The Start of Something New
Have you ever found it hard to start something new? Learning a new skill, or a language, starting a new job or making a new friend. Any of these unfamiliar things require forging through uncharted territory, set to a stage of exciting, yet daunting formalities, all while facing an unforetold set of risks at every turn. I know I have. Navigating through my own individualized challenges, and often left wondering, was going through these types of processes similar for others too?
I asked around and came to the conclusion that apparently it is. People struggle everyday on an insurmountable variety 'new' all while handling it in an endless number of different ways. The one solution remained consistent- that all it takes is one moment and you are on your way towards conquering. One step over that initial hurdle and within seconds the first phases of struggle has all but virtually disappeared. Something that is easy for one person may not be so for another and vice versa. It is in the sharing of each of our gifts that we can build and strengthen a community. I often wonder what kinds of new things others struggle with and if there is anyway I can help. In search of a way to lean into fear, I decided to go back to an age old cliche statement, with the hopes of finding like minded individuals on the pursuit of authenticity. So here it goes…
“If you could accomplish one challenging thing today, what would you do?
For me it is starting a blog. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but fear and self doubt kept getting in the way. How would I create value in information to the people reading? Would I have anything to say? What if I fail? Beyond the superficial layer was a person who has spent years of battling learning disabilities. That was where the real challenge was. The thought of not only doing this but then putting it out there for public display, would take years to overcome. Even to this day I still wonder, what was I thinking?
I looked for a tangible comparison for these feelings. As an artist, starting a blog felt similar to opening the first page of a brand new sketch book. If you are a creator then you might relate. That clean slate, waiting for a mark, that faithful moment when you begin the defacing of a crisp empty space. Like a seed, the marks made on that first page dictate an opportunity to create ones personal vision.
A vision with potential to grow into so much more than any creator could imagine.
The starting of a new sketch book was metaphorically comparable to a traffic jam at a stop sign. Ingrained in me was this fear that I would mess it up. As often as I could I would always skip the first page. Dodging the potential that once damaged, there would be no way of fixing it, leaving a mess of marks, to haunt me every time I opened the book to work. I am fully aware that this completely disregards the primary function of what a sketchbook is historically known to be used for. To this day, some of my more exclusively favorited books still remain completely unused. All due to the same idea that I had unnecessarily created.
This was not the only place where the starting point of something and I would be at odds. Growing up I preferred binders to notebooks, spiral bound or otherwise. Trying to find an unspoken loophole around the possibility of having to bear witness of my learning disability, making yet another mistake. Sure, I was left handed and being able to take a page out to work on was helpful but if I am being completely honest it was so much more than that. Unlike any sort of book that was stitched and spiral bound, the tearing of pages always left a paper remanence and overtime all that pulling only left me with was the break down of a structure that was once defined. At least if I made a mistake when using a binder I could remove it, toss it away, and start over, leaving no imprint of my failed attempt.
Like an unopened Barbie Box, I created a false sense of value that these places of exploration would be seen as something more. All to avoid risking the possibility that they would be judged unprecedentedly by others. I now realize that I did myself huge a disservice by doing this because in reality this was a way to distract myself from taking the first step. You can not fail if you never start to begin with.
This year opened with a bang of compelling incidences, acting as a catalyst for me to make my mark. Realizing, that from my biggest “mistakes” I have learned the best lessons, grown the most and I access these moments often for reflection. No more throwing out the first page or not even beginning at all. I have something to say and there is no other way around it. Vulnerable and exposed in all it’s glory, here is to facing the first page head on.
See you on the other side.