How To Tuesday: How To Trust Yourself and Kick Fear to the Curb

I will never forget the sinking feeling I got when I stepped out of the Times Square subway station on my first day in New York City.

Photo by Mojumbo22 (Matt)/Flickr

Oh. My. God.  So. Many. People.

And with every changing “Walk” signal, thousands of them would soldier down Broadway as far as the eye could see.

I stood in a shocked silence.  Frozen.

The Masses pushed past me at a hurried pace.  I was invisible.

The Me from the Past. A few months after I got to New York City.

My brain flooded with questions I didn’t know how to answer:

How was I going to get noticed in this sea of people?

How am I going to rock this city when I’m terrified of everything?

If you’re feeling the same way, don’t fret, I’m ready to divulge the three secret words to kick doubt to the curb and do what you were born to do.

It’s the three words I told myself when I lit poi on fire for the first time and started spinning them around my body.

photo by Jeff Stark

It’s the three words I’ve whispered in back stages over and over before any show I’ve ever done.

It’s the three words that I said before I shared my personal writing with other people.

It’s the three words that I said before I quit my steady day job five years ago and launched into a world of scary unknowns.

Fuck Your Fear.

The best things I’ve ever done are the things I was terrified to do.  Fear kept me in a box for a long time.  If fear is keeping you from doing something you really want to do, let’s learn to dance with the danger of it and enjoy every second……

Shall we?

Confession:  I was terrified Monday night.

A man pulled out a folded piece of paper from a hat at The Moth Story Slam with my name on it.

Weeks before, I watched the Moth storytellers in rapt attention.  Books have always been my version of drugs.  Storytellers are my version of Rockstars.  And I am a groupie of words.

All I wanted to do was be up there with them.

My dear friend and Storytelling Rockstar, Peter Aguero, lured me in by giving me a shot at telling my first story at his BTK Band Storytelling Night a month ago.  He got me hooked on the good stuff.  Baaaaaaaaad.

This is how Peter and the BTK band do storytelling. Yep. For my first story, I was backed by an awesome band and had half naked go-go girls on either side of me. It was still terrifying. But in an awesome way.

So here I am, at The Moth, my name has been drawn, I have less than five minutes to get on the stage and that fear thing kicked in.

My legs were quivering so hard while I was waiting at the side of the stage, that I slid my body down the wall and hugged my knees to try and make it stop.

My mind started doing that dumb doubting thing that minds are apt to do:  What if my story isn’t as good as other people’s stories?  What if Peter had only said that my story was awesome because he’s my friend and didn’t want to hurt my feelings?  What if I get up there and my voice is doing that quivering thing?  What if everybody hates me?  

I was in a downward spiral of doubt.  One minute before I was climbing the stairs of the stage, I remembered the three words that shut up those insecurities in seconds:

Fuck Your Fear. 

It was just me and a microphone……and a hell of a lot of people in a packed house waiting for me to tell a story.

I have been getting nearly naked doing burlesque for six years.  I know I can do that.  Getting naked with my words was harder.

It’s dangerous to take a risk.  But if I want to grow, I have no other choice.

This is why I named my company “Danger Dame” and why I write my unabashed dirty honest truths here in the “Danger Diaries”.  It is dangerous to break out of the mold, it can feel dangerous to grow, dangerous to venture out in the world and truly live it.  By taking on the name Danger Dame – I committed to living “dangerously” – taking new chances, pushing myself to grow even when I’m scared, hurling myself into the path of pure possibility.

And I’ve never looked back.

Next time that fear thing kicks in when you’re trying something new, or pushing yourself further….

Say the three words to yourself.

Then go attack the thing you were afraid of like a wild, screaming animal.

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You want to dance with me?  Tell me something you are afraid of doing that you really want to do in the comments.  Just put it out there.  Type it in words and hit return.  It will feel good.  I promise.

I’ll start.  I’m putting my name in the hat again on Monday, November 19th at the Moth to tell a story again.  I will scream like a wild animal.

Now you go…..


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