a few days ago I wrote a piece about doubt in a newsletter, it’s stuck with me in a different way than my other words and thoughts normally do. as if getting older gives you more room to delve into your thoughts unknowingly and unwillingly; especially this year in this season where things have felt idle yet, they are somehow moving quickly. it’s hard to catch up with it all and I personally feel out of breath, less so due to lack of movement because of current circumstances, but more so because I am tired of running at the pace I perceive others have set for me.
I’m not fond of giving comparison a name, but we must call it what it is. it makes moving at my own pace seem insufficient. like, I’m initially happy with the pace I’m at but then everyone else comes into my peripheral vision and all of sudden, what I’m seeing from an angle feels as if they’re moving faster than I am. their strides seem to be bigger, better, more calculated, or laced in luck, and my focus primarily stays on their movements and I’ve somehow managed to stop paying attention to mine. I am no longer moving, I am frozen, leading me to not even bother to try moving anymore. it’s as if Fear is gripping me by the throat, it’s uncomfortable and it doesn’t give much room for compassion or grace. it leaves me constantly trying to measure up to standards that aren’t really there, with barriers set in my mind when really, there are no barriers and I can freely walk through but, I just don’t because, Fear.
and, I’m still walking through it. it gets easier over time. you loosen Fear’s grip and give it less of a hold on you, possibly by learning that so many things in life are a little bit, often as opposed to burning through everything at once. sometimes, it’s talking less about our woes and simply putting a foot forward first, taking the steps after that, and actively doing the work. because ultimately, it’s easier to do nothing. comfortability wraps us up tight in a blanket, pulling a chair out and gives us space to cosy up, and whilst sitting there in that chair, we’re lulled to sleep watching the world go by as the sun rises and sets, without us doing anything to contribute to it’s rising and setting. we just let Fear sit with us and give it room to exist when really, it doesn’t have permission to do that. the truth be it, is that comfort is great. it’s a life I imagine for me, to be one I can actively create, nested in a cabin somewhere dancing and whiling the time away, Coltrane and Penny & Sparrow in the background whilst I create without worry or burden of the world’s issues and anger. but to live a life as such holds a lot of privilege, and it honestly also doesn’t give much room for me to grow.
growth is slow, it’s uncomfortable and it’s okay to feel those things whilst growing – it’s okay to feel fear within it. and if you can’t get rid of fear, then walk through it, do it in fear, but we must also provide the way and the steps to get to the places we wish to be in. the rooms and inventions, the opportunities, and comfort we wish to live in and be to those that come after us. it is possible to do it all with or without fear, but we must not give fear room to take over and swallow us up. I so often forget to remind myself that comparison doesn’t merely steal joy, it steals so many parts of us and leaves us as we are – without room for improvement. it encapsulates every part of you to point where it becomes hard to separate your emotions from the truth. everything becomes jumbled up and doesn’t make sense when really, the truth is that: you are unique, what you do is unique and you are allowed to pursue what you want without measuring yourself up to others.
we don’t see what goes on in the background, we don’t see the time and effort it takes for others to cultivate their voice. we don’t see the tears, the tireless nights, the longing and the undoing, and the understanding of oneself. and to then measure ourselves up to others because we aren’t where or what they are, it’s unfair – to us, and to them.
everything, everything, everything is a little bit, often. do it, do the thing without measuring yourself up to others – you deserve better than that.