I’ve internationally done some scary things this year. The hope was to feel more alive and shake things up. It worked.
Some activities helped me build new healthy relationships. Some adventures taught me about myself. Some pursuits were just for the sake of fun. My conclusion: going through scary and uncomfortable experiences can lead to growth.
Here are a few notes about the list below:
- I’ve added the negative thoughts I had before each scary event/venture. I’m a real person. You’re a real person. We all have insecurities and irrational thoughts. It’s important to look at them and not just tuck them away forever. It’s also important to stop acting like we’re never afraid. You know you get scared.
- I recognize that I have the funds to do all these things.
- I have the time to do these things. Better yet, I made time.
- I didn’t just sign up for many of the items. It took forethought, planning, calendar skimming, getting ready to sign up, backing out, and then going ahead and pushing through fear.
Aight, here it is.
The Fear List: Jan 2017-May 2017
- Took two hip-hop dance classes. –*Negative/fear-filled thoughts are written in italics* What if I’m bad at this? I mean, I’m Black…I have to be good at this! Also, I hate learning choreography. I’m going to forget all the moves and make a total fool of myself.
- Took three improv workshops. — I’m never going to get this money back. What if it’s totally awkward?
- Went to a national convention and presented a few times. I challenged myself to let people introduce themselves to me. Furthermore, I challenged myself to not reach out nor try to make connections. It took some time, but everything worked out. I am still in touch with a several of the people I met! — This will never work. No one is going to talk to me, except for the people I’ve met on Twitter – never mind, they might ignore me too. And those conversations won’t have any depth to them. No one’s going to be that interested in me. There’s a reason I say hello to people first – it’s so I’m not ignored. Ugh. I’m going to be invisible.
- Found a local Black male therapist. We had one session last week, and we hit it off. I felt accepted, welcomed, understood, taken seriously, and heard. I was able to connect in a way I haven’t been with therapist that identify as white women. Those counselors have helped me immensely since I was in undergrad, but it’s time to work on some other aspects of my identity and story.– A Black male will never accept me for who I am. I’m going to be so awkward and silent. And when I speak, I’ll say things that make no sense. You know what, I don’t even need counseling. I have plenty of self-help books at home.
- Started asking people if they had any prayer request via social media. This one is scary because I’ve often been afraid scaring people away with my Christianity and spirituality. There have been people I’ve wanted to reach who have told me these aspects of myself turn them away. Well, I’m done hiding. I believe in the Holy Trinity. I talk to God all the time. I’m happy to be humble enough to take on someone else’s burden and pray for them. I believe prayer works. I’m here to love as best I can. — Gah! I’m gonna scare everyone away.
- Told my nutritionist that I’ve fallen off my plan and need help. I lost 30 lbs last year and did this by adding healthier options into my day, working out, being mindful, and talking about it all. I’ve been stressed and busy AF this year. It’s been hard to stick with my routines. I’ve had to switch it up, and it’s been difficult. On top of it all, I’ve tried to find clever ways of hiding this all from my nutritionist. If she doesn’t know, I’m all good, right? Wrong. I’ll still be gaining the weight and feeling bad physically. So, I told her everything, and I’m slowly getting better. Let’s just say, the chips, the late night binge eating, the burgers, fries, and milkshakes have been calling and I’ve been answering way too much. — If I tell anyone the truth, they’ll think I’m a sham and a fraud. They’ll say “He’ll always be a fat kid.” It’ll hurt.
- Owned up to my mistakes and failures at work, in relationships, and in life. This has been the biggest area of growth.There’s been nothing scarier than asking “What do I need to improve on?” People have had no problem telling me. — I’ll say I’m sorry, and people will come down on me. I’ll be seen as the imposter I really am. There’s no room for mistakes or failure. There is only room for success. I need to be perfect.I need to be perfect. I need to be perfect. I’m not perfect. This is hard to admit. Ugh.
It’s empowering to read over this list. Make your own Fear List and find out what I mean. I feel like I’m stronger and braver than I’ve been giving myself credit for. This list shows me that I’ve been doing a lot (too much at times). It reminds me that life can be so much sweeter when we get outside of our comfort zone.
When was the last time you intentionally did something scary? Who helped you to get through it? Was it a solo mission? It could have been showing up for that blind date, registering for that big test, or calling someone and having the heart to heart you’ve been needing to have. It’s all valid.
If it’s frightening to you, that’s real. Don’t downplay your emotions, and don’t let anyone tell you that what you’ve made it through is meaningless. Find strength and power in the times you’ve dared to be you, dared to move forward, dared to go against the grain, and dared to leap.
If you’re reading this and thinking: “Dang, I don’t do anything like this” get outside of that thinking. This isn’t a comparison game. Take time to do a self-inventory into what your year has been so far in the fear department. I’m sure you’ve been facing some scary things, and working through them as best you can. All things considered, you’re always doing the best you can. Give yourself the credit you’ve been needing.
And, if you’re looking for a new adventure, steal an idea or two from my list. Or check out this website. Michelle Poler is friggin’ awesome, and I dropped her video below for your convenience.
I hope you continue to get out there, get uncomfortable, and shake things up. I hope you get to feel more alive.
Have you heard of Sinclair.ity? I send emails to wonderful and amazing people every single week. I do this because I appreciate it when someone speaks their truth. It helps me to feel a little more okay. If you can use some real talk in your life each Monday, sign up here. Thank you for being you.