So, I turned thirty this year.
For some reason it seems to be when we hit these milestone birthdays that we go through a period of reflection.
Am I doing what I want to do?
Is this where I thought I would be when I hit this age?
Am I grown up yet? And if so, why do I still not believe in myself?
I feel as though I am always waiting, a little frightened to really put myself out in the world. So I stay hidden in the shadows where the dull light feels safe and the hushed tones of the world don’t leave me scattered and torn wide open.
Hidden in this safe bubble where the world is unable to truly see the wheels of my mind turning or the chambers of my heart beating, I create the world that I have always dreamed of.
In this world, I write, I create, I construct out of fallen feathers, salty broken shells and sun-kissed leaves, a world that I wish I could share beyond the realms of my sweet hideaway nest. Deep down I know I am capable, because we all have something to share. Deep down I know others too would see their reflection in the mirrors I hold through words and images, but I fear what they will see, or the box of Pandora I may nudge open…
It is far easier to pretend that our days are offered to us each dawn just to flitter away. Given to us on a whim to become lost in story worlds, in the pages of books whose careful words carry us away to places we feel at home.
To live vicariously through Twitter posts by people we call friends and to communicate with family through the occasional Facebook post. We live through Instagram pictures that become the way in which we travel, that save the packing of suitcases, the need for a well worn map, the hassle of deciding which continent to roam.
We forget how to live.
We dismiss what we are here to do and share.
We tell ourselves the excuse that eases our burning desire to act—one day. One day will come when I feel ready. And today couldn’t really be that day, could it?
Then you wake up on another of these sullen dawns and you’re thirty, and those excuses of ‘no one will listen to me,’ ‘I don’t have any credibility to tell my story,’ ‘how can what I have been through really help others,’ don’t hold quite as much sway.
Time is a funny thing. As a child we feel as though there is too much of it, and we wander around bored trying to find ways to fill the gaps. As we grow, as we realize the fleeting nature of life, we try to hold onto each precious moment, to slow down the ticking seconds that make weeks feel like days and months feel like passing train carriages as we slumber.
When these moments of clarity and insight come to me, the mundane aspects of life stare me glaringly in the face and the time spent on anything other than what I deem to be my purpose, suddenly fall to the wayside. All that is left to battle is my own self-doubt—“Am I ready? Am I good enough? Am I capable?”
I remember the first time I stood in front of a yoga class, I recall the first words that came out of my mouth that I had spent hours training carefully so they would not shake as they floated from my lips into the room. I remember being acutely aware of the fact that I was younger than most of my students, that I was in a health retreat that people paid a years worth of wages to come to for a fortnight, that suddenly, 90 minutes felt like the 90 minutes of a child—as endless and bottomless as a gaping chasm.
Instead of riding the wave over and over, trusting that soon it would feel like second nature, I thrashed my way back to the shore, I re-joined the class, demoted myself to a student and hid at the back of the room, waiting for that one day to come when I would jump on the wave again.
I have journals full of written words, documents overflowing with lists of ideas, a mind full of what I wish to share and a heart close to bursting with all that it holds. And what am I waiting for?
To feel like I hold a splinter of credibility.
My experience reads well and my written words come across with accurate wisdom and sometimes even with poetic grace, but I still feel like I did in my first yoga class as a teacher, like a child playing grown up, like a clown masquerading as a professor.
Today I discovered a way to move beyond this fear.
I quieted the need for this to be about anyone else. I let go of the idea of needing to fix people, change people, heal people. I understood that while I can control what I give, I cannot control nor dictate how it is received. I can only take responsibility for myself.
If I share what my soul and spirit deems as my mission, if I live in authenticity with myself, then whether this reaches others or speaks to others doesn’t really matter at all. If I simply give all I can with everything I do, that is all that needs to be done.
So, for this thirty year old who has been held back, shackled by fear and self doubt in yesteryears, the time has come to step out from those safe shadows. Or perhaps it is ok to stay there, but to allow others to glimpse the doorway and join me there if they feel to, for to me, it’s not a place of darkness at all.
Not everyone needs limelight to be seen and heard, and sometimes diving under the waves is just as graceful and courageous as riding them grandly all the way back to shore.
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