I recently dove into a fantastic conversation with one of the many Alex’s in my life about a blog post she wrote. Her writing moved me. It explored the idea of pushing boundaries and launching herself outside of comfort zones, despite the anxiety, panic and unraveling often induced by taking flight. She talked of her adventures into newness and the unknown. She was brave and she was honest, candidly discussing the fear those leaps incite, the panic attacks they spark and the evolution she’s undergone.
We talked about her post and the power of writing more generally. It’s cathartic, it’s an outlet, it helps you understand, recognize and confirm that you and your thoughts are valid. They can exist, breathe and thrive in the world, outside of your own brain, and they should. When you write, they do. When we write, we bleed. We get this feeling – this racing anticipation that surges through our nervous systems, this wave of inspiration that completely takes over, making our blood rush and our hearts race and we know if we don’t write it out, let the letters and words and magic tumble out of our fingertips as they pop into our consciousnesses, we’ll either explode or deflate and they’ll disappear forever. We write for release.
Years ago, I read a quote by Albert Camus. “Live to the point of tears,” he said. We talked that one over and we agreed, it’s a good one. We agreed that it’s okay to feel big; feeling expansively doesn’t have to necessarily be bad. I’ve always been the kind of person who really feels emotions, feels those highs and lows. I’ve spent countless nights sleepless since I was small, keeping myself alert and awake until 5 a.m. with my own racing thoughts and insatiable curiosity. I’ve labeled it all kinds of things but these days, I’m embracing it. It’s simply who I am. I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing moves me, and moves me to the point of tears. That’s (hopefully) the kind of passion that creates change.
Alex made a good point – she said, “The best people all have a little anxiety and a lot of emotion, right?” And I agree – the writers, the dreamers, the game changers – I’d bet that in a lot of cases they wouldn’t have been able to live with themselves if they turned a blind eye, if they didn’t create, if they didn’t bleed words, if they didn’t take a stand. It would have gone against their nature. They had the kind of passion that forced them into action.
She wrote, “Inadvertently, I have found something strangely beautifully about panic. The rawness surrounding it makes me feel so wholly human and connected to the world.” The rawness of overcoming fear, the exhilaration of emerging triumphant despite strangeness is what makes for powerful experiences. I’ve been doing a lot of professional cyber-stalking these days and I’ve noticed that a lot of influential people start at the starting line, like all of us, but over the next 10, 15, 20 years, can’t possibly keep their passions subdued. They emerge from convention and those people create change because they have to. They jump at opportunities that speak to them and let inspiration be their guide. I’m not sure where my road will take me but her writing and our discussion has me excited to see where I’ll be at 25, 40 and 78 years old and I’m going to make sure that I never lose all the space with which I feel.