Sometimes I get really scared of doing things.
These ‘things’ are often things that I really, REALLY want to do or say or change, but I get scared all the same.
I get scared that I’ll screw up, or say the wrong thing, or not like the thing as much as I thought I would. Other times, I just start feeling a bit small, you know? Like I want to hide and dumb-down and blend-in. I start questioning whether someone like me can really have these ‘things’ and I feel myself backing away, listening to the voice in my head that says, “Ha! Who the fuck do you think you are, huh?”
In these moments, this is what I do:
I look at my hands. I really study them. I trace every line and vein and bump and groove. I look at my finger-prints and the way that some of my fingers curve a bit, while others are totally straight. I clench my fists and look at my knuckles, they way they go white and taught with the tension. I clasp one hand with the other.
And then I imagine looking at these same hands in this way when I am 95 years old and nearing the end of my life.
I imagine what it will feel like to think back to those moments of uncertainty in my life, of feeling scared and worrying about whether I was doing the right thing. Of feeling unsure about speaking up and saying what I meant. Of stepping out of my comfort zone even when it didn’t feel so good. And I know that 95 year old me, with the hands that have witnessed so much throughout my life, will clasp one hand in the other, just like I did all those years ago, and smile, knowing that even when I was scared of doing those things, I still had the balls to do them.