by Autumn Lee on April 30, 2016
Curiosity killed the cat…you are not a cat.
“You must be used to getting rejected.” a friend said to me other day. I looked at him sideways and he explained, “Sorry, that sounded different when I thought it in my head.” I had come to him confessing my fear about an upcoming commercial audition and his response was from a place of caring and simply stating the obvious…I had experienced many, many rejections and apparently bounced back unscathed…so why was this one any different. The truth was that I experience fear in each and every audition. However, that fear does not define me and thus I have power over it…because I am endlessly curious. And curiosity crushes fear every time. I believe that a life lived bold and on the skinny branches, even if messy and questionable, is far better than a mundane life paralyzed by fear.
Mohadesa Najoumi writes, “The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” Does this woman who lives with out the need for validation not face fear? Of course she faces it, she has simply nurtured her innate curiosity to be far greater than her attachment to fear! Did you know that the first, simplest and most identifiable human emotion is….curiosity! Curiosity is the essence of what grows us and the most direct route to happiness. You, are built foundationally to be curious.
Amy Shumer, a popular comedian, recently had an article written about her where some of her best friends were interviewed. When asked about Amy, her bestie declared, “She does not care what people think about her to a clinical level.” Perhaps this is true of Amy and perhaps not. If she does indeed live in a place where she does not experience any fear of what people think of her….I find that limiting….because it is from acknowledging fear and acting in spite of it, that courage is born. For me finding the endless courage in curiosity…to act, even when I am really, really scared…is where the most profound growth happens. Facing fear is where all the good stuff is manifested and truly where the most fun happens!
Maybe what Amy has really learned is the same thing I learned about my vagina when I was 16. My mother took me to the gynecologist to get on birth control. I was paralyzed with fear of judgment, embarrassment, humiliation, and basically a general fear of my vagina being exposed to a stranger. Still, I knew that is what responsible teens did and it had to be done. As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around at all the other women and imagined their vaginas. There were lots of different types of women sitting there of various ages, weights and cleanliness standards. At that moment it occurred to me that I probably had one of the best vaginas in the bunch and that after seeing all those other vaginas all day long, the doctor probably didn’t give a shit about mine. That day I learned that no one really wants to expose their vagina to a stranger, but that once we realize that everyone is experiencing the same uncomfortability in life, it kinda takes the power out of the fear. Get it? We are ALL scared. ALL of us. But we can act, daily, in spite of the fear because life is too curious, exciting and full of adventure to get stuck.
When people come into my studio we generally sit and chat a bit. I want to learn more about them and hopefully put them at ease. Months ago a soft spoken woman with warm eyes, beautiful skin, and grounding energy came to my studio for business head shots. We chatted a bit, she expressed her extreme nervousness about the shoot, and I assured her I would take good care of her. The shoot went well; we laughed a bunch, got great photos, and she said it was a profoundly awesome experience. At the end of the session, as she was leaving, she humbly asked me if I would be able to touch up the cut on her lip. She shared that she had been so intensely fearful during the week about the shoot that she had been nervously chewing on her lip. I hugged her tightly and with all my love, I assured her she would love her pictures and that I was proud of her for acting in spite of fear. I really, really, really understand.
I get it. Fear feels real. How we deal with fear is what matters. Stephen Batcherlor compares fear to a wave. “If we try to avoid a powerful wave looming above us on the beach, it will send us crashing. But if we face it head-on and dive right into it, we discover only water.” This metaphor is spot on. Life is full of impending waves. They will come regardless if I want them to or not. I choose to be curious about them, to meet them with grace and bow into the wave.
I am often rejected. I care what people think. My need for validation is with out end. I profoundly feel fear. CURIOSITY IS MY DAILY DRUG.
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein