Friday, May 14, 2010

Blossoming Past the "What-If's"

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."-Anais Nin

This quote hit me particularly hard this morning. The sky is overcast, with a light haze of clouds that promise to break away once the sun's rays begin to shine completely through. It's also my last full day in L.A. for now and I'm starting to get scared. Anxiety, fear, worry, nervousness. Believe me, it's all there. 3 schools. 3 very competitive graduate level writing programs that I would be honored to be accepted into. A lot of work to do before the application deadlines. And what if I don't get in to any of them, then what? What if I do get in? Then what? Will I, MBA and all, really be able to find a good day job here, currently one of the worst job markets in the country? Do I really want to give up my 2 bedroom house for a studio or very small one bedroom apartment that will cost me slightly more than my mortgage and HOA fees combined? What if I fail? And is it really the best thing to move my ten year old terrier across the country during the last stage of his life?

Typical HSP'ness (if that's a word). We start ruminating about all the possibilities before we've even reached the crossroad. The "what-if's" and the "omg's," the potential bargainings, what we might lose, what we might gain and the "wouldn't it be safer just to stay put and not change anything." So, here I am, making a list of deadlines and things to do; thumbing through the materials I've gathered in the past week and running through the images and words my mind has recorded. I feel the fear rising up from my heart through my throat and I begin to question what I'm doing. That's when I find Nin's quote amongst the materials from one of the programs that I'm going to apply to.

So I begin to cry. A mixture of sad affirmation and determined resolve. Sad because I actually don't want to leave tomorrow for Florida. I wish I had another week here to explore. That's a new feeling that I don't know how to handle. Affirmation because without exploration, new discoveries can't be unveiled or appreciated. Like the boat that took me to Catalina Island on Wednesday, I'm not meant to simply sit, safely tied to a dock. I have to venture over vast, unknown waters with nothing more than a horizon in sight in order to find anything worthwhile. Determined resolve because beneath the anxiety there is still that inner peace of "knowing" this is right; it's what I have to do. The next stage, the next voyage, the next adventure, the next reinvention.

The only compass I have right now is inside my heart and it's still hard to trust. But it tells me to keep writing, to still be strong. It tells me that all I really have is my heart-listen to it.

In a way, we're all like that bud. Tight. Enclosed. Almost completely hidden. Afraid to reveal, afraid to become. That quote is a more eloquent way of stating one of my favorite sayings from author Dave Ramsey-"we only change when the pain of same is greater than the pain of change." The writer's imaginative way, full of metaphors, analogies and soulful images that leaves non-creatives scratching their heads trying to figure out the exact meaning.

This morning it is more than transparent. We all have to become what's inside. The "what-if's" and the bargainings are the risks that we eventually take or don't take. They're purely circumstantial. They exist no matter what we do or don't do.

If we continue to hide the discovery of who we are, then the world loses a piece of the beauty that makes it complete.


  1. That quote is apt for me right now, too. Keep listening to your heart and so will I.

    I'm scared of putting myself out there with my writing. It's taking a lot of will power to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but I'm doing it...if only in fits and starts.

    Thank you for writing this and for being an example of courage.

  2. Thanks, the last time I "put myself out there" (i.e. really submitted) was when I was 17/18. I've always been writing, but for some reason I stopped trying to share it and pursue what I really wanted, until now. Piece by piece!

    I'd encourage you to keep trying!