These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following: Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel? Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes? Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are? Now Do. The Thing. You Fear.
I woke up this morning, weighted myself, and burst into tears. People are killing each other in random bursts of hatred in Norway. People in the Horn of Africa are collapsing from the weight of hunger & thirst, famine and drought. And I cried because every week I inch further from being who I want to be and having the body I want to have. I was so close in January - so proud and strong and confident. I could see my goals coming together. And then they started to recede. And I hate that it matters to me. The number on the scale is supposedly just a number on a scale - but every ounce away from my goal weight is also an ounce on the side of failure, of never being enough (or, more accurately, of always being too much). Each and every ounce represents every other failure - and these days the failures so vastly outnumber the successes.
Emerson is wrong - he assumes the voices that we hear in solitude are the ones the spur us on to greater selves. Not me. The voices that I hear in solitude taunt me. They play a seemingly unending scroll of losses. They name ever abandoned idea, every friend who has wandered away, every pound of flesh I've lost and regained since I was 13. And they name that vast unnameable fear that nothing will ever go differently.
Mind you, I have other voices too - ones that encourage me. Ones that get inspired. They're just feeling a little worn out. Ignored, even.
There's a saying I heard once - if the voices in my head were other people, my mom wouldn't let me be friends with them. I think I need that on a t-shirt. Or a tattoo.
I guess I didn't really answer the questions in the prompt. The answer to all those questions is no - no the fear isn't worth abandoning the dream. No it won't matter in 10 years (though - honestly - there are some things I'm scared of that would still matter 10 years from now). And no, I can't be happy being anything less than me - but what if this chubby, floundering mess is really me? Who could be happy being that?
I'm (mostly) an extrovert. I get my best ideas out observing other people. I'm replenished and restored in the company of others. Emerson is wrong. The negative voices are wrong. And I'm heading out into society to prove it.