Have you ever been involved in the production of a play? Have you ever stood behind the curtain, slightly off-stage and watched the audience gathering in their seats? Anticipation and excitement charge the air, yet stage fright whispers of critics and forgotten cues.
Have you ever stared at a blank screen as the cursor blinks while you struggle to find the perfect words to unleash your thoughts? The story is there, the idea is brilliant, yet that first paragraph eludes you.
Sometimes beginnings aren't so simple. Self-doubt and fear lay beneath the anticipation. It's easy to say trite things like "leap and the net will follow" or something like that. Motivational quotes are my specialty. Reading is easier than leaping. (I read a lot.)
Starting over has been a lot like standing in the dark behind that curtain waiting for my cue. I have done all the prep work, know all my lines, have gone through a few costume changes, know there will be critics waiting for me to miss a step...and know the only choice is to go on stage and give it my best.
Putting myself out there, risking my pride or being vulnerable are not new concepts in my life. Whether I am publishing a blog post, an article or a novel, I am saying "here I am, world" and am comfortable with whatever consequences follow. I go to battle for my kids and what I believe in without regard to what people may think.
It's not that I never make a fool of myself by putting myself "out there"...because I do. In Cancun, I silenced the rowdy Senor Frogs crowd when I sang karoeke with my friend Jane (Girls may want to have fun, but we weren't enjoying the stage much that day). In college, I tripped on the catwalk while modeling in a hair show at a local night club--while wearing an extremely short skirt (also silenced that crowd). Do I regret these embarrassing moments? There is no denying that both situations mortified me, but I survived. So my answer is no. I do not regret trying something new, chancing ridicule and braving the unknown.
So why then has starting over been such a challenge for me? Why has this beginning been more challenging than all of the others in my past?
Why is that damn cursor still blinking on the blank page of this new chapter of my life?
Why the hesitation this time around?
Know what I am afraid of? Forgetting.
I think forgetting is what I fear most about fully engaging in my new life--forgetting Sean, forgetting his voice, forgetting his laugh, forgetting his love, forgetting his life, forgetting him.
The ending to the old life wasn't my choice. I needed to let go in my own time and in my own way. It hasn't been easy--nor should anyone have expected it to be. Being a widow is far different than being divorced in that we did not choose this circumstance. There was no prep time.
But usually we don't get prep time for the life-altering events in our lives. That's how the Universe works--tossing in a twist just when we think we have the story figured out.
So I improvise. Some improvisations work and some fail. I move forward...then fall backward. I begin...then pause. Stage fright? Feels like it, to be honest. Anticipation. Excitement. Self-doubt. Fear. Stress. Enthusiasm. Passion. Definitely, stage fright.
No, beginnings aren't always easy. Sometimes the words flow freely and everything falls into sync, but more often they don't. Sometimes there are a lot of false starts and missteps.
Even at the risk of making a fool of myself, I put myself out there and say, "here I am, take me or leave me." I begin. Again. (and, hopefully, the rowdy crowd cheers this time.)
About Moxie Girl Musings
Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com