[Psst! Here from The Fearful Adventurer blog? Here's a warm welcome for ya.]
But today I need to speak on behalf of my vagina without substituting its proper title with terms like pink taco, happy flappy, or meat curtains– nicknames that would diminish the gravity of the confession I’m about to make:
I’m afraid of having a 50-year-old vagina.
I’m not exactly sure what it means to have a 50-year-old vagina at age 32, but a few young women have warned me, from personal experience, that it’s shockingly disturbing to peek inside your pants and see it. My husband, Brian, doesn’t know what a 50-year-old vagina is either, but for selfish reasons, he doesn’t want me to have one.
And truthfully, the state of my crotch is just one of many worries we have as we enter what will be the most fearful adventure of our lives: Pregnancy & Parenthood.
Technically, we’re not pregnant yet. (So quit the high-pitched squealing, and please put down those pom poms…okay, father-in-law?) But Brian and I have begun talking seriously about trying for our first baby.
The problem is that we are creative, driven people. And creative, driven people already have babies– for me, it’s my work here at A Brave Life, and for Brian, it’s his comic book and freelance animation career.
While other young couples spend free time on leisure activities, personal errands, and romantic weekend getaways, we spend our nights and weekends working on precious side projects. Creative people are obsessive about their work, so when you’ve got two creatives in a marriage, there’s simply no time for pregnancy, birthing, recovery, lack of sleep, a flappy vagina, and perpetually sore nipples. (Granted, there’s no time in anyone’s life for perpetually sore nipples, but still.)
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I think I’d be a good one. But my greatest fear is that in order to make time for motherhood, I’ll have to eliminate other pieces of my life. And it won’t be my weird, bread-winning day job that gets the axe; it will be something much more precious. It will be my writing for this website– my “other” baby.
But here’s how you know when natural, healthy, rational fear has morphed into a major roadblock in your journey:
- You are a slave to Fear when you begin saying “no” to people and activities that will nourish your soul. (In my case, this means postponing motherhood.)
- You are a slave to Fear when you say “yes” to worst-case-scenario thinking. (In my case, it’s believing I’ll be forced to abandon A Brave Life.)
Check out this nugget of wisdom from an amazing interview with Pamela Slim (author of Escape from Cubicle Nation): “My own definition of success is to enjoy my life while I’m living it.” Doesn’t that just completely melt you inside? It’s so simple, so profound, and so easily forgotten.
Some artists and creative entrepreneurs get so caught up in pursuing career goals and completing side projects, that we forget to live full, balanced, happy lives that are colored with meaningful relationships, nourishing leisure activities, and people-centered service. We try to go the distance without fueling our tanks; we try to produce powerful work on an empty soul.
On the eve of this epic, fearful adventure called Pregnancy & Parenthood, I’m faced with a decision: the choice to put off Life for the sake of my craft vs. the choice to craft a life so amazing that I cannot help but create inspired works of (lowbrow, PG-13) art. Despite my fear, I’m choosing the latter; it is the harder decision, which tells me it’s the right one. It’s also the bravest example I can set for any child of two weird, creative parents.
Besides, I need a baby to complete my dream Halloween costume:
Sure, I might be a creative soul with a flappy hole by this time next year. (Sorry– was that too much? C’mon, it rhymed!) But damn it, I will have taken another brave, grown-up step forward, instead of being paralyzed by Fear into inaction, indecision, and procrastination.
Whether you’re an artist, a parent, both, or neither, Courage is always your most reliable compass. Courage is the fire in your belly. It fuels your evolution. It will point you where you don’t want to go, and lead you where you need to go. And that’s how you’ll recognize its voice.
Your Turn: What fearful adventures do you have planned?
This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
“Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow.” Australian Associated Press
“… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams.” Nomadicmatt.com
“In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction.” Courier Mail