Last week, I published my first blog post. I had actually written the material a week before and spent the seven days leading up to posting the piece editing, critiquing and having some self-doubt about sharing my feelings with the world.
I experienced some negative self-talk that I am sure is not unique…
“Why does anyone care what I have to say?”
“Who would actually want to read this?”
“What if people don’t like it?”
I knew I wanted to write about this adventure and change in my life, but when the words were on the page in front of me, I got some stage fright about sharing it. Luckily, I had an experience that helped me realize opening up and exposing myself to some vulnerability was exactly what I needed to do.
On my third day in Japan, I ventured to an Onsen in Hakone. Onsen is a spa that pumps water from natural hot springs up to a variety of pools. Each pool has different temperatures and legend has it, the water from the hot spring has mystical healing powers. Magic powers or not, it is a pretty relaxing experience that I definitely recommend.
Onsen is not a run of the mill spa you might find in the States. Yes, the pools are jacuzzi like, some with jets and some without, there is a locker room, there is a sauna, however, the spa is split by gender and bathing suits or clothing of any kind is prohibited in the pool area. Side note, if you want to check out an Onsen, most of them do not allow people with tattoos in. Definitely check TripAdvisor or some other website before going or you might have to deal with the Yakuza! Back to the story; yes Grandma, you read that correct, butt naked spa time.
To be honest, I was a little weary of just strolling around a spa in my birthday suit. However, after the first couple minutes, and the requisite sit-down-shower you have to take before going in the pools, I realized I was more comfortable in my own skin than I thought while getting undressed in the locker room.
I am not writing this to tell you about my au natural experience, as lovely as it was. As I soaked in the water, sweated in the sauna and relaxed surrounded by nature and more uncircumcised penises than I care to recall, I found myself thinking about why people, myself included, are so afraid of exposing themselves.
When I say, “expose themselves,” I do not mean exclusively in the bare skin way you might be thinking. Why are many of us afraid to expose who we really are, how we feel and the things that matter most to us. In a time when we are all so connected with social media and technology, it seems like we are more afraid to show our real selves or do the things that we really want to out of fear.
We have all heard the old saying, “don’t just talk the talk,” and I don’t mean as much to our peers as I do to ourselves. In different ways, there are things we all want to do in life that we are afraid to take that first step towards. So what do we do? We make excuses about not having the time or that people don’t care what we have to say or what we do, so we never break the boundaries that make us feel safe. It is easier to let our dreams remain just that, dreams.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people who do bare themselves (pun intended) to the world and are unashamed to scream about their passions from the top of mountains or on Facebook. There are times when I see friends who post their art, music, deep thoughts and even dreams on social media or blogs.
Are these people special? Are they super heroes?
No and no. Everyone starts somewhere and everything starts with a first step. If we are so afraid of failure or rejection, we will never overcome the inertia to do anything exceptional.
These people who create, these people who are unashamed to share the story that only they can tell or start the business that only they can start, these are the people who inspire me and give me the confidence to put my words out there.
We all have our own story to tell or service only we can provide. Whether it is writing, painting, singing, coding, programming, engineering, starting a business or anything in between; we all have a unique voice that we owe ourselves and the world to share. No one is going to do it for you. It is really up to you.
I know it can be daunting. Whether your hand is over your mouse waiting to click “post” on your blog or your hand is covering your genitals before entering a nude spa, it is scary to click “publish” or jump in the pool.
Usually, the thing we fear most is the thing we need to do most. The first step is always the toughest. For me, now that I have taken this first step, I can’t wait to write and share more with you. I can only hope that by sharing my experiences, someone will gain the confidence to start their own project, adventure or maybe finally get the nerve to confront their boss about what is bothering them or ask for that raise they so deserve.
No one is going to get the ball rolling for you. Don’t put it off for later or the “perfect time,” because you know what? There is no such thing as the perfect time; you could always be a better writer, a better painter, make your website look cooler and so on. We all need to start somewhere. Whether that first step is your first post, sharing your first drawing or contacting your first potential client. The perfect time is right now. Go out and make it happen. I believe in you.
I am no expert, but I promise you, once you take that first step and expose yourself, it is quite a rush and you will want more of it. I might even hit another Onsen next week.
What is it that you want to create? Is there a project that you have always wanted to take on? Is there something you have worked on that you have not shared yet but want to? Or, maybe you are a badass and have already putting your work and yourself out there. Let me know in the comments section, I would love to hear about it!
Get going and good luck!