I’m currently on a 7-hour flight to Reno. For some reason, I always write my most important words on airplanes. There’s something about being 10,000 feet up in the air and looking down at everything on the ground. You start to feel small. You realize you are pretty small and life is pretty short. You’ve got a short window of time to make a dent in your space in the world. Use it wisely, I tell my chaotic and often conflicting heart. Use every moment wisely.
Since I left the Ranch some big things have happened for me, and I wish I had been disciplined enough to write about them so that I could have brought you along in my journey, but alas, I have the self-discipline of an unsupervised 4-year-old in a candy store. And so, a re-cap will have to do. I started back at school this summer, classes just finished up last week. And guys, I have to confess, it felt gooood. To be challenged, yes, but to measure up and meet that challenge head on. I did a really fucking good job in school, but more than that, I loved it. Every fucking minute. And that put things into perspective. That I can thrive and flourish and find a home in the midst of feeling uncomfortable or scared. I had no idea what being back in school would feel like, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to handle the pressure or perform at the standard I was holding myself too, but I did. Vibrantly.
I’m learning that it is one thing to know your weakness and another thing to project your weakness out of fear that you don’t add up. At the end of each day, I am not my insecurity. I am not my anxiety. I am not my fear. Going back to school, there wasn’t an option to leave early and run back to what was comfortable and still be able to name it success like at the Ranch. If I dropped out, it was called failure. Up until classes, I was trying things and putting myself out there, but only kind of. I was projecting confidence but inside doubting. I was pushing my limits but only daintily. I was bragging about living large and trying new things, but I never made myself stay there long enough to grow. School changed that.
I think that’s why I left the Ranch, because I was uncomfortable and a little bit scared, and I knew I could call it quits and still be patted on the back for a job well done. Failing was absolutely an option, and it looked like coming home with a fat paycheck and spending the week in NYC with my best friend. The fear of failing didn’t outshine the fear of being here and not measuring up to the other girls. The discomfort of having to tell everyone I was coming home early wasn’t near as large as the discomfort of having to be on my own in a new setting and stay there. I love being the center of attention. I shine brightest when I’m with a group of people that I know love me, in a situation that suits me, doing things I love. The Bunny Ranch was none of those things at first, and I didn’t like feeling like the outsider. It became a petri dish for my insecurity and anxiety to flourish. I felt awkward, inadequate, tepid.
But here’s the thing about being back in school, I didn’t just learn the differences in Constitutional interpretation or the intricacies of how a law is made; I also learned that at some point you have to realize fear of inadequacy, or anxiety over your likability, is not a good enough reason to rob yourself of opportunities. They don’t get to be the excuses you use to justify not doing your best or giving it your all. I think it is possible to be stepping up onto a platform and kicking yourself down from it at the same time. It is possible to let your weakness shine brighter than your character. And I think it’s tragic. I think we waste so much time wondering why we are where we are. Or why we are the people we are. I want to look through a different lens. I want my life to be exuberant and purposeful. I want to be able to say I am qualified for this day, that I am equipped for this experience. That I am competent, and valid, and able. And I refuse to let anxiety be the thing that holds me back from whatever experience I’m facing.
So, that’s why I’m coming back, to The Bunny Ranch. Because fear cannot win, I simply refuse to let cowardice dictate my life. I have to give it another try, because I want more for my life. I would hate to look back and see that I had a real chance to be a part of something bigger than myself, that I had a real chance to grow and learn more about myself, but instead I let fear and anxiety keep me from those experiences. From those stories. From the friendships. From the lessons. If I could ace (yes, I finished the semester with an A!) Professor U’s History of American Politics class, then I can most definitely find my place among the beautiful bunnies here at the Ranch. Anything else is wholly unacceptable.
So wish me luck, I promise to blog more and worry less this time around.