I’m always surprised when I hear from women who think that I’m fearless and have no doubts. I respond by telling them that when I write a blog post I feel like my chest has been ripped open and my heart exposed. I sit with it for sometimes hours, days or even months until I finally get the guts to post. Then as soon as I do I message one of my best friends to ask them to like it so that I can feel like I’m okay and breathe again. I’ve posted probably 30 times and, while it gets easier each time, I still experience feelings of self doubt and fear.
Before each Bodysex workshop I lead I go back and forth between feeling completely elated to completely inadequate. Will Betty be proud of me? What if the women expect more from me than I can live up to? Am I enough to do this work? Will they accept me when I also share my fears, inadequacies and self doubts? Will they accept my naked, imperfect body?
Sometimes well meaning people ask — “If writing these personal stories or leading these workshops makes you feel this exposed and vulnerable— why would you do it?” The answer for me is in the correlation between being vulnerable and feeling powerful. It isn’t at all that I am unafraid, it’s more that I’m making the choice not to let fear rule me.
Choosing this means to me the difference between walking INTO life or staying on the sidelines.This might mean that what I’m walking into feels like a hail storm where I’m being pummelled repeatedly in the face. Or it could feel like walking into something mildly uncomfortable like sleet. Other times though I feel like I’m walking into the sunshine on the most beautiful day you can ever imagine.
No matter the circumstances, each time I walk into it, I always get through it and continue walking — feeling stronger and caring less about what people think about me. I laugh harder and deeper than I’ve ever laughed before — even and especially at the things about myself that I used to be too horrified to admit existed. I can lose myself with complete abandonment in sex and not worry about what I look or sound like or if I took too long to cum. I can dance like Elaine on Seinfeld and feel like the girl in the room who’s having the most fun. I can, I can, I can.
I’ll never be perfect and — looking back on my life so far — I’m sorry that I spent so many years shielding myself in the hopes that no one else would realize that simple fact. I will never be fearless, or without doubts. I will however continue to make the decision to choose vulnerability over fear and walk INTO life.