I stopped dating Matt because he wouldn’t take off his condom. He needed protection, a safe ground to step on, safety first, always. You can’t be a free spirit, you need roots, you need a place to call home, you need a safety net, he said. That was his reaction when I told him that I was thinking about visiting India next year. I’m a big advocate for exploring every single corner of the world. He was a big advocate for settling in just one corner. Forever. The problem with this approach is that experiencing life all wrapped up is like showering with socks. Try and see if you like it.
I sense fear in that protection net or whatever it’s called but what do we fear? For once we fear not to comply with society. Not be able to fully deliver or even worse to under deliver or to deliver empty promises, we fear to be less. Since early age we are conditioned to believe that we need to achieve something in order to become someone, but hold on one sec, aren’t we already someone? Yes, we are. We are human breathing beings! Yet the message continues, we are not enough, we still need this and that to be happy. And that means: a house, a car, anything better than what the neighbor has, a career, a wife/husband, kids, money, (actually money goes first), status, power, then we’ll have roots. Only then we’ll be someone. We’ll be successful. We’ll be happy. It all sounds good and easy but the truth is that unless we experience life fully, we’ll never be able to taste success and find true happiness. And to experience life fully implies falling in the mud, getting bruised, a few teeth knocked out, not a pretty picture. In short, the linear safety thing that they want us to believe it’s a myth. There’s nothing safe, easy or linear in it.
Can we just be ourselves more than anything else? Can society tell us that it’s OK to experience ups and downs and that there’s no reason to let fear paralyze us. There’s no reason to fear fear itself. Can they stop expecting so much from us when we are only five or six? The more they expect from us, the more protection we need, the thicker that condom becomes, the more difficult it is to actually be happy with who we are. It’s a cycle. As a result, we fear failure, so we reach adulthood moving very cautiously to minimize the risk. My own life has been plagued with ups and downs. I hate it right when I’m going through some crisis because there’s lots of stress. I don’t like being stressed out, many times I can’t sleep, my heart beats like a drum, but after the storm is gone I realize that then very thing I was worrying about is the same thing I’ve been worried about for some time now and it has never happened. Not even remotely. Whenever I think the Universe conspires against me I end up coming out stronger, with more clarity in mind and able to make sharper decisions when necessary.
Ok, so where was I? Oh yes, I wanted to talk about homes. My home is where I am at the moment and not the actual building. My home follows me everywhere I go because my home is my experiences, my travels, my memories, my home is to be able to tell my grand kids one day about the time I got lost in Vietnam (I lived in Vietnam for one year) or to share with a friend that the only thing I learned to say in Chinese was restrooms (very handy). Home is not just four walls that some random construction guy that doesn’t know me built to sell, that’s a house, that’s not home. My home is wherever I am. I’m always home.
What we really need is to learn to live a fearless life. The concept of being fearless is interesting because it doesn’t mean the absence of fear. We are all in this human body and we will experience emotions no matter what. Being fearless means you don’t let fear stop you, you don’t let it paralyze you. It means that when fear knocks on your door at night, you’re still able to get a good night of sleep. It means that when is your turn to jump, you JUMP!
I experience fear, everyday. I fear pressing that “publish” button. I fear criticism, I fear not meeting people’s expectations, I fear disappointing people, people I have never met and probably never will. I fear not making them happy. I fear them thinking less of me. I fear being vulnerable. I fear making mistakes. I’m a perfectionist, and is fear mixed with pain, yuck! And all this will be true at some point in the future. I can’t make people happy and disappointment is just around the corner. So today I will be fearless too.
The beauty of this is that you don’t need to move to the other side of the world. You can start right now, right where you are. So just for today take off the protective rubber. Take out pen and paper and write down seven things YOU know it’ll make you feel out of place, an outsider, naked, dizzy, too much, you can’t stomach that, embarrassing, your hands sweat, you need to use the bathroom. Then pick one -just one- and give yourself seven days to do it. Then do it. Fear of public speaking? Try uploading a video on YouTube. Fear of not knowing how to write? Start a blog. Fear of having an accent? Video yourself exaggerating your accent. Fear of not getting that job? Mock an interview and upload a video. Fear of not knowing what your fears are? Write down five things you love to do and then explore the opposite, that’s where your fears are. Do it. Be vulnerable. Be raw. Be naked. Be bold. THEN blog it all, put it on YouTube, Facebook it, Twit it, Pin it! Share your experience. Fearlessness is contagious.
So go ahead, jump. Press that publish button. Take off your condom.