Yesterday I watched Marie Forleo's recent interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, and whoa, it hit me hard. Not in a bad way, just in a, "damn, yup" way. This summer was a lot about trying to feed my creativity and pursue authenticity in what I make. While Dan was gone for two months I decided to use my alone time to dig in and feed myself creatively in a way that is much harder to do when you're with another person every day. I wanted to dig down to the core of my heart and so I thought back to what I was like as a young girl. What did I love, where did I want to go, what was I drawn to? The answer was always: the wild. I wanted to be running in the woods, getting dirty, smelling like trees, finding new places, reveling in the beauty of nature. I decided to make a pilgrimage and go solo camping one day, so I hopped in the car with my tent, sleeping bag, cameras, and Dusty and headed west. Back in 2009 my mom, brothers, and I had gone on a two week RV trip around the Olympic Peninsula. On our last day before heading back home, my mom decided that she wanted to go to the westernmost point in the contiguous US and so she got up early and drove to Neah Bay before we got up. It seemed like a worthy spot to make my pilgrimage to, so I set my sights on the farthest spot I could go in the contiguous US: Cape Flattery. I wanted to watch the sun slide slowly down the sky into the Pacific Ocean from the edge of the cliff. I wanted to feel the ocean air on my skin.
Something my best friend talked with me about early in the summer was how as women, the feeling of air moving across our bare chest is so foreign. Men take their shirts off all the time, feel air moving across their bodies and chests so freely, but women aren't able to so freely experience this, and it's a powerful sensation to be able to feel the wind on skin that is so often locked down and covered up. When I first got to the point there were four other people there, but after they left I snuck a topless couple minutes, just me and the ocean. It's so odd to me that the feeling of air across my topless body is something that is so incredibly rare compared to men.
One of the couples that was at the point right when I arrived had brought a bottle of pink champagne, but couldn't finish it before hiking back, so they asked if I wanted to polish it off, and I happily obliged. A pink champagne toast seemed like the perfect way to celebrate a small pilgrimage.
Elizabeth Gilbert's message really resonated with me in the interview. She talked a lot about fear and how we let it keep us from going for what we want. And also the lie that if we face the fear and take that leap that everything will turn out wonderfully. Sometimes we take the leap and fall on our faces, but it's about getting back up. She talked about perfectionism being the worst form of fear because it makes us believe that something isn't worth doing or completing unless it's just right. Which is total bullshit. And the fear that we can't do a thing because it's already been done. Everything has already been done. What's important is authenticity. So what if it's already been done, you haven't done it. I don't do so much because I'm afraid my ventures will just be huge flops. I have an idea for a photo retreat I want to create and I'm crippled by fear because I've never done it before, and what if no one signs up, what if people sign up and come and are totally disappointed, what if, what if, what if. Come on. Get in the damn car, drive to the end of the earth, strip your shirt off and tell your fear to eat shit and take the back seat because you've got stuff to do, yo.
Maybe I'll fall on my face. Maybe I'll disappoint people. Maybe it will be a huge flop. But at least I saw a dream through to completion. At least I took a thing that only existed in my brain and brought it to life and made it a real thing, not just an idea. And I can learn from the flop, I can make my next endeavor better because I learned from my mistakes. I can see how I could do it better next time. Us perfectionists expect to come out of the gate doing our best work and that's simply not true. While we're stuck thinking about how our idea could be the best, there are people out there already doing stuff we want to do and maybe they aren't doing it as good as we think we could, but they're doing it. They're doing the thing, and you're just sitting there. Thinking. Dreaming. Wishing. Hoping. Scheming. Ugh, I'm so done with dreaming. I want to graduate from dreaming and move on to doing. Dreaming is for people who sleep, and I'm ready to be awake, moving, shaking, making. stuff. happen.
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