Building Courage During Change
I feel like a broken record sometimes with how many times I say that I am an intense planner, or “plotter” in the writing world. But just like some people hate planning and refuse to make decisions before they must, I am hesitant to change anything about my life, even the things I dislike, even if I know adding something new will improve my life.
Why? Because I am afraid. I am not afraid of the idea of change, but instead I am afraid of failing or embarrassing myself. So I keep to the comfortable part of my life, stick to the routines that I know work, that I can manage. Even if I don’t enjoy the routine anymore, it is easier to cave to what I know than face the challenges that come with taking risks.
In the last few months, I have grown weary of waiting for things to change, to finally be where I wish to be, a published author, more social within the writing community, and feeling in touch with my creativity. I am sure that other writers, artists, or just people in general feel similarly at times.
We spend our entire lives waiting for the future. We spend our childhood wanting to be older. We crave the feeling of being sixteen, then eighteen, then twenty-one, and then what? We wait for change to overtake us just as our ages do.
Life is not about waiting, though. It is about taking action, creating, growing. In these months of dormant motivation, I realized that I was the only one holding me back from accomplishing these goals, from trying these new things. I cannot simply wait for these things to happen to me because if I truly want them, it is my responsibility to take action and see it through. I am the one in control.
Stepping out of my comfort zone requires courage and strength, things I do not consider to be part of my repertoire. I am used to being invisible, tucked away within my safe bubble where I wait for things to happen. But once I realized how low of a standard I was setting for myself, how little effort I gave to my ambitions, I realized that I needed to find that brave piece of myself and bring it out to play.
So this past month has been full of accomplishments and changes that I think have not only nurtured my creativity but helped it thrive.
What Did I Do to Step Out of My Comfort Zone?
I started a YouTube channel. Me?! A YouTube channel?
I know, right?
Over the last few years, I have attempted to keep my writing-themed social media presence alive to no avail, mainly because I did not understand what a commitment this was to my writing. I thought it was more of an obligation than something fun and enjoyable.
Because I stepped out my own comfort zone over on Instagram, connecting with fellow writers and readers, I actually hit 1,000 followers, just by making friends and being kind to those I saw on my feed. I never would have thought that my social media presence would change the way I write and interact with others, but it did! As soon as I let my guard down and allowed my nerves to settle, I realized how important this was to my writing journey, even though I had never looked at it like that before.
In addition, I was in awe of the platform I had recently discovered, lovingly called “AuthorTube.” I found myself wishing I could be even half as brave as the writers I saw on YouTube sharing tips and their experiences. I daydreamed about what it would be like, not to have millions of subscribers, but to be courageous enough to go for it.
When I mentioned this to some of my new writing friends on Instagram, also on YouTube, they encouraged me to start my own! At first, I rejected the idea because of this simple sentence that kept coming back to mind.
“That’s just not who I am.”
But once I started thinking about it, I began to ask, “Why isn’t this who I am? I am in control of myself, so why can’t I be the type of person who has a YouTube channel?”
And so I decided to be brave and started an AuthorTube and BookTube.
This has been one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. I don’t know if there have been that many other things that made me so scared and excited at the same time. And by challenging myself, I got to prove myself wrong–that I am the type to do this, and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
The amount of support I received on this was incredible, and I am so appreciative! This exciting moment in my life has actually inspired me to be even more brave, shove my anxiety aside and trust fully in the fact that the people I have met on social media are kind, gentle, and supportive.
If you would like to check out my first AuthorTube video, I have it linked below! If you would enjoy seeing more content like this from me, please subscribe over on YouTube!
So, what else I am I going to do? How else will I be brave?
I am going to share a huge milestone with the internet and allow my vulnerability to come through.
I finished the first draft of my memoir project on August 29th, 2020! This was a heart-aching adventure that I was glad to do, but the anxiety filled me up, and I am so glad that the first draft is done, at least!
But something I have struggled with is sharing about my memoir project because it is so intimate and personal (obviously!) and I have been nervous to share the contents of this story. But today, I am going to give you a brief description of my memoir and include a picture, too!
Me, age 11, in my wheelchair in April 2011.
In March 2011, at the age of 11, I was involved in a freak accident that broke my femur and pelvis, and I had a variety of other injuries that have deeply affected me, even to this day. I was confined to a wheelchair for two months because of it, struggled with depression, and finally learned to walk again the summer between fifth and sixth grades.
While some see my story of healing as a “Happily Ever After” at that moment, it was far from over. During this decade-long healing process, I have grieved, reflected, lost my identity, and found a new one in order to heal, and even then, the healing is not over. Though my scars are hidden from the world, I aim to show readers that there is more to someone’s story than what they wear on their sleeve. Trauma is a shadow that follows, and exposing it to the light can be scarier than some may feel it should be. The burdens inside are often the ones that I cling to too tightly, and sometimes, I won’t want to let them go, no matter how much it hurts.
This story is vulnerable, painful, and embarrassing. It is full of self-hatred and intense thoughts that 11-year-olds have no business dealing with.
It takes a lot of convincing for me to share this story with anyone, but I am ready to be courageous. I am ready to step into this growing phase of my life.
After all, the only time you are actually growing is when you are uncomfortable.
How Can You Become More Courageous?
If you are also struggling with how to become more courageous, whether this in your creative endeavors or your personal life, there are a few things that may help you.
Discover what makes you uncomfortable.
If you are really honest with yourself, you may find that the excuses you have been using have no weight behind them. It will take self-reflection in order to figure out what will help you, or even to decide what you want to do.
You can try journaling, seeking counseling, or advice from a friend. If you feel compelled to look to a higher power, you could try praying or however you feel most comfortable seeking guidance. Recently, I have dabbled a bit in Tarot Cards, and they have also been helpful in giving advice.
Make the decision to change your routine.
This takes the most courage, in my opinion. Once you acknowledge your problem, it is still very difficult to get out of it. But once you start feeling unsettled by what you have allowed or tolerated up to this point, you should feel ambition and motivation flow through you. Embrace it, and let it guide you.
Dive in head first.
Don’t let yourself overthink it. Once you have made the decision, don’t go back on it. Make the decision for yourself and invest your positive energy into it. If you start this adventure with a negative attitude, it will not be as successful. Decide to put faith in yourself and your craft, and follow through with your actions.
Change can be daunting, but just remember why it is important to you, keep your chin up, and don’t ever, ever give up on the things that will make you happy.