The Moment Fear Turns to Courage

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence
by each experience in which we really
stop to look fear in the face…
we must do that which
we think we cannot.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

One must first be scared or anxious before they are courageous. In all things I have tried to succeed at, I have been slightly terrified the entire time. The more I followed that dream I set forth, the anxiety faded, of course, but I was still nervous about whatever it was I was trying to accomplish. It started with my path of college in 2008 when I enrolled at LMC to study journalism. The entire two years I spent there was full of so much anxiety and learning self-love. I was living in my hometown, constantly looking over my shoulder and hoping I would never cross paths with an old client; and I didn’t. I submerged myself into college, and I lived each day with as much focus toward a new life. In doing so, I turned my back on the person I truly am. It’s all good though, I’ve reintroduced myself to myself again.

I believe I had to hide that warehouse worker and prostitute into a corner so I could spend more time on school and getting to know myself on a different level. When attending the university system, nobody knew about my past. Nobody knew anything about me. I hardly shared anything about my past, and it didn’t seem that anyone was interested; which, I’m grateful for. I don’t know if I would have admitted the prostitution. I’m sure I would have lied about a lot if someone wanted to know what life was like for me at the warehouse. I didn’t want anyone knowing I was a mistress to many men. I didn’t even want to admit it to myself. I hid from that woman. Really, I was more like a girl on many levels then.

Not only have I written my memoirs about that time at the warehouse, I’ve sent it to the publisher already. I’m scared. I’m scared my clients or even family will read it. I’m scared it’ll be published, printed, and sold in many book stores. I’m scared of that success. But, it’s the same feeling toward my goals of accomplishing seven years of college. My college experience gave me the skills to write my book, so it’s all synced together. The four years I spent at WOU brought so much enlightenment. Owning a home, connecting with my ancestors, and traveling to Haiti changed the way I saw life; it made me want to share my story. It made me grow. It made me want to change; so I did.

I identified with that warehouse harlot I spent so much time running away from. Not only did I recognize her, I validated her and have fallen in love with her. I’m a worker. My body, mind, and soul are made to work. I cannot be a paper pusher. I cannot be someone stuck behind a desk and a computer. Who and what I am meant to be is all wrapped up in hip-hop music, blue-collar work, and sexual passions. Yes, the time spent in the college system taught me that I am a leader. I have a gift. It’s a gift I will not go into detail about now because it’s off topic, but the time spent in college taught me how to be a leader. But, the college industry is not where I belong. The corporate world is not where I belong. So, after graduation (almost a year ago), I had to find another path.

After losing my home in Oregon, I hit the road and found Colorado as my new stomping grounds. I’ve been here for six months and I’m doing something that terrifies me once again. Like I said, once I start something new I have an anxiety over it. I have this feeling that I’m not good enough. I don’t think I will fail, because I know I’ll succeed – lol – I have that faith in myself that I’ll kick ass at this new position (details in a minute). My lack of confidence is what drives me to do the best job that I can. Yes, I’m hard on myself. Yes, I have negative self-talk. Yes, I tell myself “You suck at life, Jo.” But, it doesn’t keep me down. It doesn’t keep me from accomplishing what it is I’ve set forth. That negative talk is what motivates me. I tell myself, after I tell myself that I suck, that I do not suck! Yes, I converse with myself about this all the time. Not only am I my worst critic, I am my best motivational speaker. I have learned that I need validation from the people who are teaching me new skills. That’s a childhood thing, I think. The lack of confidence I have in myself is from childhood trauma. I’ve had to learn how to motivate myself. I’ve had to learn to be my best motivational speaker because nobody ever gave me credit or validated me for anything I did; well, except for all the great blow jobs I gave. I was recognized for that, which is why I continued to do it. To be honest, it was the only thing I felt I was good at during that time in my life because it was the only thing I was recognized for. Now, however, I believe I am good at many more things.

This is where my new path comes in. I’m learning to be a truck driver. I have driven the truck a few times and I’m doing a good job. I get frustrated because I feel I should already get it. But damn! For someone who’s never driven a stick before, I’m doing alright. There are things I need to learn, of course. There are things I’m still having a hard time with, but I’m doing it. Yeah, I’m scared. Yeah, I’m anxious. Yeah, the nerves are tight when I’m driving. But, I’m doing it. That anxiety it keeping me going. When I hit a cone for the first time in the yard, I jumped out of the truck and said, “Damn it Jo! You suck.” Then, I laughed at myself, kicked the cone, and said, “Nah, you got this Jo! You’re doing fine.” And really, I did great. I am doing well. I’ve only killed the truck once. I’m learning how to downshift, which is the hardest damn thing I’ve ever tried to do. Or is it? I mean really. It seems like the hardest thing because it’s all new, and I have no knowledge of what I’m doing except the three times I’ve been behind the wheel. So yeah, it’s hard. But I got this!

I’m learning a new skill that will allow me to travel the country. I’m going to see so many new places and meet so many new people. Because I have identified with the warehouse harlot as well as the college leader, I’m going to kick so much ass on the road. Yeah, I ran away from that girl I was 10+ years ago, but after reconnecting with her and loving her for who she really is, I’m so grateful for all the experiences I had during that time; even the nasty hard experiences. They’re there, and I’m going to own that shit and continue to share my story with others. People have told me that I’m courageous for sharing my story and doing the truck driving thing. Is it courage? I mean, yeah one needs to be scared and anxious before they can be considered courageous, so I guess so, because damn y’all I’m terrified about what’s next. But regardless, I’m doing it, and I’m so fuckin’ excited I can’t hardly contain myself these days.

So look y’all, I share this blog with you because if you read it I hope you’ll be motivated on some level to accomplish something that you’re afraid of. Do you have a dream you’ve been dreaming? Take a step toward that dream no matter how scary it may seem. Use that fear, anxiety, and terror and focus it toward accomplishing something in your life. We are seeing dark days in our world. There is constant war, death, and open hatred toward others. But when we really identify with ourselves and love ourselves for all that we are, we can shine our lights and over power that darkness. It’s time for us to rise. It’s time for us to recognize our light within ourselves and shine bright. There are millions of us out there who are shinning already and I encourage all of you to shine, too. Please. We need you.

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