I wrote some time ago that I was scared nearly all the time in this space. (For the record, I don’t count this as a bad thing.)
In a forum that mostly exists as a way to explore my world, both inner and outer, I feel compelled to be as exposed and authentic and vulnerable as I can possibly stand.
Because, on the internet, when no one knows who you really are, the only hope you have for authentic connection is to be brutally, excruciatingly honest.
It was hard, but I didn’t really give it much thought. What’s the point of even showing up if you’re not going to put some skin in the game?
I was going to give this up. Set it aside for a while, I told myself, concentrate on something else. But I’m sure we both know that was just a comforting lie. I was giving it up because I was scared. Afraid people thought I was a loser for spending all my time on a going-nowhere “hobby” while my husband made sure the bills got paid. I told myself I was only going back to work in order to maintain a little equilibrium… maybe I was taking this “transforming lives” thing too seriously. I really needed to get out of the house… I needed routine… It would be just until my practice grew to full time.
It was seductive. Oh my god was it seductive. I could go back to my old industry, almost like I’d never left. There was status there, an easy answer to “What is it you do?”, the certain je ne sais quoi that comes from being a woman in a man’s world.
I just wanted to feel like I’d made it, y’know? Like I was worthy of respect.
I felt my way into it. Shared my plans with a few close friends.
En masse, they rose up and slapped me down.
I’ll never forget the words of one friend, a vociferous skeptic. “You’re right where you need to be. You help so many people.” I scoffed and said, “You don’t even know what I do. I could be poking pins in voodoo dolls for all you know.” He shot back “I do know what you do. You change lives.”
I do believe I may have burst into sobs at that point. Possibly.
I forgot that part. I change lives.
I’ve had clients tell me that. And at least once a week I will get a note in a similar vein about something I said or wrote.
My friend continued earnestly, saying, “A lot of people don’t make any kind of profound difference in the world. Oh, they have their families, and the people who love them, but you don’t seem to realize how rare it is to affect strangers the way you do. To be able to touch a stranger on that level, where they feel so heard and understood, when they hardly even expect that understanding from their children or spouses. That’s an amazing skill, and you don’t seem to realize it. You’re so disarming, so guileless, so fresh. People feel safe around you, because you make them comfortable. You have no expectations for how they should act or who they should be.”
Maybe this was when I started to cry.
Damn, I have smart friends. That’s my “Thing!”
The ephemeral, mythical “Thing”.
Goddamn, you guys. I found my Thing.
They always say it’s something you take for granted.
So I’m not going anywhere. This is my THING, people! I’m not going to let an inconsequential little detail like insecurity stop me from doing my Thing.
pphhhht. Perish the thought.
I’ve got skin in this game. Let’s go win this thing.