Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
But don’t move the way fear makes you move. - Rumi
We all fear something whether we admit it or not. When we were children, it might have been the dark, monsters, or animals. One of my fears was the escalator. Seriously. I was afraid to get on the escalator because I thought I might fall. I stopped being afraid. I don’t know what clicked for me or when. I made a decision that I wasn’t going to be afraid and went on it without creating drama. I’ve done that many times in my life. Here are 5 times in my life when I overcame my fears:
1. When I went away to college.
When I landed on campus in August of 1992, I was like a dog with my head out the window at the idea of being away from home. The first morning when I woke up in my new bed in the dorms I asked myself: Am I going to make it here? A twinge of discomfort shot right through me as I thought that. The next thought was some form of yes. I don’t remember what the exact words were. I just know this wave of calm came over me. I knew I would make it so I did.
2. When I lived alone for the first time.
I have always lived either with family or roommates. When I bought my first home, the first night I was a little fearful. I sat with it for a minute, and then a feeling of peace flooded me, like my first morning at college. Something in me told me I would always be safe. And I was.
3. When I wrote and published my first book.
Until recently, I dabbled in writing. I would have these bursts of creativity at various times, and I would write something halfway decent. Other times, it wasn’t on my radar. I was too busy trying to build my life in a practical way. Writing was special, a treat for myself when I had down time from doing “productive” things. For many years, I didn’t even share my writing with other people because I was afraid of judgment. Then, the heavens gave me the inexplicable nudge they blessed me with at other times in my life. I made a decision to write my stories and not care if people knew or not. I did have this fear of whether or not people would like what I wrote. Then, I decided how they felt about my stories was none of my business. Being creative and expressing myself became my priority. I decided to write a short story collection. When I finished writing, I researched publishers, chose one, and released Shaherazade’s Daughters.
4. When I took an early retirement from teaching to write full-time.
I loved teaching. Then, when I realized that I loved it, but it no longer fulfilled me, I decided to move on and become a full-time writer. After 17 years of stability and security with an established career, I walked away for the satisfaction that only pursuing a passion can give. At the same time, I accepted the uncertainty that comes with a new venture. It took me a year and a half to take a deep breath and go for it. I told myself: You built a life when you only had 26 dollars in your checking account. You have a little more than that now. You’ll be okay. Like so many times in my life, I relied on my strength. It hasn’t failed me yet.
5. When I worried about failing as a writer because I'm a newbie.
When I started out writing full-time, I didn’t know shit about how to do it professionally. I only knew that I am a strong writer with a brain and a plan, even if that plan evolves. Despite that assertion, that persistent nagging thought that plagues many artists came in my head: Am I good or do I actually suck and am too oblivious to realize it? That thought comes less and less in my head because nothing in me lets me waver from my writing craft. I hone it and perfect it every day, just like when I was a teacher. And I was a damn good teacher. The game-changer for me to get over this looming fear of failure was realizing how many times I have failed in life, and here I am in the best place I’ve ever been. So many times, I wanted something and didn’t get it. How many teaching interviews did I go on and blew it? I still moved on and became successful at it. The failures didn’t destroy me. I only rose from the ashes of them.
What's a fear that you've overcome? Answer in the comments below!
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer