I haven’t been super vocal about this, but, in case you haven’t heard, I’m taking over running #CreateLounge, the Twitter chat and online community, founded by the amazing Kayla Hollatz. It’s a decision that we’ve both been working through for a while, and yet I still find myself surprised now that it’s “out there.”
Change and I have never been friends. It seems like just when I’ve got a handle on things, it has to go and shift them around. And yet, more and more these past few weeks, months, and years, I’ve found myself stepping into change willingly, whereas before it was more dragged-by-the-scruff-kicking-and-screaming.
Whether it’s moving, or trying freelance work, or creative collaborations, or moving again, and then there’s this, which promises to be one of the biggest, most life-changing endeavors I’ve ever taken on. I’ve embraced change so much, and some amazing changes too, that it’s hard to believe I still resent it.
I think that’s because I’m still afraid of it.
Change is scary. Change is possibility, but that’s possibility for good or bad, and that is frightening. And as much as I wish I was the kind of person who wasn’t afraid of it, who took it all in stride, I’m not, and I’m starting to wonder if I ever really will be.
Maybe it’s my upbringing or my personality, but I think change is always going to hold a certain kind of fear for me. I think, no matter what kind of change it is, there’s always going to be a moment, when I’m first faced with it, that catches my breath.
Because I’m not ready for it.
I’ve written before that, in every NaNoWriMo I’ve done, there’s always this moment at the very beginning where I’m gripped by the fear that I won’t finish, that this will be the year I don’t make it. I’ve learned over the years that this fear is just a part of the process. It doesn’t matter the story or how much I’ve prepared, I’ll always have that fear when I first start. More to the point, that fear has yet to be accurate.
You might think it would be easy to take that lesson and apply it to my life, but, sadly, no. Life, as we know, is far less structured. There’s rarely a solid end date to look forward to, and, even when there is a time when we can finally say “finished”, it’s followed almost immediately by the next challenge.
And yet the fear is the same. I’m learning that. It’s different, because, unlike November 1st, change is rarely something I see coming. With NaNo, I at least have the opportunity to prepare, even if I’m not always in the position to take full advantage of it. But it’s the same kind of fear.
That’s how I know it wouldn’t really matter if I could see it coming. Because the fear is always there. Whether I’m prepared or not. Whether I’ve outlined the next steps or not. Whether I know what my answer will be or not. There is always the fear. No matter if the change is exciting or terrifying, step one is always fear.
We will always be unprepared for the next step. Always. In some way. Either we’ll actually be unprepared, or we will just think we’re unprepared. But that “I can’t possibly do this” fear isn’t going anywhere. Which makes me think it’s there as the gatekeeper for all the biggest endeavors in our lives. We have to get past it in order to do what we are meant to do. If we can’t, we’ll never go anywhere. But if we can, if we can get over that first hurdle, then we will be that much closer to where and who we want to be.
We have to tell the fear, “No, you’re wrong”, sidestep it, and politely continue on our way, or, if all else fails, kick it in the shins and run like hell.
I don’t think we have to like it. I certainly don’t. Change will probably continue to make me uneasy, at least for the foreseeable future. But I’m learning how to make peace with it, how to make peace with the fear.
Because it certainly isn’t going anywhere. But I am.