I went for a jog today. It was brutal. I’m fairly certain I could have walked faster then the pace I was managing. But I’m running in a race in March so I kept putting one shaky foot in front of the other. Recently in a book I read this quote: “Don’t be afraid of the smallness of beginnings.” and that’s what I kept telling myself as I huffed and puffed through the park.
I’ve been telling myself that a lot lately. This year I feel like I’m being called to be adventurous, courageous even. I’m sick of imagining things in my books and stories but never coming close to anything adventurous in my real life. Don’t get me wrong so much of fiction is telling the truth wrapped up in lies, and I love to live vicariously through my characters, wearing ball gowns and corsets and playing the fiddle so beautiful that it makes grown men cry. Yet, I’m beginning to resent my characters. I don’t want to just write about someone loading a gun, I want to actually do it. I want to run and feel the wind in my hair. I want to be able to climb a wall and know how to throw a punch.
But, I hate looking stupid. I hate not knowing what’s expected of me. That nervous fear of the beginning has kept me from pursuing a lot of things in my life. Getting over those fears has also lead to some of the neatest most character building experiences of my life. I’m at a crossroads, do I choose to be comfortable and safe, or do I put up with the nerves and the self doubt and experience new things? Don’t fear the smallness of beginnings.
I mentioned this to my neighbor in passing, and she lit up. “Come over” she said, “Craig can give you a gun lesson, he’s really patient and calm.” I immediately regretted telling her. I was so nervous but I couldn’t very well back out. She was right, he was a great teacher. I held guns, loaded guns, learned how guns worked and even aimed guns. It was fascinating and I really enjoyed myself. This has made some of my friends uncomfortable but it wasn’t about politics, it was about pushing myself, learning, it was about keeping myself from feeling like a fraud when I sit behind my keyboard. I kind of loved it actually, channeling my inner 007 spy was so freaking awesome.
As I’ve started to express these new desires to friends others have joined in with excitement. Three friends who want to take parkour with me (I finally emailed a gym asking about lessons, something I’d been nervously putting off), a friend who wanted us all to run in a race for her birthday. And last night when my neighbor texted me to see if I’d be interested in taking a self defense class with her in a couple weeks, I found I was excited. Nervous still? Yes, a little, but the excitement seems to be outweighing the fear.
I don’t know what thing you’ve been waiting to do, dreaming of, thinking of. That thing you think is so cool, but you could never do it… Dearest, please listen to me; Don’t fear the smallness of beginnings. Those beginnings are powerful.