for the good stuff. Mostly I doubt myself because other people don’t believe freelancing works.  Cool, more jobs for MEEEEEEEEE.

Day 7….Fear of sharing my fears. This my friends, is what it’s all about.

I have been known to present myself as a ‘don’t give a shit what anyone says, I do what I want, I have it all figured out’ opportunity-landing-globe-hopping-smooth-sailing badass. But maybe I’m really a messy human, who doubts myself, feels uncertain, gets nervous when I dream the big dreams, and makes douche excuses so I don’t have to do things that scare me. Or maybe… I’m both.

Maybe we all are both- swirling stumbling bundles of courageous badass and risk avoiding wimp… bold heroes of our own lives in some moments and superstitious kiddos scared of the dark in others. And maybe…We can both love both parts of ourselves and still choose who we let run the show.

Strategy: This long winded blog. Result: TBD.

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Year-o-Fears: 365 Opportunities for Expanding Levels of Creative Badassery

 

New Year’s Eve was my first opportunity to see a ton of old friends after returning to the states a couple weeks ago. Upon hearing that I’d just returned from South America, a friend of a friend said this- “I wish I could travel like you do but I would be too afraid.”

I laughed, thinking of the moment I booked on my one way ticket to Thailand over three years ago. I was on my way to an easily navigable country nicknamed “the land of smiles”, and yet because I’d never left the country, my excitement was barely noticeable over full scale irrational terror. Little things like layovers in Abu Dhabi and Taipei and going to downtown Detroit to get my new passport expedited seemed as daunting as climbing Everest. Based on my level of irrational fear, you’d have thought international airports were full of wasps and vengeful ninjas and that the agency where I had to go get my expedited passport was tucked down a flaming side street in Hades instead of downtown Detroit (although the two do have similarities).

After having the “I wish I could travel” conversation more times than I can count, I’ve realized-

  1. There are a ton of non-traveling-people who think that I travel because I’m fearless. That is absurd, because travel is actually really easy if it’s what you want to do, and “fearless”? It’s not a real thing. We all have fear, it’s what we do with it that matters.

2.We usually aren’t having a conversation about travel at all- it’s the restrictions we impose on ourselves as a result of being unwilling to do things that feel uncertain or scary and then wondering why we don’t feel completely alive. Travel is just a symbol of the big ugly fear monster hiding under the bed that is keeping us from our dreams.

Historically, I have been afraid of a TON of things, potentially more than the average person. Luckily, I also think fear is totally boring, and as  novelty seeker to the Nth degree, I dislike being bored way more than I dislike feeling afraid. As a result, I started to treat Fear like an acquaintance I run into at the coffee shop that I’m not crazy about. I’m polite, because Fear has on occasion had an interesting thing or two to say, but after a few minutes, I’m like “Heyyyyy homie, this has been great, but I have more interesting plans. No, sorry… you aren’t invited”. And then I go do something new and awesome.

….Except sometimes Fear is kind of tricky bastard, and he offers to buy my coffee, and it’s something really tasty like double caramel chocolate marshmallow pumpkin spice, so I say yes. Before I know it I’m sitting down with Fear, listening to him talk about something useless like Donald Trump’s hair or scented candle parties, and wonder where the hell my day went, because wasn’t I supposed to be off being a badass?

Which may be why up until that conversation I hadn’t set a single interesting New Year’s resolution, beyond a vague intention to write more often- I got caught up in drinking metaphoric lattes with Fear.  Luckily the conversation around being afraid reminded me of why I started writing publicly in the first place (and why I probably need to get back to doing it regularly)- because despite having stacks of notebooks full of words and the dream of being a writer since I was a kid, I had a HUGE fear of being verbally vulnerable. And because I was afraid of the thing, and being afraid of the thing was limiting, I did the thing. Now I’ve got a bazillion blog posts, a couple thousand readers, and this year I accidentally-on-purpose wrote a whole damn book, which is both exciting and terrifying. You guyssss… what am I going to wear when I meet Oprah?!

And by the way… Fear numero uno? Sharing rough unfinished excerpts of my book with… humans. Fortunately, last night served as an opportunity to do just that- my friend Joe put on a writer’s sal0n so a group of us could kick off a new year of creativity, I read a thing, and I had the pleasure of listening to a group of other talented writers share their raw work. The universe is so good to us when we set intentions to expand, as is surrounding oneself with others committed to doing the same. Anyone else? Year-o-fears?

Fear #1 tackled, 364 left. 2016, lets go!

All love, Jen

 

 

***Dear readers- Thanks visiting. Please note- I am in the process of migrating websites. For future updates, please follow me at my new address, Jennymonet.com

https://jennymonet.com/2016/01/02/year-o-fears-365-opportunities-for-expanding-levels-of-creative-badassery/

Year-O-Fears: 365 Opportunities for Expanding Levels of Badassery

New Year’s Eve was my first opportunity to see a handful of old friends after returning to the states a couple weeks ago. Upon hearing that I’d just returned from South America, a friend of a friend said this- “I wish I could travel like you do. But I would be afraid.”

I laughed, thinking of the moment I booked on my one way ticket to Thailand over three years ago. I was on my way to an easily navigable country nicknamed “the land of smiles”, and yet because I’d never left the country, my excitement was barely noticeable over full scale terror that I was moving to another continent. Little things like layovers in Abu Dhabi and Taipei seemed as daunting as climbing Everest. Based on my level of irrational fear, you’d have thought international airports were full of wasps and vengeful ninjas and that the agency where I had to go get my expedited passport was tucked down a flaming side street in Hades instead of downtown Detroit (although the two do have similarities).

After having the “I wish I could travel” conversation more times than I can count, I’ve realized-

  1. There are a ton of non-traveling-people at home who think that I travel because I’m “fearless”. That is absurd, because travel is actually really easy if it’s what you want to do, and fearless? It’s not a real thing. We all have fear, it’s what we do with it that matters.

2.When it comes down to it, we usually aren’t having a conversation about travel at all- it’s the restrictions we impose on ourselves as a result of being unwilling to do things that feel uncertain or scary and then wondering why we don’t feel completely alive. Travel is just a symbol of the big ugly fear monster hiding under the bed that is keeping us from our dreams.

Comfort-Zone.png

Historically, I have been afraid of a TON of things, potentially more than the average person. Luckily, I also think fear is totally boring, and as  novelty seeker to the Nth degree, I dislike being bored way more than I dislike feeling afraid. As a result, I started to treat Fear like an acquaintance I run into at the coffee shop that I’m not crazy about. I’m polite, because Fear has on occasion had an interesting thing or two to say, but after a few minutes, I’m like “Heyyyyy homie, this has been great, but I have more interesting plans. No, sorry… you aren’t invited”. And then I go do something new and awesome.

….Except sometimes Fear is kind of tricky bastard, and he offers to buy my coffee, and it’s something really tasty like double caramel chocolate marshmallow pumpkin spice, so I say yes. Before I know it I’m sitting down with Fear, listening to him talk about something useless like Donald Trump’s hair or scented candle parties, and wonder where the hell my day went, because wasn’t I supposed to be off being a badass?

Which may be why up until that conversation I hadn’t set a single interesting New Year’s resolution, beyond a vague intention to write more often- I got caught up in drinking metaphoric lattes with Fear.  Luckily the conversation around being afraid reminded me of why I started writing publicly in the first place (and why I probably need to get back to doing it regularly)- because despite having stacks of notebooks full of words and the dream of being a writer since I was a kid, I had a HUGE fear of being verbally vulnerable. And because I was afraid of the thing, and being afraid of the thing was limiting, I did the thing. Now I’ve got three years of blog posts, a couple thousand readers, published content, and this year I accidentally-on-purpose wrote a whole  book, which is both exciting and terrifying. You guyssss… what am I going to wear when I meet Oprah?! 😉

I also realized in 2015 that despite my having nailed solo travel and verbal vulnerability, I still have a ton of ridiculous fears, and that I’d rather not spend 2016 tricking myself into hanging out with any of them. So I’ve decided that every day this year I’m going to openly acknowledge a fear, do the thing I’m afraid of, and instead of letting the fear buy me coffee and getting to comfortable hanging out with it, I’m going to let it go. Probably out loud, because that’s what writers do and otherwise my inner bum might decide, “Naw, I’m over that whole fear resolution. It’s a lot of work. I think I’m going to just get in shape and eat healthy for my resolution like everyone else.”  365 days, 365 fears….a whole year-o-fears.do one thing everyday that scares you

And by the way… Fear numero uno? Sharing rough unfinished excerpts of my book with… humans. Fortunately, last night served as an opportunity to do just that- my friend Joe put on a writer’s salon so a group of us could kick off a new year of creativity. I read a thing, and I had the pleasure of listening to a group of other talented writers share their raw work- the universe is so good to us when we set intentions to expand, as is surrounding oneself with others committed to doing the same. Anyone else? Year-o-fears?

Fear #1 tackled, 364 left. 2016, lets go!

All love, Jen

……………..

***Dear readers- I’m in the process of moving. For 2015 words and written shenigans,  visit my old blog AlmostOpenBook.com.