Sunday Letter, Dec.6th: Want me to tell you what I am scared of? Are you scared of small things too?
Sometimes I am scared to do things. I know that some of you are too. When my children were young I rarely travelled without them because I was a bit scared to leave them. I used to get a little scared on the rare nights when I was alone overnight in my house. I am still a bit scared of being in a big international airport by myself. In fact I have never done it.
Scared is such a big word isn't it. I almost hate to tell you that I feel it sometimes because the word has a lot of power. But the thing is (as there is always a thing in these newsletters) that when I tell you I am or have been scared, somehow the feeling diminishes. It makes me less scared just to tell you that sometimes I am.
When I think of being alone in a big airport and feel scared I remind myself, that in that airport I will still be me, and there will always be good people, and that I would be fine. I remind myself that people do it everyday and find it easy.
I probably wouldn't even be telling you this if I had not overcome some of the the things I was scared of. When I think about it, as I grew my art and my business I was scared almost every time I made a move towards something new.
Like when I started hooking rugs of people without faces. Like when I made my first blog post and posted my thoughts for everyone out there to read. Like when I moved my business downtown and put a sign with my name on it on the building. That was a big one. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, "Who do you think you are?" and then another worry came up "Will others think that I think I'm big."
In Newfoundland that was an expression I grew up with. Kids would say about others kids, "She thinks she's big." Sometimes they would say it right to you, "Ya thinks yer big don't cha?" It meant that you were playing outside the rules they had defined for you. It was a put down meant to keep you in your place. They were telling you to stop that thing you were doing, that reaching, that pushing, and just settle for what they thought was best.
As a person though I have to push towards what I think is best. When those scary thoughts emerge, those thoughts of what others might think, those feelings of uncertainty, it is my responsibility to nurture that growing soul inside me, to move towards the light and let myself bloom.
I don't find it easy. I worry just like every other soul out there. And I make mistakes and sometimes push myself in directions just to discover that they are not for me. I have learned that knowing that something is not for me is as valuable as knowing what is for me. I push on because I think of the things that I used to be scared of that don't bother me anymore. Really some of them are so silly and small.
Technology was a big one for me. I used to be scared to move my laptop in case I would mess it up. Yes that was a long time ago but still I felt it, foolish as it was. Before this year I was uncertain and scared to use Zoom to interview others but I had to learn in order to create The Harbour Masterclass so I did. Now it seems so silly.
Before yesterday I was scared of having a live class.Yesterday for the first time ever we had a live webinar. Rug hookers from across North America gathered and we hooked a little house on a snowy hill together. It was our first time, and though we had practiced there were plenty of technical difficulties. We made mistakes, but people were forgiving, and they even helped us along. Through it all, it was a great class, and having done it made me understand that we could do it.
Gosh I learned so much just from doing that webinar. I learned that if I was an international airport by myself I'd be fine. I learned that once you do something, it takes the scary out of it. It is in the doing that we learn not to be scared.
Maybe it was just my experience but something tells me you understand. It can be scary to become yourself. To bloom. As beautiful as it is, growing into ourselves is sometimes challenging for us, and it can be that for others around us.
But grow we must. Inside of me and you, there are all these seeds waiting to bloom. I want to give them the chance to come to life so I can see what they look like. I don't think I am big at all. In fact I think I am a small part of something so big and so beautiful and so immense, that the possibilities for all of us are more than we can ask or imagine.
Thanks for listening.
Writing you is good for me. It always gets me thinking.
- Angela Davis