“Do one thing every day that scares you”– Eleanor Roosevelt
Okay fine, I understand why. Because it is important for personal development and because it is good to break out of your comfort zone and HEY! maybe it will even wake a few of us sleepwalkers up from bumping our heads against a life of consistency and redundancy, and all that jazz.
But who has time for that? How am I supposed to fit bunging jumping or hugging a homeless, trying a squid sandwich or wearing a unitard, sitting in the dark or telling someone that I love them, perhaps, into my already jam-packed day of necessities such as eating three meals a day, calling my mother, taking my vitamins, and etc., my friends, etc.
And really, who enjoys being freaked out, out of their minds? Don’t we all have enough on our plates that we don’t need to scare ourselves silly? What do you say, why don’t we just end the day with a warm glass of milk and a few sugar cookies before bed?
A few weeks ago, out of pure frustration with a you-know-who tugging at my heart strings, telling me to give up on my dreams, I decided it was time to do the one thing that had given me the heebie jeebies everytime i thought about making an attempt at it. I signed myself up to read my work at an open mic night, at Bowery Poetry Club.
Writing had always been my scapegoat. A vehicle that allowed the adolescent version of myself, hiding my voice behind a mouth of braces, to get out whatever it was I needed to get out, on paper. And here I was for the first time, at 24, owing up to my words. Putting a face to a name and a raspy voice juxtaposed with sounds that flew out of my chattering mouth and corpse as if I was shaking it to a Pitbull song. The words that I wrote while tip-toeing home on the sidewalks of NYC, underneath swaying building, doused in the smell of rotting Chinese food, were at last breathing with life. Tossed around like a hot potato, projectile vomited onto a sea of strangers. I stood on that stage fighting the burning in my stomach, wiping the sweat off my forehead and telling the nerves to take a hike, as I read out loud until the final period on the page left me silent.
I will count this as my “once a day” scary thing for the next 365, thank you very much.
And anyway, on my way to the poetry club, I was walking with a good friend of mine, Hannah, when I felt a swift gush of wind slap my bottom allowing me to realize that I had just walked 5 whole blocks around the East Village with my skirt tucked into my underwear.
It could only go up from there, I told myself, bottoms up.[It took me some time to muster up the courage to post this video, to remind myself of why I do the things I do. I hope this inspires you in some uncanny way to get moving, to take steps, to break away from the accessories of feeling scared or embarrassed and to just do whatever it is you want to do. Just be who you want to be.]