A photographer once told me during a portrait session to look directly into the camera, and think about someone I love.
I try to practice this in every photograph anyone ever takes of me, now. The above Polaroid is a self-portrait that I took yesterday after a long day of seemingly endless frustrations and, by the time C called to check on me, a torrent of anxieties tumbling out of my mouth about how there was just so much to do.
Really, my mini-freakout had nothing to do with the huge to-do list that had accumulated on my notepad and in my Filofax. The truth is that in the last few months, I’ve had to do a lot of things that I’ve never done before; I’ve had to plan for a life that I never envisioned living; I’ve chosen to enter into a realm that is completely new to me.
I have a teaching contract for a workshop at the Makeshift Society, a local co-working space, that I need to sign and get back to the clubhouse sometime today. I told them that I would send it yesterday, and today at the latest, but I haven’t done it. I’m supposed to be teaching a class about brand, purpose, and product description writing. I’ve got years of experience on my side, and yet I’m terrified.
I’m getting ready to teach a class next week about restorative journaling. Some of the people I respect most in the world, no exaggeration, have signed up for it. I’m creating the materials while existing in the terror of disappointment. Every time I write a new lesson, I’m convinced that I’m a fraud, or that I’m doing this wrong. I forget that there is no way to do this wrong, as long as I create the class as though I am its student. Which I am — as anyone who’s ever taught a class will tell you. It was certainly true for me as an undergraduate instructor.
Perhaps most frightening to me is the massive shift that I’m planning, behind the scenes, for my business. In order to do this, I’ll have to court an audience for my site that I’ve never courted before — the audience of entrepreneurs running purpose-driven businesses who need meaningful, passionate copywriting and copy editing. Those plans are being put in place. I am creating a space for this new me and this new service. (& if you know anyone who might be interested, please email me. No commitment involved.)
New spaces are scary, and yet we step into them all of the time because we are brave, and because we are human.
This morning, I sent out my last email about Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times. I’ve read various things that encourage sending upwards of four emails on the final day of a launch, but that didn’t, and doesn’t feel right to me — and so I’m not doing it. I’ll let you know that registration, which was supposed to close today, is actually closing tomorrow. I’d mysteriously claimed that October 11th was a Saturday in several places, and so I’m settling on tomorrow as the day of reckoning. You can sign up for Rawness of Remembering as late as midnight tomorrow, October 12th.
I do want to say this. My class might not be right for you, and you may have already decided this. Perhaps you’re not going through a difficult time. Maybe you’re not interested in journaling at all. But if you’re feeling fear about taking the class, know that I’m feeling fear, too. If you have an inkling of courage, consider the soft gaze that you might be able to give yourself. Hold that soft gaze steady.
Thank you for being here with me as we make our way through life.
With love & respect,