Okay, so I don’t just live this carefree life and support other women while they try to have freedom and happiness like I do. I know that’s what it looks like sometimes, so I’m here to set you straight. I’m uncomfortable much of the time.
Since being settled back in Austin and really focusing on my transition and creating the country escape environment at the ranch near Brady that I want, by paring WAY down, I finally feel like I can create the energetic life I enjoy. I’ve been in a season of transition for long enough. Austin, old friend, I'm back.
So, I have started riding my mountain bike again and bought a road bike. I’ve been joining different groups and meeting a lot of people with an interest in cycling regularly for fun and fitness, like me. I’m not interested in racing like I used to but I am enjoying healthy people and the infectious enthusiasm from a shared passion. It’s been an easy re-entry. An effortless community. I’m having fun and enjoying my extroverted energy.
I went to my first salsa dance in many years. I used to love to dance to Latin music. I love the culture and the exotic people and immersed myself while I was learning Spanish in college! I kind of forgot how to salsa dance. I was a little embarrassed when I was asked to dance and fumbled a bit. My handsome Latin partner was very nice but I kinda felt like going home after. You know that voice? The negative self talk? I have that. It was telling me I wasn’t young and attractive anymore and that no one wanted to dance with me. If I didn’t know how to dance to meet other people’s expectations, I should just go home. I recognized that bitch and let her know that I wasn’t going to be talked to like that, but I still had that heavy feeling in my gut. Uncomfortable. Not willing to be imperfect.
More movement also came in the form of booking travel that is a dream trip on my bucket list. My destination is not popular with Americans. Its native language is Spanish and I’m going alone.
As soon as I purchased the ticket I started having anxiety and insomnia. It’s pretty normal for me or anyone else for that matter to feel a little nervous when we book travel. And especially when we’re going alone to a place we’ve never been and don’t know anyone.
Yah, so what did I do? I tried to “think” my way out of it of course. How do I stop the anxiety? With that as my goal I started madly meditating, extending my usual time from 20 minutes to, maybe 90 minutes. I wrote madly in my journal, trying to unload the fear. I was reading my favorite authors, especially Elizabeth Gilbert who is herself a solo female traveler. I talked to friends, trying to vent and thereby release the charge the trip had for me. I still wasn’t sleeping and I was still anxious about some unknown thing.
After a full-on week of angst, I went to my old friend the Serenity Prayer. Was I going to cancel my trip and not go? No. So “the courage to change the things I can” didn’t play here. I was going. I was excited about going. I just didn’t want to feel anxious. But I was. I hadn’t been able to change that, so I just decided to accept it. My intuition tells me that there is a possibility that a long layover I have could be problematic. I don’t know what it is, but something could get bogged down there. And yes, I’m a little anxious about that. That something is going to go wrong with the logistics. Something I can’t control. For me, the worst-case scenario I can live with is that I will not make my flight but have to stay in the country where my layover is. And guess what? I know I can navigate that. It won’t be my dream destination but it’s a cool place and I know I will figure out how to make it amazing. Yes, I’m still nervous, but since I’ve accepted that I’m nervous and that maybe my nervousness could be rooted in a possible hiccup in my plans, I’m sleeping a lot better knowing I'll be able to handle it.
Feelings aren’t meant to be pushed aside or swallowed or meditated away. They are meant to be honored for what they have to offer. I ended up listening to that voice with respect and accepted that I may just have a bit of anxiety until I get through the travel transition I know I have to make. But I have confidence that I can do it. I don’t trust all travel, all people, all circumstances, but I do trust myself. I’m tenacious and intelligent and brave. I think well on my feet. Brene Brown says, “The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” Because I’ve been willing to be uncomfortable before, I can do this now. And the next time I will be will just a little braver.
So, this week I am going back to salsa dancing. I’m taking a lesson before the band starts so that I feel more confident on the dance floor. I’m practicing the willingness to show up. It’s taken me to some really cool places.
If it looks effortless, that’s not really what’s going on. It’s not comfortable for me but I’m willing to be uncomfortable because my dreams are BIG and I want to show up for them. I encourage you to do the same.
I’m in the business of taking women from fear and feelings of unworthiness to a place of courage and excitement about their big dreams. I’d better practice what I preach!