Here’s an interesting thing. It turns out, I used to be afraid of a lot of things. I still am, in fact, but I’m afraid of different things. But the big thing? I’m not afraid of things that I was afraid of at this time last year.

I was just taking stock of what I was doing at this time last year. Mostly, I was studying charisma and charm. That shouldn’t surprise anyone given how much attention it’s getting from me this year. (Have I mentioned my YouTube channel called “Pure Charm”?) I had a goal: to become the next Regional Vice President of South Vancouver Island. To do that I knew I had to have more than a reputation as doing good work. I also needed to be able to convey that to people who didn’t know me. So I spent my entire summer, yes, my entire summer, learning the art of charisma. And I had no idea how far a sweet little past time like that could take me.

God. I really had no idea.

I had a few fears in this. The first was the obvious one. I was running in an election. Less obviously? I was vying for a seat at the table with the big people who ran HEU’s political arm. Even less obviously? It wasn’t enough to study charm. With charm and charisma, you can’t “fake it til you make it.” People can smell a fake from a mile. I needed to learn how to be charismatic and integrate it into my personality. And my fear? If I didn’t learn the lessons well, people would see me as a fake. That’s a political kiss of death. Fake charm is slimy.

Then I had to write a speech. And deliver the speech. And in between writing the speech, I had to face people who would run against me. And some of them were actually mean. Like, really mean. Like, “Wow. Take it easy. Why you being so mean?” kinda mean.

Then I won. And some new mean people teamed up with the old mean people. And then there was a team of mean people. And while I was wondering how that was going to work, I had to learn how to fit in on the Provincial Executive. And learn to be a leader. While going to a new job.

And then there was the trial. I won’t get into what the trial was about because it isn’t relevant. But yep. I initiated charges and off I went to trial as a result. That was hard. I had to learn to create evidence binders and ask questions and answer questions. Oh. And I had to learn to face people who had well-placed friends and some of those people were going to be across from me in the trial. Self-representing in a trial where you don’t know the rules and you’re learning as you go along, but the people across from you definitely do know the rules – it’s a lot to be afraid of all by itself. And I did it.

Then I won the trial. Well. I’ll be jiggered.

To unwind and get my mind off things, I decided to enter a pageant. I mean, that’s so far out of my realm of normal it couldn’t possibly be anything other than fun. And it was. It was fantastic. The stalker I acquired wasn’t so great (not kidding about the stalker), but the pageant was amazing. And yes, it took my mind off the trial. Well, mostly. Some moments intersected in ways I didn’t foresee. Well. Weird. But, sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Oh. And I have learned how to manage a stomach flu in a ball gown. (I didn’t know I needed that skill, but let’s just say, I am proud of not barfing on my sequin gown.) #winning

All of that happened within a six month period along with some other stuff that I won’t get into but I will say this: the rest of 2018 and the first half of 2019 was like being dragged behind a truck… except I’m the one who put myself there and I had the choice to let go at any time. And I would have except that sheer tenacity and and flat out unwillingness to be fearful kept me hanging on.

All of it stemmed from me sitting quietly on the exact same couch I am on right now, with the exact same coffee cup I am sitting next to right now, wondering if I could grow enough as a person to be able to hit a goal. So I sat here and quietly learned about charisma and charm. Wow. Who knew where that would go?

There is something that happens when one leans into fear. First, there is the conquering of that particular fear. But next is where the magic happens. The more often one leans into fear, the less fearful one gets of fear itself.

This week I had to slay a bit of a dragon. I didn’t like it at all and a relationship has been changed for it. But I am no longer afraid of conflict so I met it head on. A secondary challenge came up when I ended up on crutches. Meeting fear head on becomes much more challenging when standing and walking become full time tasks. But like everything else I have chosen this year, I know that with new skills comes new growth. Ugh. Even on crutches.

This has been a year of incredible growth and it’s not over. In fact, a new chapter has just opened in the calendar. I’m enjoying this process because for the first time in my life, I feel really strong and much, much, much less fearful. Instead of drowning under the waves of change and fear, I’m riding them.

I’m self-actualized enough to know that life will throw curve balls that sometimes devastate and letting go of the truck won’t be an option and an ability to ride fears in one scenario doesn’t always prepare for the big one. But this year has been about growth. I’m grateful for that.

Hello, August. I welcome you. And with that, it’s time to go see what I missed on social media.

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