Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Truth and the M word....

Ever have one of those moments that gives you great pause, stops you dead in your tracks and turns your world upside down??  Well a couple of days ago, I had one…and it goes a little something like this; “well Heather, it’s unusual for a woman your age, but you have officially entered the world of menopause.”  Uh….I’m sorry, could you say that again, because I’m only 43 and surely you must be talking about somebody else…    Nope, it was me.  I don’t know why I was so surprised to hear it out loud because up to that moment, the tell tale signs were there and I had a funny feeling that’s what was happening, but there it was, hanging out there like this big black cloud; the M word.
I want you to know that I am not sad about the monthly madness finally coming to an end, I have no issue being free of that particular aspect of my life, no that’s not it at all.  What struck me like a truckload of bricks was the sudden appearance of this ENORMOUS hour glass in my head, and the sand now moving through it way too fast for comfort.  This natural rite of passage that every other woman on the planet will eventually go through suddenly made me think about TIME and how much of my life I have spent wasting it because of nothing more than fear.   Frankly, I think it has scared the crap out of me because there are all these things I have wanted to do, ONE BIG goal I have had for myself and all this time I have done everything in my power NOT to commit to doing it for no other reason than fear.  Yet in the blink of an eye being so afraid of something instantly didn’t bother me, what really got under my skin was the sudden realization that time is moving at the speed of light and instead of pursuing MY dream, I’ve just been sitting here coming up with self-imposed excuses and putting it off for another day.

If you and I have spent any time together then you know that the one thing in the world that truly means the most to me, the one big open-ended dream I have is finishing the book I have been writing. For as far back as I can remember the label I have been dying to wear like a bright shiny badge is WRITER.   It is my heart, my passion, and what makes me happier than anything money could ever buy….the idea of being a published author! 
 I started my book  about 11 years ago, I write a few chapters, add a few illustrations and then stop because the terror that rises up in my stomach when I think about sharing it is more than I can take.  I have a pile of pages accumulated that as you can see from the photos  is literally about a foot high and even more that take up residence in my computer just waiting to be printed.  I launched a website and Facebook page as a means to share the book ( created products to support the BIG launch of the book, paid big bucks to trademark the slogan, and then I did what I always do, I walked away and stopped writing.
 Each month for as long as I can remember, my husband and I have the same conversation….”it’s time to finish the book Heather.”  “ I know Gary, I’m getting there.”  Year after year he looks at me with this combination of sadness and frustration because we both know what it means to me and yet, I just can’t move past the fear enough to get it done. 
 Then the Menopause bomb got dropped in my lap and all of a sudden I’m mad as hell at myself because it feels ridiculous to think that I have wasted ALL these years worrying about finishing something so important to me because I have been afraid.   I have gnashed my teeth, shredded full chapters, started and stopped more projects than I can even share with you all in the name of fear.  I have lost sleep thinking that if heaven forbid I share this enormously personal thing with you and you don’t like it, I will spontaneously combust and the world will come to an end.  I have beat myself up for not finishing it, been wildly depressed, unabashedly frustrated and in the end it all amounts to the same thing, precious time being wasted because of an anticipated negative outcome that may or may not even exist.

Maybe you won’t get the M word dumped in your lap, or maybe you will and it won’t matter, but for me, well,  this news  has turned everything upside down and all of a sudden I know that it’s time to take action.  I know with complete clarity that in the grand scheme of things the FEAR has been running my life and I need to CHOOSE to be done with it… Make no mistake, this new-found clear vision doesn’t mean that the terror has miraculously vanished, but I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to take the little steps necessary in order to set it free, and perhaps THIS TIME I’m ready to show it the door and ask it to please move on to greener pastures. 
Beyond the book and this whole menopause experience, what prompts me to share all of this with you is the certain knowing that I am not alone in this fear “thing” and I don’t want you to wake up one day feeling the way I feel this week.  I’m not telling you all about this big life-changing awakening so that you’ll encourage me to keep writing or finish my book, I’m sharing this because I am hoping beyond hope that by shining a BIG spot light on my own insanity, maybe it will give you a little perspective too.  Maybe you’ll ask yourself a version of the questions I have been asking since this Menopause thing slapped me in the face; “if you face your fear Heather, really confront it head on and get this darned book out there, what is the worst that can happen and more importantly, are you willing to sacrifice your happiness just so you don’t have to find out?”

That’s the thing about BIG PERSONAL dreams my lovely friends, if they don’t scare you, then they probably aren’t big enough.  If they don’t make you a little uncomfortable, apprehensive and a bit of a basket case, then they might not matter as much as they should. But at the end of the day, what matters more than the fear is that you find a way to shut down the nay-saying voices and get to a place where living the dream matters more than what some “MAYBE” outcome might be.  Frankly, I am tired of giving fear more power than it deserves.  I’m tired of filling my days up with meaningless OTHER projects in order not to have to finish the one thing that fuels me more than anything; my book.  Maybe this whole menopause thing needed to happen at this time in my life in order for me to gain a little perspective and get out of my own way….and maybe by sharing this tiny bit of insight it will make you think about not being so afraid of YOUR dreams too.   I’m not suggesting that overnight I am a completely different person and will be locked in my house for the next month in order to get the book done, but holy cow, I sure am done whining about why I DON’T do it.
 In the end, the simple and profound truth is that we come to this planet with a limited number of days and so we have a choice; will we live from a place of fear and spend our precious time talking ourselves out of the one thing that makes us happy, or will we step to the edge of the ledge and finally make the decision to jump? 
Today I REALLY hope you’ll join me and decide to jump!

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