Fear and Change

Mar 24, 2011 by

Fear and Change

This is a more personal post than usual, but it’s been on my mind the past few weeks, and I think it’s something we all struggle with in our own ways, so I thought I’d share where my head has been.

I’ve always been a girl who’s embraced change. Growing up in the military, change was the only constant.  We’d get settled somewhere, and I’d make friends and then boom–three years later (sometimes it felt just like months) the orders would come and we’d be moving halfway around the country or the world to do it all over again. New school, new home, new friends.

I thought when I got out on my own, I’d settle down, but that hasn’t really been the case. Four years of university, and I was off to Korea to teach for a year. Two years of graduate school after that, and I was off to L.A. to do the Hollywood thing. Two years there, and I was off to San Diego for an experiment in marriage and a grab at law school.  Three years later, I packed up my car, my cats and my broken heart and headed north to Lake Tahoe.

Well, color me surprised as I’ve taken stock the last few weeks of a few things:

I’ve got to say that for a girl who doesn’t let grass grow under her feet, there’s at least a few seedlings that have sprouted.  Five and a half years now in the same job, the same town, the same apartment, even.  I hated it here, at first.  I mean, let’s be honest–I was heartbroken, and I’d left sunny SoCal at the end of November to arrive in Carson City as the snow started to fly.  The work wasn’t anything they trained me for in law school, and my coworkers, while nice, weren’t my Renaissance Faire loving, theater going, sit up and talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the philosophical implications of questions posed in Joss Whedon’s television shows until 3AM with a bottle of wine sorts of people.

I was homesick for a place I didn’t know I’d called home. I wanted to leave.  I spent the next five years trying to figure out how.

Now I have it. I have my shiny opportunity handed to me on a silver platter of dreams spun out: art and theater and words and friends and a home I once had, even if it isn’t Sunny SoCal. It’s the place of childhood and the place I came of age combined.  The birth of a lot of what is me lies back there in that town to which I’m returning, and a whole new life is spread out beckoning as I get ready to take a leap as huge as the one I took the first time I drove across this country–from that place to LA–eleven years ago.

And what I’ve figured out these past few weeks?

Change is bloody terrifying.

The past few months have been the best I’ve ever had at my job. I’m finally doing work I actually enjoy.  I’m getting compliments on it from my supervisors and my bosses. I’m engaged in the process going on outside the walls of my office. I think about all that I could do next time around and how hard I’ve worked to finally be appreciated and accepted here and how good it feels to be recognized, and I wonder, “why the hell would I give that up to start all over again?”

The past year has been the best I’ve had since moving here. I performed in a show I loved and made three wonderful friends. I assisted in directing another and then directed my first show for a summer art performance, and it was amazing.  I look at the upcoming season at the theater and I think, “OMG, I want to audition for…” And then I stop, and I realize, and I pause, and this ache twists in my chest, because I won’t be auditioning for it. I won’t be there to see the show my friend will direct or the one another friend will star in, I’m sure. Okay–well, maybe I can fly back to see them, sure, but I won’t be a part of it.

I’ll have moved on.  That thing that a year ago I would have told you was what I wanted more than anything, and even now, when I truly envision my life…it isn’t here. It’s somewhere else, doing other things. Creating and mentoring and teaching and building this business into something vital and alive.  I see it pouring out and growing and I can feel the joy it will bring, and the excitement that tingles under my skin at the very idea of it.

That way lies my bliss.  This is my path. All the little fear demons that are popping up aren’t going to stop me. I’ll stomp them out the same way Buffy stomped out Gachnar, though with fewer taunts, because Giles wouldn’t approve. (You knew there had to be a pop culture reference in here somewhere, right?)

But change is hard. Change is scary. And I finally realized that change can be painful, too.  I have something to lose. Where I always figured that I’d just say, “screw it” and be gone when the time came, now that’s not the case. I have, as my mentor Christine Kane has said, to say “no” to the good to say “yes” to the great.

But permit me my sentimental moment for a bit.  I think I’m just still reeling a little from the surprise of just how much I’ll miss the good I have here.

How about you? What do you need to say “no” to, in order to say “yes” to what’s calling to your soul? What are you afraid to let go of in order to change?

[Photo Credit: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Fear, Itself” – Image from Wikipedia]

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  1. Hi Charity,

    This is Melissa from BIB. I saw your post for day 1 and I thought I’d check your blog out because it looked like we might have similar goals for our blogs.

    To answer the question at the end of your post, I’m afraid to let go of my house which I almost wish I’d never bought to dig up my roots and travel the world. I’m afraid of giving up a job I hate with people I like in order to make a difference somehow in the world. Especially since right now I don’t have a means to supporting myself without the job. I’m not at the point to walk away yet, but I’m planning on getting there in the next year and a half.

    Sitting in one place can be stagnating, but it’s terrifying preparing to let go of the familiar.

    Good luck with everything!

    ~ Melissa
    Melissa recently posted..Episode 2 – It Doesn’t Help Anyone

    • Charity

      Hi, Melissa. I saw your post, as well, and thought the same thing, so I’m glad you came over. I had to work all weekend, so I haven’t gotten to explore as much as I would have liked yet. :-)

      I know exactly how that can feel–when your dreams are calling to you to do one thing, but there are all these other things holding you back, and some of them aren’t bad–like a house or friends! Facing the unknown and walking away from what’s comfortable really is terrifying. The closer it gets for me, the scarier it gets, but I keep reminding myself how much I want things, and that seems to help on the days part of me just wants to run and hide with my blanket of familiarity.

      Good luck to you, too!
      ~ Charity

  2. Hi, Charity! It’s Andrew from BIB. When your article showed up in NewsRack tonight, I knew I had to read it.

    I’m glad I did. It was very insightful and thought-provoking. And, I _love_ Joss Whedon’s work! The world is a better place because of all of us who sat up well into the night (and morning!) debating the philosophical questions posed by his work. Nice to learn we have something more in common.

    Hmm…what am I afraid to say “no” to that’s keeping me from moving ahead? That’s a very similar question to what my EC asked me a few weeks ago. One of the answers is saying no to expectations of others that don’t align with my beliefs and priorities. I still manage to “fear” I’ll miss out on accomplishing something. Silly, really, when inreflect on what I’ve been blessed to accomplish and be part of.
    Andrew recently posted..One-Year Anniversary Giveaway

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