Updated: Dec 4, 2020
I know I should not look back.
Looking back is the sure-fire way to ruin. That's been a known truth since Lot's wife tried it in the book of Genesis. Suffering a weak sentimental moment, she turned her head to see her city of Sodom razed and BLAM! She turned to salt. I wonder if "turning to salt" was not literal but instead meant she was overcome with tears -- as in salty tears -- that her deep sadness prevented her from moving on.
A habit I am in the process of breaking: unintentionally remembering negative moments from my past. It happens nearly every day -- I am triggered very easily and before I am able to reason with myself, I feel myself slip into that rabbit hole of despair. It happens most often on days I am fired-up and choosing to move forward on goals that matter to me.
For example, my goal to be a damned funny stand-up comedienne. Here's the thing, since I am new to stand-up and I live in a rather small burg, I am keenly aware that there are only a few times I can burn my bridges here. There are only a handful of venues. The fewer the venues, the more likely someone I don't want to see me bomb might be present. So, as soon as I click "interested" on a Facebook notification of a comedy event, my mind recalls the time my husband, who 20+ years ago in response to me saying I wanted to try standup said, "Yeah but, you're not funny."
That one comment stopped me for years. Yeaarrrrrsssss. At the time we lived in Los Angeles -- there were lots of venues and no one knew me. I could have hidden forever. I guess, the fact that I quit before I tried, that's exactly what I did.
Shedding the person who other people have told you that you are is a difficult feat. I've learned since, though it will always be a struggle -- the only way to grow is to do what you feel called to do in spite of your critics. Remarks from "loving" critics (criticisms or judgments that come from the people we love) hurt us the most deeply. Criticisms from people we don't like or respect may sting, but not for as long. Sometimes attacks from strangers make me more determined to prove them wrong. But if a loved one judges me harshly? Since making the person you love to feel "proud of you" might be the underlying goal -- it's very hard to move beyond their judgment and score brownie points. The question is -- what if they are right? What if I'm not funny?
Well -- what if? Are you gonna die? Yes. You are going to die - someday. The next question is -- since I'm (you're) going to die anyway, why not go down throwing punches? The bottom line, the reality of my mortality finally forced me from my coward's shell. If not now, when -- right?
Some 20 years later, I finally went and tested my comedy chops. I was absolutely terrified, but I did it. And I will do it again. I wasn't the best, but I got some laughs. That's all I wanted was a few laughs. Afterward, some guy said, "Nice set" as I ordered a much-needed beer from the bartender. (Gosh, I hope he meant my jokes -- I wasn't wearing a low-cut top from what I recall.) Regardless, now I'm hooked. The hard part now is being a consistent writer, being organized and finding the venues, etc., etc., Covid or not -- I'll be out there haunting the few venues that will have me.
How about you? What do you feel called to do that you've kept secret? What is stopping you? Ask yourself, if not now, when?