fuck fear

My girlfriend emailed me this video yesterday and had written “Fuck Fear” in the subject line and I was inspired not just by the whole “Lean In” thing but by the sentiment of those two words combined.

I’m tired of being afraid. Of not feeling good enough. And I have to keep reminding myself, “If not now, when?”

Luckily, just looking at myself in the mirror nowadays is a reminder that I am not the girl I used to be, when I see the slight sag in my belly while I’m sitting drying my hair or the deep wrinkle creating a slash down the side of my cheek.

And I will be very disappointed with myself if I don’t at least TRY to live the life I want to live before it’s too late.

So I started this year off by announcing to my therapist early in January (thus going on the record) that I was no longer fucking around and had three goals for my year:

  1. To concentrate on my writing.
  2. To go on an adventure.
  3.  To to be open to love.

And while, as noted previously, I haven’t been super-proactive in the love department, I’ve actually followed through on the other two.

Obviously, at long last I got it together and launched the blog and while I don’t post as often as I’d like to, I’ve been pretty regular with my writing. And now that I’ve conquered that part of the equation, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the official blogger ring and attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago and hobnob with fellow over-sharers in July.

(Sidebar: I knew it was a sign I should attend when BlogHer announced that Sheryl Sandberg would be their keynote speaker.)

And in August, right before I say hello to 47, I will spend a week sailing around the Dodocanese Islands on a small boat surrounded by strangers on what I hope is the adventure I’ve been longing for yet tired of waiting to find someone to share it with.

So, I say, “Fuck you” to fear (or try to, at least) and not only do I encourage my daughters to take risks and believe in themselves, but my boys as well.

My youngest son, who’s 10, learned that this morning when we found ourselves scrambling, once again, to get him out the door to an early saxophone lesson. It’s been the bane of our existence the entire school year, getting him to the weekly lesson and practicing at home a few times a week. It’s all led to him feeling inadequate as the other kids have improved and he continues to struggle with the instrument.

So I looked into his big eyes this morning as we sat parked in front of the school, — and really, you’ve never seen such bright blue eyes — just brimming with tears, and I assured him that he could be just as good as those other kids, he just needed to get serious and practice hard before next week’s concert.

And then I told him what I named this essay  and to dry his tears and get out there and give it his all.

Because life is an equal opportunity challenger, as we are reminded is this quote that I’ve been loving by Teddy Roosevelt delivered over 100 years ago:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

My little guy got out of the car and walked towards the school’s front entrance, weighed down by the instrument case in one hand and a backpack stuffed with about 20 pounds of text books and pretzels, hanging from his back. About 10 steps from the front door he turned around and gave me a little wave and then opened the door and entered the arena.