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Being your true self can be scary. It requires stripping down, being vulnerable and opening yourself up in a way that can hurt like hell.

I wish that embracing my authenticity always felt empowering and wonderful. But these days I’m not feeling very Norma Rae about it all. It seems downright treacherous.

Some days, I wonder why I try.

I love writing. My soul is a writer. However, the idea of other people reading – and possibly criticizing – my writing makes me want to crawl into a very small cave and stay there forever. I am so grateful for this little community that has gathered around Just here. Just now and I am so thankful for the beautiful support y’all have shown me. But it does terrify me to know that you are out there, reading my words. You people scare me just a little. (But thanks for coming. Seriously.)

I’m writing a book.

There. I said it.

It’s been something of a secret book so far, but over the weekend, I let Husband read a very early pre-first draft. When he was finished he said nice things about it. I responded by yelling at him, calling him a liar and sobbing until I couldn’t breathe.

It was not my prettiest moment.

It’s hard to put yourself out there with something that is precious to you. It’s painful to be that exposed. It’s always at that most tender moment that my relentless Monkey Mind swings on over, gets in my face and says – you’re writing a book?? HA! That’s dumb. You’re dumb.

The trouble is that I believe that very persuasive little monkey and it makes me want to chuck my first 150 pages out the window because I don’t want to be a failure.

If I looked at yoga the same way, I’d never go to class. Because through that obscured lens, I could say that every time I go to yoga I “fail” at certain postures. I can’t do the full expression, or I fall out of the pose seven times in 30 seconds. If I looked at my yoga practice the way I see my writing practice — it seems quite ridiculous.

I try to remember that lovely Bikramism:

As long as you are giving 100% effort, you will receive 100% of the benefit.

So, every day I sit down and tap away at the book, word by word. I am learning and finding my voice and speaking my truth. That growth is worthwhile, even if every publisher in the country tells me my book sucks. Even if this process is just for me — there is value there, if I remember to cherish the present moment and just write. Simply because my soul has to write.

What is it that your authentic self needs to do? Maybe you need to sing. Or move to the front row of your yoga class. Or get your resume together for that new job opening. Or finally get some paint on that canvas.

I don’t know what scares the hell out of you but I’ll bet there is something wonderful, authentic and valuable there.

So, let’s all try to be brave and own our authenticity. Let’s be brave enough to stand up on a table like Norma Rae. Let’s stand there with stillness and confidence and hold up a sign that declares to the world – this is who I am.

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