Friday, February 02, 2018

Do It Anyway

I started this post at the BBW blog, but quickly had to conquer my anxiety to post based on a personal deadline I had set. I am re-launching the #HBCUJustGive campaign and got some new promotional ideas to assist in that effort. The big plunge was recording and then posting a companion video.

I am standing at the water's edge with a toe skimming the foam of the crashing waves. I sometimes venture in to the point where the water reaches my calves, but most of the time I am content to walk along the shore line. But tomorrow I plan to dive in.

(I am not sure flowery writing is my thing...)

I have been planning to do something big, but I have been stymied by the familiar doubts that always seem to erect a barrier between my visions and reality. The same thing happened the other night when I spent half the day stressing about whether to wear my new BBW tee prototype (I wore it). The same thing happened back in November after I ordered a box full of mugs that I was reluctant to advertise. The same thing happened a few years ago when I debuted the initial BBW tee and got dissatisfied with the printing on a few of the shirts. Let's not even address my writing process...

I always get in my own way. Perfection is the enemy of the good.

I even designed a shirt for this specific issue, which says to go for it, to do it anyway, to take the plunge, go the extra mile, put your best foot forward, and whatever other maxims are supposed to be encouraging in moments like this. DO IT (with no infringement on Nike's trademark, I might add).

Because you only live once. Because someone else will do it. Because that other person's effort won't even come close to your vision. Because you will always wonder what if. Because if not you, then who and if not now, then when?

A friend asked me to articulate an objective for what I am doing and to be honest with her and myself, I have no idea. I believe I just want to feel like I am doing something other than just watching life go by. After nearly ten years of being a caregiver, and then more than 15 years of working but never making any real professional progress (or enough money), I know that it is time for me to take the extreme risk of speaking for myself and walking on my own. I have had this dream of being a writer for a long time, probably much longer than I even realized but laboring in obscurity or as a ghost writer isn't enough. For all intents and purposes, I am a writer. I write all of the time. And I am a recognized writer. I am just not acknowledged as such in any formal fashion.

So instead of trying to stumble into recognition by random twists of fate, I am trying to build a brand, which is something that I would not have said back in 2005 when I first formally began to blog. Yet, I hope that I can build a following and create some recognition for my voice. I look around and I see that there are plenty of people in the world who can do what I do for better or for worse. I am not in competition with them though, because I am simply looking for my tribe. Looking for others who can relate to my struggles, my ideas, and who are willing to support my dreams.

As I have been on this journey, I have learned to adjust my expectations, which is why after recording several takes and then encountering computer issues that made it difficult for me get the perfect take, I did something that I am learning to become more comfortable doing. I went in with the best take I had and even if only a few people see it, I posted it. But I plan to try again, so perhaps I have other opportunities to hit my own very high bar.

My final point is that by taking this risk (which is not nearly as great as it felt in the build up), I am investing in myself. That is something I haven't really done in a LONG time. I have often taken small sure steps towards a particular goal, but rarely have I ever just jumped without knowing what would happen next. Even when I had my daughter, I feel like the risks were manageable (because until recently, I thought my greater challenge had been in caring for my Mom). And that is exactly why this was such a big deal--I usually have an eagle eye for the road ahead. I have NO IDEA what will become of this, but for the first time, I am okay with not knowing.

So here I go!