That’s a quote I heard from Amanda Palmer. When I’m in pain or I feel lost or overwhelmed I just want to hide. Sometimes I know I should look at the bright side. But it’s hard to see that while I’m laying on the ground scribbling “I am not a failure” in a messier and messier font hoping it will start to feel true.
I am worried about your demons too. They’ve been lifting weights for a long time and this is not going to get easier. I understand that you feel overwhelmed in the moment. I understand that you want to hide and numb yourself. I understand that you want to do literally anything except confront what you’re feeling. I’ve been there. We’ve both been there for a long time, waiting for life to not be so painful and wondering why other people know what they’re doing and we missed the memo. The metallic clinking in the basement is getting louder and louder, but we’re still curled up in a ball hiding. This has to stop.
Clink, clink, clink.
For me a lot of this revolved around being alone. I am one of those people that doesn’t really know how to have fun by themselves. Left to my own devices I alternate between overworking myself and procrastinating/feeling bad about not working. If you’re similar then you know how even a bad relationship can be a welcome painkiller. It means you’re not alone with your thoughts. It means at least one person likes you, even if you don’t. It means you’re not painfully comparing your life to how you thought it would go.
But the metal was always clinking in the basement. I often knew I was hiding from being alone, I was terrified of it. In my case I knew I needed to learn to be alone, then I could pursue relationships for the right reasons. When we hide from demons we usually know what the right thing is to do – but it’s also the most terrifying.
I need you to understand it’s okay. You don’t have to feel ready to do the right thing – you just have to do it.
Clink, clink, clink.
The secret is that you’re never going to feel ready. You’re never going to know exactly how it will play out. But if it’s going to hurt no matter what and it needs to happen no matter what, then it doesn’t make sense to put it off. It’s like having a giant, nasty, buzzing beehive hanging right above your pillow. You know it’s there, it’s always loud and you’re always scared you’ll get stung. But you’re scared of trying to remove it….so you just live with it. The loud buzzing fills every moment with anxiety and fear. Remove. The. Damn. Beehive.
You’re never going to feel ready. It’s never going to be easy. It is okay to do something before you feel ready. And if you’re justifying procrastination because “I don’t know exactly how this will go” or “I don’t know exactly what to do” then you are making your life way harder than it needs to be. The good news is that you can start small. I’m not asking you to fix everything in one day. But since fear is the only thing holding you back, taking small steps will show you it can be done.
I know you’re going to say this is just a Nike commercial and you can’t “Just do it.” Pump the breaks. Honestly ask yourself the reasons you haven’t done what you need to do. Honestly ask yourself what’s the worst case scenario if you just tried and it went south. It would hurt, but would your life be over? And I guarantee you that you would learn from the experience (either what worked/didn’t work or what to do differently next time). What I’m saying is that most important goals can’t be done perfectly the first try anyway – but they still need to be done. It’s okay to do it before you feel ready because that’s the only way to get closer to feeling ready. You’re not imperfect for feeling fear. You’re wise if you can try a few scary things to learn the right way to handle this. You’re wasting time if you let fear keep you from the only path forward.
I realized that this is like a chart with two lines. The first one has a bump in the beginning but then flatlines. That’s how scary something is, or how much work is required. Starting is the hardest part, but it gets way easier if you can just try. The second line starts at zero but is a straight line growing steadily. That’s how much the decision improves your life. It might take a day or a week or a month to get past the hump, but your life will only get better. And the sooner you pull the trigger, the sooner your life starts getting better everyday.
Let’s pull the trigger. Let’s stop hiding and listening to the demons lift weights. The best time to deal with them is now and we’re as ready now as we’ll ever be. It’s okay to be scared. You know what you need to do, and we both know you’ll feel better when you stop putting this off. Are you ready?
Clink, clink, clink.
Further Reading: If this post resonated with you you might enjoy The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book has changed more lives than almost any I know of, and if there’s big changes you’ve been needing to make in your life then this book will give you a hell of a push. Whatever your demons are please know there’s other people fighting something very similar. You’re not alone. I know we’ll both feel better if we can take one tiny step today – we can do this.