Be afraid, but do it anyway. 

#RealTalk vol 16

Jae Hermann

Hey, Jae here. For the newcomers, welcome to #RealTalk - the Digest: the ramblings of a midlife woman in crisis denial + some other bits. Well, at least that’s today’s theme anyway. To my long-time supporters, thanks for coming back! 

Today’s installment will reach you as I make my way from Seattle, WA heading to San Diego, CA → San Antonio, TX → final stop, Sarasota, FL!

The drive ahead and some other personal drama stirred up some angst for me, which, as writers do, I turned into this post. Read ahead.

Be afraid, but do it anyway. 

“My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring, still.” ― Maya Angelou

I am once again taking a cross-country road trip, this time with my brother and my cat Mr. Skimps. The original route would have taken us from WA to TX through the mountains, but my brother came up with the bright idea to go south through CA to visit my Uncle. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled about the change, but actually, I’m looking forward to taking the southernly route since I’ve already gone the other way, and I’m quite over cold temps right now.

My fear of traveling in my little Nissan Juke with half of my Earthly belongings, my brother, and my car-hating feline is profound. Why? See real-life text with my brother:

Seriously though, there’s so much that could go wrong besides bandits, a flat tire, or a Zombie Apocalypse, and yet, off we go! I’m afraid, but I’m going to do it anyway.

In most instances, when I feel afraid, I ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” The answer is death; death is the worst thing that could ever happen, and I fear somebody could die on this road trip. I might kill my brother, he might kill me, or Mr. Skimps might kill us both. 

You know what, though? Fear is a bitch and a liar. I call that tramp “Lizzy.” That heff’a is full of negative self-talk, she’s the Kryptonite to joy and happiness. Lizzy be all up in my head, whispering crazy talk, telling me all the reasons why I shouldn’t do something; she points out what could go wrong or that I’m not qualified or equipped to handle certain situations. Lizzy has stuck her nose into some of my most genius ideas to piss on my confidence. Do you have a Lizzy in your life that you’d like exorcised? Here’s how I kick that wench to the curb… 

When Lizzy talks at me, telling me that I’m not good enough or that things could go wrong or some other nonsense that runs counter to my self-confidence, I let her have a say for a hot minute. I sit with my forboding naysayer and make a list of all of the things she spews at me, sometimes I write them down. Then after she’s finished, I tell her to back it up! I envision giving Lizzy a good ‘ole backhand slap, too violent? Ahem...

The point is to give space to the negativity, let it see the light of day, and let it breathe. Then I take that negativity list, crumble it up, and throw it in the trash because that’s all it is, it’s trash talk. 

After Lizzy has had her time and the trash talk list has been deposited into the proper receptacle, it’s time to start a new list of all of the things that could go right. 

For my road trip, here are all of the things Lizzy can’t touch: 

  • Quality time with my brother: Who knows when I’d ever get another chance to take a road trip with my brother. We’ve not spent a great deal of time together since we were kids. This trip will give us ample time to bond and have an adventure. 

  • New cities and time with family: I’ve heard great things about San Diego plus my Uncle is there, and I haven’t seen him in too long. I’m also looking forward to spending time with my sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew in Texas. 

  • New sights: My brother and I will have lots of beautiful scenery to explore on this trip, I’m looking forward to experiencing it with hope rather than fear. 

  • New career opportunities: I’m embarking on a new chapter in Florida with several exciting opportunities. I’m going to work with a cutting-edge AI company, mentor young ladies at a start-up non-profit while also spearheading my dream job working with a top entertainment broker. 

  • New chances: Going back to Florida is a chance for me to experience all that I left behind with greater appreciation and gratitude. I’m going back to an awesome support system, friends, beautiful weather, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. 

I am super stoked about this trip and everything ahead. Sure, Lizzy is still there, but focusing on all of the good that will come from this journey is akin to me telling Lizzy to kiss my fine brown arse. 

I’ll be honest though, there are times when I give Lizzy too much space and attention, usually when I’ve neglected to get enough sleep or failed to maintain good eating habits (more greens, less beer, and pizza). Lizzy screams loudest when I’m physically and therefore mentally at my weakest. I’ve learned that when I practice proper self-care, little Miss Thang doesn’t come around as much or scream as loud.

When fear or self-doubt creep up as negative self-talk for you, give it a name and make a visual that you can control - for me, it’s Lizzy and a mental (sometimes literal) trash list. Here’s the skinny on how to handle them:

  1. Tell your menacing little pissant to fuck off. 

  2. Throw out the trash talk list. 

  3. Make a list of the good things ahead for you.

  4. Make sure to take good care of your diet and get proper sleep.

As for this road trip, I’m still a little afraid, but I’m going to do it anyway because there are too many good things on the other side of fear. Whatever comes along this journey will be worth it. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

Stay tuned...

This Week in #RealTalk

👀Confession: Lizzy was at the helm earlier this week when I wrote about not having new posts for you. I burned all of the ends of all of my candles, which gave ample space for imposter syndrome to join the party. The sentiment of my post remains, I don’t have a plethora of stories lined up for you yet, but I don’t feel as defeated about it. 

👂Did you hear about this? I love sci-fi movies, usually the ones about aliens. When I saw this story about one of the first women to spacewalk getting mysterious goo on her glove, I’m like… In every alien movie, the goo is a sentient evil parasite that takes over your brain and eats your crew!! Obvi!!  

💡The more you know: You didn’t think I’d let a #RealTalk issue publish without a midlife mention, did you? For us mature folk experiencing joint pain, please reconsider getting corticosteroid injections. I’ve never been a fan, I don’t like long needles, and this is when fear is my friend. New research suggests that the short-term pain and inflammation relief may hasten the need for joint replacement later on. 

✨Be inspired: Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova, is a new find more me (thanks Alfonso!) In this piece she gives some thought-provoking insights on how to grow old and live a fulfilling life with reflections from Bertrand Russell: 

“The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way [like a river], will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.”

🗣I have news: Stay tuned for my interview with the lovely Kim Forrester on the Eudaemonia podcast coming up on 10/30. We’re talking about how to #LiveOnPurpose, wellness, and well-being.

Thanks for reading. I’ll catch you back here next week, likely on Friday 😘

xo, jae

P.S. Click HERE (and follow me) on Instagram to catch my cross-country road trip photos!

Whatever your plans are this weekend, be safe and enjoy!

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