Fear and excitement about a box of books.

I arrived home on Monday to find three boxes outside my door. They were not a total surprise as my editor had told me to expect them early in the week. If anything, I should have felt relief. Imagine launching a book with no actual books.

I was also told to savour the opening of the boxes and relish the achievement of accomplishing publishing a book. I tried. I wanted to feel ecstatic or proud or even mild satisfaction. Did I begin writing with a clear goal of publication? Not at all. In fact, if anything, I hoped nothing would come of it. That way, I could quietly fail and move on to the next thing. The next thing usually revolved around fixing myself or moaning about a life I thought I was squandering. This book, for better or worse has taken on a life beyond me and that has opened up a new perspective.

I’m scared to launch this into the world on Sunday. I look at what I said a few years ago sitting at my desk tittering at what I saw as a witty comment about someone or something close to me. Now, I am concerned about saying the right thing or the wrong thing. What if I totally fail or worse, what if I succeed? As I said, I can’t hide now or run. What is going to be, is going to be. But the fear is gnawing away at me. Particularly at night when I’m in bed trying to sleep. It got so bad at times, I clung to my care bear for comfort and Grumpy bear offered little relief.

I shared this with a friend and she gave me some excellent coaching. She asked me how does fear feel? “Shortness of breath, nausea and tension.” I responded. Then she asked me how does excitement feel? I took a minute to think. “Shortness of breath, nausea and tension.” I replied. She was a genius. The physical responses are the same but the emotions and my associations to them are almost exact opposites. I know I have felt fear and ran from it frequently. And if I am being honest, I run from excitement too. Somewhere over the years I learnt to fear excitement as well. There is nothing wrong with that, just interesting to notice it.

Where does this show up? Well, I have played it safe my whole life. Literally afraid to annoy anyone, ask for anything or follow through on what I have said I will do. I have a degree in marketing from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s leading university but I choose to work as an ESL teacher. I came to Vancouver to pursue a dream and train as an actor and I am working as a ESL teacher. I say I am committed to living in Canada and then I choose to buy a car in Dublin. I have amazing family and friends who know me very well and some have admitted to being frustrated with me because of my way of being. They say I am “hard work”. I get it, I really do. But the fear at times is so great that just breathing hurts. It has been exhausting more than anything else and as I get older I realize it is never going away. The fear is always going to be there and maybe that is necessary to an extent. It stops us taking stupid risks. But it can be taken too far. Fear has left me paralyzed and if I could, I’d cancel the launch and hide any evidence of this book. Ignoring who it was written to help. As for excitement, I hope letting it in will lead to more fun in my life. The book is done. People will get what they get and anything else is a conversation or better still, an opportunity future actions.

I know to really live a fulfilling life means going after things and asking for help. I still fear annoying ┬ásomeone or have people disagree with me. Or God forbid some people won’t like me. I can choose to do what I am committed to doing regardless and that is exciting. That makes it not about me. That makes it about the guests who will speak at the launch. That makes it about future readers. That makes it about everyone else.

I guess what I am trying to say here is I am seeing the excitement associated with letting go. I’ve said from the beginning that this book is in the world to save lives. For me to be a stand for those who can’t or won’t speak for themselves. Why? For no other reason than I say so.

I’ve been humbled by friends rallying around me helping me find a venue (thank you Brent and Jenny), people willing to take photos (Jenn) and manage book sales (Nina) , and just the general enthusiasm I’ve encountered over the last few months (friends and family).

Thank you everyone for your support. Let’s create this together and have a memorable afternoon on Sunday the 29th.