Do something that scares you every day: part 1

Last year at Sasquatch Music Festival I met a young badass there all by herself and generally sober. Attending Sasquatch alone fulfilled that week’s quota of “doing something that scares her” once a week.

Sasquatch 2017 countdown: T-68 days and counting! 

I’m such a scaredy cat I figure once a day is a reasonable goal for me.

By nature of the game, some days’ triumphs will be hyper-personal. I haven’t quite decided whether I’ll post those here… because I’m terrified of over-sharing. Isn’t it ironic?Cue Alanis. (FYI, I am now legitimately listening to Jagged Little Pill cover to cover… which brings me straight to Katie Murphy’s 1995 bedroom – repeat repeat repeat until we’d mastered the lyrics – and may or may not deeply affect the rest of this post. Also, I forgot how many bangers were on this album. And we’re finding out here that writing to music (at least that w/ lyrics) is not productive for me… which is something I’ve been wondering about so this is still time well spent in the lab.)

Anyway, time will tell how I’ll handle the horrifyingly honest daily wins. Maybe I’ll bullshit you and tell you the third scariest thing I did that day. Maybe I’ll just skip it and you’ll know I did something super scary that I’m too super scared to tell you about.

I’m hoping these don’t get repetitive for two reasons. 1. you don’t want to read about how I drove the same scary road day after day, and 2. the hope is that naming and facing these fears takes their power away (à la Voldemort). If it turns into a repetitive junk show, you’re excused and can go play; I will use it as information. Like the late great Dave Oliver said, “Pain is not good. Pain is not bad. Pain is information that something needs to change.” We can have fear of pain but fear is not pain. Acknowledging the difference between the two is key. A similarity is that both present valuable information.

When I was feeling particularly stuck and terrified, in one of those “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck can I take it back? the old life wasn’t really so bad was it??” (it was.), I stumbled on The War of Art. One of those invigorating, devour in a day, change your world view books. Please read if you’re in a rut, or want to create, teach, or change the world in some way that you’re too scared to start; or maybe you’ve started but can’t seem to get out of your own way to make any progress. In this brilliant work, Steven Pressfield asks us,

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. 
Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

The judgier half (okay, two-thirds) of me is all, “basically half of your blog is about what a coward you are” but I know I’m not a coward (see: life choices to date). I think we’re all scared. I think we’re all so scared and the more we can talk about it, the easier we’ll breathe, the better decisions we’ll make, and the happier world we’ll live in.

Driving to teach last night, terrified I’d be late, obsessively running through that night’s planned sequence, I turned on the radio to drown my fear and serendipitously caught a chunk of Pete Holmes’ interview w/ TerrBear. He recounted the following exchange with TJ Miller that helped to set me straight/get off my ass and actually post this. (well, ok, if we’re being literal, it helped me to get on my ass/computer). In one of Holmes’ darker, doubtier times, TJ told him of comedians,

“You’re like a traveling priest … except you’re better than a priest because you’re not lying. You’re giving people an opportunity to laugh at their fears.” …And to experience solidarity … where you’re talking about how weak you are and how scared you are and how vulnerable we all are — that’s a very therapeutic thing for an audience.”

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s incomplete list of the scaries! Starting arbitrarily on March 17th and running for as long as I keep it up!

Fair warning: I created a “50 days of doing something ‘awesome'” challenge for my self before moving from Boston to Scottsdale and at least a week’s worth of “awesome” was frozen yogurt related… they can’t all be diamonds. (For the record, Berry Line frozen yogurt in Harvard Square is superlative. I have no regrets.)

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