“So you just figured you’d come here, to the most hostile environment known to man, with no training of any kind, and see how it went? What was going through your head?”
“Maybe I was sick of doctors telling me what I couldn’t do.”
This weekend, two months later than the rest of the masses, Sweet and I went to see Avatar. I’d heard so many amazing things, but we don’t tend to get out to the flicks very often (especially in winter; braving -30 on a Friday night isn’t always our first pick after a busy week), but this week, we decided on a date night of dinner and a movie (followed by late night rock band karaoke, could a girl ask for more?). And I was STUNNED.
One of the first pieces of dialogue in the movie, there, made me instantly question its relevance to my life. (Well maybe not instantly, I was initially preoccupied figuring out how to keep 3D glasses on my face over the top of my normal ones, and thoughts of how science was not only correcting my vision but allowing me to see 2D as 3D at the same time. I’m a nerd, I know.) The protagonist is an uneducated, physically disabled man who goes on to stand up against evil and save the world. Seconds after I heard the on-screen exchange, I felt… empowered. Motivated. Determined, not only to keep taking small steps to my ongoing goal of overcoming anxiety, but blowing it out of the water – taking a giant leap out of my comfort zone and surprising everybody, most of all myself.
It’s been six months since I made the decision to stop living trapped by a fear that had taken over my life for so long. I look back on the words in this post in astonishment at the fact that it was only six months ago when I decided I wanted to break free. I recognised that I had a choice in how I lived my life; I could see what I wanted, but I was choosing to live it differently. There was a discrepancy between what I dreamed of and held important… and what I was actually doing. So I made the decision to change everything, and it’s been a journey of small steps, but always choosing to take the risk into new territory in the face of fear, bluffing my way through it… and getting incredible feedback. Evaluation forms in my classroom full of “strongly agrees”, and this Friday, when I was put in a literal “fishbowl” on the spot in a training room full of staff to demonstrate what I’d learned over the week, inside I was shaking – but I chose to go first.
And as well as some incredible feedback, I got a round of applause! These small victories have kept me going – checking things off lists, practicing with increasingly difficult situations, and getting through them okay – I have an incredible sense of momentum, and I can’t wait for the day I can not only speak in front of a large group without my cheeks flushing or my heart racing, but the day I’m fuelled by the adrenaline and self-belief to actually want to do it.
The quote from the movie really made me think. It’s taken six months to get to where I am now, but I still have a long way to go. Every time I’ve pushed myself along the way, chosen to take a step – my initial worries were blown away by positive feedback; success. I still get nervous – but I don’t let it stop me any more. I’m no longer held back on the outside – I just want to be totally free on the inside, too. My outlook has changed enormously – and I realise that the power of choice, making the decision and actively following through has been invaluable. So if I’ve done okay in my little steps – what if I took a leap? Instead of following my PowerPoint to the letter next class, what if I threw things in on the spot? Games, jokes… and delivered with passion, positivity, and total confidence? It’s the people who can do that effortlessly that inspire me, because they can use it to make such a difference in people’s lives. And, for the time being, at least – I’m in a position where I could potentially do that.
Avatar was not only visually stunning, incredibly written, and moved me to tears – but those first few words fuelled me with a desire to reach the finish line. I’m going to choose to trust those little victories and take a risk next time I get up there. I’m going to speak up, make people laugh, and really try be a positive influence in my little corner of the world. Not for myself, but for the hope I might make a difference if I do. I’m faced with the same choice I was back in July, just on a slightly larger scale. I see how I’m choosing to live, choosing to let the nerves and anxiety sometimes get the better of me before I get up in front of people, resulting in an impression of a girl who’s uncertain and scared… I’m choosing to appear nervous, and I have the choice not to. I think now, it’s time to take another risk. What’s “going through my head”, as the movie said?
Maybe I’m sick of thinking of the things I can’t do. I’m going to show the world I can.
awesome post Em. you’ve come such a long way even I can’t believe it’s only been 6 months. you’re a true inspiration to anyone like me who struggles w anxiety and I support you 100% in your ongoing journey. take a leap.other ppl seem to see someone amazing, and you can take some strength from that. I feel like you’ll do wonderfully and I’m excited to see your progress. thx for continuing to inspire me girl!!!
Thank you so much you’re so sweet!! That’s one of the bigger reasons I started blogging about this. Dealing with anxiety is huge, and I’m not 100% past it, I’m not. But if one person can read about my little steps and feel like they can work past it too – well, that’s just about the most wonderful thing that could happen. ❤
All we are is little steps, I think.
It’s hard- positive feedback from classes is great, and I’m glad that your internal cheerleader is getting stronger because of it. I’m excited for everything that’s coming up in the next months for you and to see how you’re going to keep pushing yourself to let go and stretch (potentially) without having something as concrete as public speaking built into your work week.
Which sounds beyond exhausting, by the way. I have no idea how you have any energy left at the end of the day. You’re a super hero!
LOL I don’t know about that. We’ll see in a couple of weeks what my job situation is if I’m still talking about Big Steps lol. I just feel like the little steps have led me to an amazing place, and with bigger steps definitely comes a bigger risk of recycling back into old habits if it doesn’t work out – but I think it’s time to take a leap of faith. If it works… well, I can’t even imagine how amazing things would be. And if it doesn’t, I know I have incredible people like you who’ll be on my doorstep with a bucket of icecream encouraging me to take the next little ones 🙂 ❤
What a great post, Em. You do inspire me… I could need a little push myself sometimes.
Every little step in the right direction will lead you to the finish line eventually. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Aw, thank you so much. That really means a lot to me, and thank you also for your continued support and encouragement 🙂
agreed, great post!!! i’m proud of your progress and how far you’ve come in everything you’ve done at yuor job. you’ve done so well and i hope you can see that and use it to continue your journey with overcoming the anxiety so you can continue to make the world a better place. keep it up em xxx
Thanks sweetie! You’re too kind 🙂
I can relate to you in a lot of ways. I definitely have been guilty of living my life by fear, and feel that I am slowly coming out of that period of my life 🙂
Lovin’ your attitude, em!
Thanks! I wonder if it’s a twenties thing – leaving behind childhood, adolescence and early adulthood and realising that there are more important things to life than our worries and preconceptions about what other people are thinking. It’s a total change in thinking but one I hope I can finally achieve, and I hope the same for you, too. Thanks for your kind words as always 🙂
Great post. Makes me want to see avatar!
You totally should! It was amazing!
You really inspire me to step out of my own comfort zone and take a leap of faith. I didn’t follow your blog when you were so trapped in your anxiety so I’m on the receiving end of what happens when you do try to take control of your fear.
I’m so happy that everything seems to be paying off for you and you are doing so well! Getting positive feedback and applause must mean the WORLD to you and just reaffirms that you are on the right path! Congrats!
Oh thank you so much. It’s one of my biggest hopes that my journey can inspire somebody, and give the hope that just choosing to live life differently can make all the difference in the world. And you make a good point – looking back over my life (and having read “The Five Love Languages”!) it seems that I do best with reassurance and affirmation following my actions – I always have, ever since childhood. So words like yours really mean the world to me in keeping me moving forward 🙂
Great post. That quote is AMAZING. I HATE having people tell me I CAN’T do something, nothing drives me crazy more. I’m lucky to have very supportive people in my life and I’m rarely told I can’t do something. But if I am, it just fuels me to work harder and DO IT!
Yay!! I was talking with a friend today who’d had a situation over the weekend about someone kind of telling her she couldn’t do something – and I told her instead of getting mad, use that to propel yourself forward and prove that you can! I had quite a few people in my life growing up and especially in my early twenties telling me I couldn’t do things – and I made the mistake of actually believing them. I think that’s another reason this journey is so important to me – not only to prove to everyone I can do what I set my mind to, but to prove it to myself that I can follow through and take action in making the life I dream of living a reality 🙂
Such a wonderful, thoughtful post! Blessings to you as you continue this journey toward beating anxiety for good! 🙂
Thank you so much *hugs*
Ah! SO proud of you. What an uplifting post and so inspiring. I am ready to see what you are going to do out there in the world and believe me I trust it will be beautiful and wonderful. I continue to be more inspired by you with each passing day! And I am definitely going to check out that movie.
Oh sweetie, thank you! And definitely check out the movie, it’s wonderful 🙂
I just read that other blog post of yours and it is amazing how far you’ve come, Em. I am confident that you will be able to get to the finish line. Beautiful post, and I really love that picture! And congrats on getting such positive feedback, that must be so lifting and motivating.
It is and I’m lucky to have people in my life that can give that to me – in the training I was mentioning, it was a form of counselling training and one of the things they said was that one of the key determining factors in someone’s success in changing was the support they had available, and maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to get to the point where I feel like I finally can make the change?
Oh sweetheart, I am so inspired by the stuff you write…
I love that message about “watch me” – I truly feel that you embody that and I’m so proud of you for that…
SWEET! You gave away your identity lol 🙂
Thank you so much… you are the biggest reason I feel I can do this xoxoxox
Oh hurrah, I’m so glad you are able to look back and see how far you’ve come! 🙂 And yay! I’m glad you saw Avatar and thought it was amazing 🙂
Thank you!! 🙂 Wasn’t it fabulous??
This was a well-timed post for me to read. I have been struggling at work lately – feeling overwhelmed and that maybe i am just not smart enough for the job. But if I don’t believe in myself, who is going to believe in me? So I need to put my insecurities, fears, and all the ‘what ifs’ out of my mind and just forge ahead.
You are inspiring, my dear!
Oh, that means the world to me. I really hope you can find strength and believe in your abilities – I may only know you from afar, but you’ve given me every reason to believe in you ❤
I love how far you’ve come, and thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to meet you “in real life” – I already think you are an amazing person!
I loved Avatar 🙂
Oh you’re too sweet! I’m so excited to meet up soon, too – I always wonder when I’m out and about (since I never wear my glasses) if we ever run into each other around the city and not even clue in ’cause we haven’t met yet 🙂
Thank you so so much for your kind comment – it means such a lot.
This is so totally inspiring. First off, I loved that movie. But secondly, I love hearing about how you’re taking control of your life and making it how you want it. It’s not easy, but it’s incredible to see/hear about the steps you’ve taken and the progress you’ve made! Congrats, and I’m happy to be able to follow along on your journey.
Thank you so much, I just really hope I can keep moving forward 🙂
Good for you!! It’s wonderful that you were able to take a leap and put yourself out there (and go first!!) Your awesome feedback shows that you’re obviously doing something right 🙂
Aw, thank you, I hope so… its hard sometimes when you’re so used to feeling like you can’t, and what’s going on inside is just GET THROUGH IT GET THROUGH IT lol… thanks so much, I hope I’m doing okay 🙂
totally know what you mean. i LOVE to prove people wrong. sometimes, when people know me well enough and want to get something done they try to prove me wrong just so i’ll do what they want me to do. haha sad world no?
Way to go on turning your life around. It’s always inspiring to hear about how someone else has accomplished it. Gives me hope. Looking back over recent changes, I recognize how vitally important it is to have supportive people in your life. My “best friend” and I broke off our friendship a couple weeks ago, and it’s amazing how quickly I noticed positive changes.
What a great post Emily! I am glad that you had such positive feedback on your seminar that you taught. Stepping outside the comfort zone is a great thing. I can’t wait to see what you tackle next.
Thank you – I really want to keep moving forward and growing. Now I’m becoming that little bit more comfortable with something I was so afraid of I have to keep pushing myself or I fear I’ll retreat!
Deciding to take control of one’s life is a *huge* decision. It sounds like you have come so far in six months. Who knows where the next six will take you? 🙂
Thanks ❤ It's exciting and I have no idea!
That’s awesome. I often feel the momentum too and it pushes me to the point where I remember how much I like doing the things I do–rather than fear them.
That’s my ongoing motivation, to get to that point 🙂
I just love the way you articulated your experience of watching Avatar on 3D. I wear glasses too so that part just connected well with me. I don’t think that was geeky. Getting used to 3D glasses over 2D vision enablers to watch a movie digitally enhanced in 3D was is too much of a task which others might not realize.
Awesome post! What a good connection to the line in the script, and your life. This was a very uplifting, and funny read 🙂