On Spontaneity and Fear
"Magic reveals itself in unstructured movement and communication; to hold back is to forbid the dawning to occur." - Pixie Lighthorse, Prayers of Honoring Voice
I am not spontaneous - impulsive, yes, but that is different. Being spontaneous requires a fearlessness, and unfortunately fear is an emotion I am well acquainted with. Fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of criticism, fear of not being good enough...these are old friends of mine, shaped by years of careless comments said to me throughout my life, often starting with the words 'if only': 'if only you didn't wear glasses', 'if only you didn't smile so much', 'if only you weren't so awkward'.
As a child I took these words to heart and they took root in the very soul of my being. When I was young I considered these comments as truisms but as an adult I realize I only have myself to blame for giving these seeds a place to thrive. Instead of shining a light on them and seeing them for what they were - careless comments made by imperfect people - I allowed them to define me.
"The bad news was that if felt impossible to be in congruity with one's true self, but the good news was that by a certain age, we understood that we had a true self, and they hadn't managed to wreck it entirely yet."
-Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway
We always have a choice, don't we? When I reflect upon Anne Lamott's words I realize that the only mistake I made when I was young was to give others permission - by way of not protesting - to critique me when what I should have done was to tell them all to piss off. Fortunately, I came to this realization once I reached college; I finally understood that I had many choices, the most important of which was that I could speak out when others tried to hurt me, to turn and walk away. I understood that I had a true self and that it was good and kind (although somewhat naive) and it was my job to ensure it was nurtured, it was my job to let it grow and blossom. Thank goodness for maturity.
But the fear is still there, buried deep, and it has taken me a lifetime to excavate it from my being. It took root long ago and it has been hard to weed it out entirely. And so I remain mindful of my tendency to hold back, to recognize it for what it is, my old friend Fear. I take small steps by putting my art out in the world and, more importantly, putting my self out into the world. Engaging with others. Speaking up. Using my voice.
"Help me permit myself to know the joy in chasing amazement without over-cautiousness." - Pixie Lighthorse, Prayers of Honoring Voice
So this I pray: teach me to trust that I have the wings to fly, to allow myself the joy of spontaneity. It's right there, within my reach.