It all started like this. A social media post typed frantically before I forgot it:
You’re really not “dear”, but I wanted you to know I don’t fear you.
Fairly frequently when I’m in the throes of creativity, usually knee deep in image editing, I get starbursts. I call them “starbursts” for lack of a more descriptive word. Imagine lounging on a patchwork quilt in July at the American Legion watching the fireworks display. Knees up, arms behind your head, eyes to the sky, you see an upward trail of fire. Then, crack! A beautiful white light explodes into a perfectly symmetrical burst of sparks.
I know my starbursts come at these times because I’m dipping my pinky toe into the Universal Data Stream. I’m a professional and fine art photographer, so I make my way in the world with creativity. I’ve only waded waist deep into that stream a few times. I’ve yet to take an honest to goodness swim. My heart tells me it’s forthcoming as I learn to be the most authentic person I’m capable of and… drum roll… Let go of fear.
Fear. Damn you. I hate the sound of you. But, if I’m going to conquer you I better learn to understand you. Webster’s defines fear as “to be afraid of something or someone” or “to expect or worry about something bad or unpleasant”. I know fear serves a purpose. I know it protects me sometimes. It’s what keeps me from walking down a dark alley in a crime-ridden inner city with rolls of cash in my pockets. Fear is also what keeps me small and stuck then ungrateful and depressed when I let it drive. Fear is the polar opposite of love. You have to know one to know the other, so it serves the purpose of showing us love should we allow it to.
When I wrote that social media post several days ago, I was lying. I really was fearful, or I wouldn’t have written it. I was working away, minding my own business and whoosh… All this fear engulfed me. The rebel in me rose up immediately after. I decided to tell it to take a hike. It was quite liberating to make a public stand. For a moment my indignance freed me.
Since that day while preparing to write this, I have examined exactly what it is that I’m fearful of. First of all, I’m fearful to tell you what I’m fearful of. What if it’s stupid? Well, what if it is? I’m going to be authentic with you. I’m going to conquer that right now. Here you go:
- I’m afraid I can’t or won’t make enough money with my business to pay the rent.
- I’m afraid of losing the business I’ve worked so hard to have.
- I’m afraid people think I’m uneducated and dumb.
- I’m afraid someone won’t “like” me.
- I’m afraid people think my art is terrible.
- I’m afraid I won’t get to go all the places and have all the experiences I want to before I die.
- I’m afraid of not being loved.
- I’m afraid of being alone.
- I’m afraid of criticism.
- I am, in fact, afraid of dying.
How’s THAT for a top ten list? Just reading it makes my heart pound. What I know is that these fears are also worries. Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. Basic law of attraction taught me that what I dwell on, I get. What I think about constantly happens. It’s proved itself in my lifetime and time again.
Let’s flip it.
- I have never missed a rent payment at my studio. I have a great track record so why should I fear something that’s never happened?
- It’s impossible for me to “lose” my business. I am my business. As long as I am alive, it will be also. My equipment, the building, is not what my business is made of.
- I can’t control what anyone thinks of me. In fact, it’s none of my business. Anyway, I constantly educate myself. This is just a blatant lie told by fear.
- In a world of 7.5 billion people, there’s bound to be someone who doesn’t like me. There are also hundreds of people who love me, identify with my mission and look to me for inspiration. I choose them.
- Again, what others think of me is none of my business. What is my business is making art that inspires, heals, educates, and brings forth the knowledge The Universe entrusts me with to proliferate.
- Going places and doing things takes planning. I have had many, many adventures and will have much more as I plan and execute them.
- Back to this: What others think of me is none of my business. However, I have been loved my entire life. I was loved before this life and I will be loved after. Recently, I’ve gained some love for myself. So, I can never be unloved as long as I love me.
- What the heck is wrong with being alone? What kind of alone am I afraid of? After the investigation, this fear is really a rehash of being fearful of being unloved. Everyone needs alone time. Actually, I relish my alone time.
- The fear of criticism is really a combination of fear of not being liked or loved and worrying what others think of me. We’ve addressed that.
- The all-encompassing fear of all fears. How can I live when I am always dwelling on dying? When I get busy living there’s no room for this fear.
I’d like to encourage you to do this exercise yourself. Write your fears and then counter them with their polarities just as I did. It’s a useful tool to bring yourself out of fear to love. After you finish, use your second list to vibrate some gratitude. Read each one, close your eyes and visualize grateful feelings flowing from your heart to the heavens.
I’ll leave you with this quote. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~Flannery O’Connor
Freedom Boudoir is the passion and vision of Marsha Foster. Photography can provide healing, confidence, and love. At Freedom Boudoir, our desire is to give women an exceptional, luxurious, and intimate photography experience that empowers them to see their own beauty and liberates them to live life to the fullest.