What is that Thing you want to do? Have you figured out why you’re not doing it yet?

I am going to use myself as an example.

In school, I was incredibly PAINfully shy. I was anxious to the point of physical discomfort. The thought of someone asking me a question that I didn’t know the answer to made my stomach hurt. I didn’t make friends easily, didn’t talk to people. Going to school was torture. So, somehow, as a teenager, I recognized this pattern wasn’t working for me. I auditioned for plays. In college I started up my theatre training. Forced myself to speak in front of others and get up on stage. It hurt a LOT!! But once I pushed myself through it a few times, it didn’t hurt anymore. It became fun! And more importantly, I knew that I had changed myself. I felt empowered.

When I was 16 my Mother wanted to teach me how to drive. All the other kids were driving, but I didn’t really want to. I liked being driven around by Mom, Dad and friends. She took me for driving lessons and I was a mess. I almost ran into a school bus. My side mirror got swiped off (Oops!) They bought me a car and I got used to it. We called it the Blue Bomber because we bought it used from an older man who painted it metallic blue so he could see it in the parking lot. Then I decided I could do better. I couldn’t drive a manual, and I decided that would be a good challenge. So I brought a friend who could drive manual to the dealership, we traded in the Blue Bomber and got my pretty Chevy Beretta. I bought a car I couldn’t drive to force myself to learn how to drive it. And it worked. I learned quick! It wasn’t easy, but I felt empowered once I had conquered it.

I’ve followed this pattern a lot in my life. Probably the biggest example is when I moved to New York. After I graduated from FSU in 1997 I moved in with my parents in Fredericksburg, Virginia to work and save up some money for my next move. I had no idea what that next move would be, but I was enjoying life and wasn’t too worried about it. I got a job as a waitress at Applebee’s, started teaching Fitness Classes at Bally’s in McLean, VA (I think? Maybe it was Fairfax?) and also in Fredericksburg, and I got a part in a play at a new dinner theatre in the area. Between all of those fun ‘jobs’ I saved up enough money within a year to venture out and do whatever!

Someone suggested New York. I was still into acting so it seemed like a good idea. New York was about the most intimidating, scary place I could think of to move in the US. And I was freaked out. I found my now friend, Joanne Morton, on a yahoo list of some sort for housing, and after one phone conversation she let me move in to sleep on her couch in her East Village apartment for one month.  We were both crazy, it was a crazy move. I jumped right into the middle of it. The test was, she would let me stay for one month for $400. In that time, if I didn’t sink my heels, teeth, claws, whatever into another place to live and a job, then I would go back to Virginia. So, it was a one month test. And it started on October  4, 1998. It was ON!

I remember as my Mother and I drove up I-95 that I was thinking “What the Hell am I doing?” We almost got into a car accident in heavy rain. Seemed like a bad omen. I wanted to throw in the towel. The second that instinct kicks in, the other, stronger one that I’ve seemed to develop kicked in and said “Oh no, you’re not getting out of this so easy. You’re going to follow this through!” It was a conflicted day. But in the end, I did follow through.

The first morning I woke up on Joanne’s couch I got up and went to a dance audition. I also went to pick up job applications. Within 2 weeks I had 2 jobs- one at the Drama Book Shop, and one at a bar/restaurant called Flight 151 which had locations in Chelsea and way up upper east side. Not sure what 94th and 3rd Ave was called back then. Within the month, one of the girls I waitressed with needed a sublet for her apartment in Queens, so I was in. Still taking it one day, one week, one month at a time. One thing lead to another and here I am! Right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I feel passionately is my purpose.

This all occured to me just a day ago- that I am terrified of lots of things. But the things I am the most terrified of I dive headfirst into. I want to conquer! I want to feel exhilarated and alive! And I have, and do.

So what is it that you want to do? What is holding you back? It’s ok to be afraid- it’s what you do with your fear that makes all the difference. Do you give into it? Or do you face it head on? Remember this; as far as we know, we have one life to live. It’s up to YOU to live it!!

Jump right into the Middle of it ALL!!!


Miranda Zukowski

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