Fears Grand Finale

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Lately it seems the topic of every discussion has circled around the concept of fear. Fear of failing, fear of loving, fear of taking a chance. Much like everything else in my life it came at the perfect, and most frustrating, time.

We all fear. I fear my bank account every morning, and each flight I take as it enters cloud coverage. I fear my nephew being made fun of for a mental disability he didn’t chose, and fear what I will say to the first kid who makes him cry. I fear these things because I am human, as we all are.

Waiting to board my flight I watched Jim Carey’s 2014 commencement speech. I have  an unhealthy obsessed with graduation talks. Hearing his words reminded me just why I’ve spent many nights awake until the wee hours listening to J.K Rowling and Ellen Degeneres speak to universities I never attended.

He spoke of how his father could have been a great comedian, but instead he chose the safety net. He took a desk job, and when Carey was 12 his father lost that safe job and the family struggled to make ends meet.

There is struggle in every path, I get that. But the more I watch college graduates wide scale dreams turn into 40-hour-a-week gigs I can’t help but think something has to be done.

I am in no means someone who has broken this mold. I fear on a daily basis, and the only reason I don’t have a conventional job is because no one would hire me. But thank faith they didn’t. Thank faith that I work from home, or an airplane, and have time to write these thoughts down.

The truth is I talk a lot and never truly say what I feel. In grade school I wrote a novel and let two of my friends read it. Every Aquatic Science class I would bring them another chapter filled with a love story I could only wish would come true staring the boy I sat next to. Ever class they left asking for the next bundle of pages. From that point on I knew what my soul wanted. I knew my goal was to write. The only problem was I feared no one would want to read.

In the faith of breaking fear I’m here to say it: I want to write. I want to share my experience with others. And I want to speak. Speak to college students about breaking their own fears and living a life of love. Love for those around them, love for what they do, and love for their own being. To show them that losing a job offer only means they were not at the right place, and that their path is better than the things that don’t stick in their lives. That if you ask your dreams will come, maybe not in the manner you hope, but in the order in which you are meant to have them.

I want to live a life of love and not fear. I want to be 23 and embrace the fact that I don’t know everything, but I know enough to make a change. So here I am universe, all 5 foot 2 of me. I am crazy and irrelevant, but I believe in having the world at my fingertips and am ready to change it for the good.

The Battle of a Break

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Yesterday I took a spontaneous trip to the lake for Memorial Day weekend. By weekend I mean over night, and by spontaneous I mean that I called my mom and asked her if it was a good idea.

Ever since starting my business, leaving town for even the most minute amount of time to engage in a leisurely activity sounds outrageous. The mere thought of tucking away my work Monday through Friday would result in a definite end to this career. Like taking one moment to focus on something other than the task at hand would surely cause the Janga logs to crumble.

Sitting on the deck with my phone tucked away and wifi turned off relief rolled over me. Not because I didn’t fear missing something important, or that those few last assignments from the weekend were done. This feeling overtook because, for the first time in a long time it felt okay.

It felt okay to take a break from the work I love so much, and remember the other things I love too. And not only was it okay, but it felt so good. To talk with old friends, and laugh about things we did years ago. To remember what the water smelled like, and how the wind felt on my face. People always say “It’s the little things,” and for my that has never really been true. For me it is the big things. The “What can I do next?” things.

I would never say that my job does anything but bring my up, and bring my soul to life. But, we are a society of all or nothing, and at some point we have to find the balance between the two. We can’t run ourselves in the ground trying to be something, and we can’t let ourselves go because we fear becoming something either.

Life is a place of hope and fear. We make a choice everyday to show up or sit down. We just have to learn that some times sitting down is okay.

Slaves To Failure

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This is a story I have shared before. But it is one that shaped where I am today, and hopefully one that can help someone else in this crazy world we call adulthood:

 

I sat in on a life coaching class a few months back. As we wrote down words on the board to solidify our feelings I was asked if I was resonating with these words. If like the mothers and wives, I fit in.

“Yes, I am a slave to failure.”

At a young age we are told to do great things, be great things, live great things. In contrast we are warned that great things come with time, realistic thought, and hard work. To achieve greatness we must first fail.

“No good things come to those who didn’t struggle.”

My life is wrapped in failure. The fear of failing. The fear of ruining what I have made. The fear of turning away from a dream too quickly because I haven’t failed enough. Failed enough? Is that a joke? The truth is, we fight failure everyday because we let ourselves. I know because I’ve been there, because I let failure take my place:

As an eager beaver intern for a local news station in my college town I pulled on my most appropriate “camera ready” outfit and trotted off to destiny. My life was always meant to serve a purpose, that I was sure. What better way to do it than by the eyes of millions. Or what would one day be millions, when I took over as head anchor on a national channel. Or got my own talk show. Whichever came first.

I remember racing home with fingers crossed hoping the Red Socks would win the baseball world series. If they won, my package was going to air. A mere intern getting a spot on the 9 o’clock news. And there I sat, watching my frightened face peer out of the screen as I became a reporter! I remember thinking, there can be no feeling in the world better than this of starting my dream.

Failure isn’t always bad. But bad always feels like failure.

Though, as the months went on it wasn’t all sunshine and Red Socks wins. I became the failure. I was writing stories left and right, stacking shows all by myself, cutting video and finding video, filming video on cameras I was not legally allowed to hold. And with all this hard work, I was always wrong. Always being yelled at for bad stories and blurry footage, yet always being asked to come in when someone was sick. Working 60 hour weeks but being told I wasn’t good enough to be an actual reporter. My name became Bailey, a girl they hired to a position I was promised. Yes, this is correct. My boss not once questioned why he was now calling the girl who worked there for a year and a half a name that was not hers. Or why there were two Bailey’s on staff, wearing different outfits, at the same time… I was living failure.

And one day, as I sat at the desk I claimed when no one was looking, we heard the screams from his office.

“WHOOOO WROTE THIS STORY?!?!”

Of course it was me. And of course I spelled something wrong. I got that screeching note at least once a week.

In one swift motion he shuffled out of his room on tottering legs, snagged a big red dictionary, the kind your mom uses to decorate but no one ever opens, and slammed it on my desk with a pudgy finger release.

“LOOK. IT. UP.”

What? No words could be said. No thoughts were being processed. With trembling lips I flipped page after page, my long fought battle with dyslexia creeping up on me. Rushing back came the memories of elementary school when I feared pop corn reading and buddy time because I could not make out the words on child book pages. All the years of bad grades due to mixed up letters and triple spell check swarming in around me. Chocking me. Holding me down to this now very small office.

It felt like hours. It felt like days. As the word I no longer remember, finally uncovered itself.

“Spell it.”

A quick glimpse in his direction showed that everyone in the entire office was now focused on me. Focused on the mess of tears and shaking body as I read. Letter by letter. The word that masked my failure. And then, he was gone. Gone into his office where the problem would most likely never cross his mind again. And I was left to decide, do I fight failure? Or do I let it fight me one more time?

My story, like many others is how it so often goes. We hold onto failure because we think great things will come of it. I wish I could say that story ended with an epic speech where I packed my things and left, but it did not. I turned in my two weeks the next day, only for my boss to ask if I had FINALLY found a job…

But I can say it taught me. That experience is why I am here today. Why I want to show people they can chase their dreams, and defeat failure. We have got to learn to stand up for ourselves, even in a world where unpaid internships and being immersed in our work is the norm. I hold great esteem for those who know their dreams and chase them.

Fight for your dreams and love what you do. But don’t let people steal your life, or make you feel like misery. Don’t ever be a slave to failure.