You've been carrying around your fear like an appendage for a long while now. For 30 years. Making excuses for its validity and accommodations for its glaring intrusion in your life. You have been compromising each day, shaving away pieces of yourself to fulfill the perceived wishes of others because acceptance is neat and safe. Wearing a big smile, offering a hand, and carrying a plate of cookies so that everyone will let you in, approve of you. You have been afraid to stand, take up space, and demand what you want for your life.
You’re desperate to contain your emotions because their expression feels unruly. A shiny orb you aspire to. You feel good making other people happy. You hunger praise but the effects are fleeting, its incidence only fueling a need for more. You derive your worth from helping others, from saving. And in that endless pursuit, your truth is the last considered. You are relieved when others say you’re allowed to feel how you feel and it's ok to want what you want. You spend endless, valuable minutes, hours, even days in your head instead of in the world. In this, your 30th year, it’s time to actually consider precious girl, what you want your next years to hold.
What you want is to step boldly into a future that you decide and do not compromise on. And even if that future’s unbeknownst to you at the moment, you’re committed to making room for the inquiry. You’re asking the questions, flexing those mental muscles, navigating conflict, embracing discomfort. Because the truth of the matter is you spent 30 years playing by the rules, when you could have been writing your own.
I’m not unique in the least. Human beings are riddled with fear, some can just conceal it far better than I can. Few like to talk much about fear; it’s not cute or Instagram worthy. What might set me apart is a willingness to stare at it, study it, befriend it, knowing it has been one of my greatest teachers. Fear has shielded me from the pains of disapproval, and of risk and longing. But 30 finally feels like the time that the benefits of aligning with my fear are not nearly as great as those of fear’s refusal.
I’ve been waiting for someone else to decide for me. My doting family, my husband, bosses, colleagues, books, therapists, podcasts, the list continues... I’m an open book, a sponge, all the platitudes to describe someone who is a little too honest, too feeling, and too pliable. I’ve always been looking outward for direction and I can see clearly now that it’s a woman I have been waiting for and her name is Francesca.
That was then, and this is 30.