Showing Up

I’ve been hearing it quite a lot over the past several weeks. The idea has taken on many different forms, the words expressing it have changed, but it boils down to the same thing.

Sometimes, you just have to show up. Take that first step. Start before you’re ready.

Apparently, that’s the key to success. Or at least, an essential aspect.

Because you’re never ready. Not really. There will always be something to learn, something to improve upon.

And so you have to take a leap. To go outside of your comfort zone.

Of course, you don’t actually have to. You can stay within the borders of familiarity and be perfectly happy. Maybe people are.

But if you want to achieve something new, something beyond your current existence, then the consensus seems to be that you must, at some point, push yourself out of the nest to see if you can fly.

I’ve been hearing this idea for several weeks, and every time I hear it, it resonates within me.

I agree.

I agree that the only way for change to occur is to do something differently. To make it occur.

I agree that it will never feel like the right time.

I agree that it is necessary to show up in spite of that.

And as I have thought about this concept, I have thought about what I, myself, should do. What I want and the steps I should take to achieve it.

I have made plans, great plans, with immediate action at the forefront of my mind.

And as of yet I have failed to carry through with any of them.

There are a myriad of reasons for this.

The medical: My health has been particularly irritating over the past several weeks. I have barely left my apartment, barely managed to feed myself regularly, never mind embarking on new adventures. I am also somewhat in limbo with possible medication changes looming over me, tests, appointments, and buckets full of uncertainty.

The vain: I have been steadily losing weight over the past year and have almost reached the end of my journey. It seems to make much more sense to wait until I have arrived at a weight I am comfortable with before showcasing myself to the public.

The perfectionist: I have been struggling with where exactly to begin. I have so many ideas, but they all seem connected to each other, all reliant upon each other, and it’s overwhelming.

I could go on. There are countless explanations for my lack of action.

But the thing is, they all amount to the same thing.

They all centre upon the notion that now isn’t the ‘right’ time. My energy is too low. It’s too much for me to take on. I will be more capable and confident in the future. Once I’m feeling a bit better, once things aren’t so busy, once I feel more secure in my plans - then I will start.

I am waiting, because I don’t feel ready.

And all the while I have been nodding along to that expression of ‘starting before you’re ready,’ fully and wilfully ignorant of my hypocrisy.

So now, at midnight as I write this post, I am taking a step. I do not know if it is the right time or the best time. I do not know if I am ready.

But I’m going for it anyways.

I have a dream. I dream of reaching people, many people, with messages of openness and accessibility.

I dream of expanding my writing.

I dream of speaking in public about adjusting to the salt in your life, about my experience with chronic illness and disability, and about social perception and its significance.

I dream of creating art and music that explores those issues.

I dream of learning about other people, their stories, and sharing those things that we usually keep silent.

And that’s where I’m going to begin.

I am creating a new feature on this blog. A feature that will share snippets of strangers, and give the opportunity to think about ourselves in new ways. It’s called ‘Body Quirks,’ and it will address our thoughts about our bodies - the uniqueness and universality of them.

All too often, we think of health as a switch. Either a person is healthy, or they are not.

As a result, it becomes all too easy to see someone who is categorized as ‘unhealthy’ to be different. To be other.

Not only is that vastly unhelpful to all parties, causing feelings of isolation and discomfort, but it also happens to be untrue.

Our bodies exist on a spectrum that is constantly shifting. We have all, and will all, experience many segments of the turning wheel of health throughout our lifetime.

Whether we are home sick with the flu, we’ve just run a marathon, our eyesight is failing, we’ve given birth, or we’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition - we all have bodies.

Sometimes, those bodies don’t work properly. Sometimes, they are incredible. Sometimes, they’re amusing.

But we all have them. And we may as well talk about them.

Because something so universal should not be stigmatized. And something so personal should not be shameful.

For this feature I have created a survey. I would be eternally appreciative if you would fill it out, and pass it along as far and wide as possible.

The survey is entirely anonymous. I will have no idea who the responses come from. They could be anyone’s words.

And I think that’s kind of beautiful. Because whatever thoughts emerge through this feature will not be the thoughts of a young adult female living with chronic illness. Nor will they be the thoughts of a school age boy, a working woman in her 50s, or an elderly, housebound, man.

They will be our thoughts, collectively.

And I can’t wait to hear them and share them with you.

But then again, that’s the best part. I don’t have to.

Because I’m done waiting. I’m starting now. I’m showing up, and taking a leap.

I hope you join me for the ride.