The Flossin Magazine cover was brightly colored with art and titled, The Almighty Dollar. I looked through it casually, flipping the pages slowly until one stopped me. FEAR, in all capitals and bright red–my lifelong frenemy. Fear was always putting its nose where it wasn’t wanted. But this time, fear asked my permission; I had to say yes.
It was an article on fear as a motivator. On the opposite page was a 5 Step Action Plan for understanding what fear was and what it meant. I immediately knew this article needed to be the provocateur for an important conversation at the next meetup of my monthly creative group.* The 5 Step Action Plan prompts were fantastic, and I knew the group would appreciate the opportunity to write out our thoughts on this exploration of our fear. Before I read the first step out loud, I decided we needed one more examination of our inner selves so that we could answer the prompts honestly and fully. I asked Colin and Hannah to write their lives alongside me. I wanted challenges, accomplishments, what made us the people we are today. There were no instructions on style, length, or format. I gave it 10 minutes on the timer. We began.
I requested that we each read our stories aloud, to help give context of what was to come in the prompts. I chose to write mine as if it were a song. I read aloud,
I am not my body. I am not what I see in the mirror. I am a spirit. I am joy. Am sorrow. Curiosity. Anger. Love. Generosity.
I am the girl who hated her body, then tolerated it, then flaunted it, then was ashamed by it. On repeat.
I am a 4-time half marathon runner.
I am a belly dancer who has commanded the stage and shimmied audiences into hypnosis.
I am a Quaker woman who appreciates the simplicity and peace-searchers in life.
I am the woman who has cried over a million tears–they have baptized me.
I have been a doormat and a victim and a fighter and a winner.
I have learned my flaws don‘t define me but they have carved me.
I am a writer who has accomplished many things and still has many words to share with the world.
I am scared and brave–I am what has grown out of the well of the two of them when they have shouted their fear and courage into each other’s faces. I am that soul child.
I dive into the unknown.
I create a community so diverse and beautiful and bizarre and inspiring. No one could write a story like mine and yet I yearn to share it with the world; I am finally understanding the width of my soul-span; I see the depth of my heart-wake. I see the crinkles and the wrinkles of my emotional intelligence. I am me.
In case you’re wondering, the 5 Step Action Plan prompts are as follows:
- Keep it Real: Identify what needs to change
- Feel the Pain: Imagine the pain of not taking action
- Feel the Pleasure: Envision the pleasure of your end game result
- Plan & Commit: Identify the steps needed to make an action plan
- Do It: Stop talking and planning and just do it
*I run a monthly creative group called “Focus: Creative — An uplifting community focused on cultivating your creative strategy.” The participants in this group have passions and creative goals, and they want peers to bounce ideas off of, or a sounding board for an issue that they are pondering. I saw a need for this community, so I built it. A year and a half later, we have a fantastic group of creatives! If you’re interested in joining us, leave your information in the comment form or drop a comment below.