Hello, hello to my dear friends! I am blessed to have so many of you that every now and then I choose to write a collective message instead of personal ones because writing individually would take months :). But also because I often have one central idea or a message to share from the year before… And, great news: this year’s message is unusually short!
Events of 2012 got me thinking about fear of success… Libraries have been written on fear of failure, but sometimes I think the opposite holds us back from what we could have achieved… I myself ended up face-to-face with my probably most persistent secret phobia yet, but it wasn’t the end of the world, after all. I hope I can, now knowing my enemy by the face, battle its ass into oblivion during 2013. After all, 13 is the lucky number! AND I absolutely love snakes, too! 🙂 🙂 🙂
In the best traditions of previous editions, here is a quick re-cap of 2012 events from my side:
In 2012 I managed to: finally get a driving licence. I also for some reason designed a dress. I started writing 2 books – one of which you’d never know about from me ;). I finally launched the MAD DAWN Challenge project, but lost my partner and the original video footage. That threw me off my timeline for the project by a whole year…
After it all went wrong, I expected to have an uneventful year. Instead, I managed to dance and travel all over the place again, covered a lot of ‘old’ ground and added one new country to my ‘been to’ list. I went to Amsterdam Salsa-Zouk Congress;Prague International Zouk Congress (ok, I live here…); I accidentally ended up at the first Zouk Congress in Paris, after spending some homeless time in the city and roaming the Montmartre cemetery; had a lovely time in Dresden (managing two flashmobs in two countries in one day!); rode ranch horses in Podoli; closed (almost) every party at Berlin Zouk Congress; was ‘kidnapped’ from my intended relax-time into Italy by my mom, then accidentally ended up at the Moscow Zouk Congress, then proceeded directly to Holland (having not slept for almost 3 days…) for the Scheveningen Salsa and Zouk Beach Festival; had half of it all not go according to the plan in Croatia, came back thinking I’d finally manage to do some stuff in Prague but went off to Zurich instead for the 1st Swiss Zouk Festival, where I had way too much fun; after a short breather went to the Prague Samba Zouk Congress, after which I had an emergency rescue operation befall me (instead of an expected trip to Paris…), which extended into about a week of partying before during and after the Amsterdam Zouk Congress; took part in the International Zouk Flash Mob; caused a virtual riot after the 1st Dutch International Zouk Congress in Breda; then did a Prague-Moscow-Maldives (the new addition)-Colombo-Moscow-Prague stretch; a few days later went to Lloret del Mar for the Zouk and the Chocolate Factory congress, managed to actually perform there, then stayed in Barcelona and had a blast (fun stories and action pictures here/city pictures here). If 2013 ends up just as ‘uneventful’ – sign me up! Although I have other hopes and aspirations than simply floating from one location to another, which brings us back to…
…the central theme of this year’s Message to the World…
You see, back when I came up with the idea of the MAD DAWN Challenge project, it was thing one huge dream-of-my-life type of a thing. It would require a lot of work and effort, but it would be pretty much the only thing I’d love to do in life (well, besides writing a load of random stuff and taking a load of random pictures on the side…). And then everything got delayed… At first it was delayed because I was still finishing college. Then because I was dealing with some personal issues and pretty much phased out of life for several months… Then because I lost my partner and the original footage… And now… Almost two years later… Now I’m waiting for another video’s edit to re-start the whole process… But am I, really?
Sometimes I think I find excuses for not making things work more effectively than I find solutions and ways that would make them work. When it comes to other people, it’s the exact opposite, but applying any ‘wisdom’ to myself is one hell of a challenge. The worst thing about it, things I find most excuses for postponing are exactly the things I’d LOVE to be doing… I can blame it all as much as I want on circumstances, but my circumstances are, after all, nothing even close to stuff other people in the world have to go through daily – and they manage much better to toughen up and simply work through to their dreams. So where does this self-stopping come from? I first thought about the good old familiar ‘what if it doesn’t work?’ reason, but then again: if something doesn’t work, at least I would have tried and, well, worst that can happen is I’d be back to where I started – and I can’t really say my baseline existence is so dire that such a landing would be unbearable. No – I am among the fortunate few in this world who even CAN have some weird dream and can afford to give it a try, instead of fighting for daily bread and survival, and I can fail as many times as I wish to, while still landing softly. Is it that then? Is it the ‘soft landing’ that fuels this aversion to trying to fly?
Maybe. But maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe it’s actual fear, but not of failure – of success. Some laziness may be sprinkled in, of course, because success takes hard work. Still, I’m known for obsessive dedication to tasks that I either have to do or really want to do, which most often beats any laziness. But fear – fear of actually succeeding – that probably is the poison in my well…
Why? Oh, I could come up with a million cool-sounding excuses of why succeeding may be such a terrifying idea for me, but I think it boils down to the very simple, very stupid, but very persistent notion of “who am I to deserve this?”. I’m not good enough to deserve to live a dream. I haven’t done anything to deserve the fortunes I have had and still have in life (and this is absolutely true, pretty much everything I ever had in life was obtained by sweat and blood of my parents, not mine), who am I to want even more? All that self-depreciating type of nonsense that is, despite its silliness, surprisingly persistent.
Sometimes I can trick myself into avoiding my inner demons who are so hot about those ideas. After all, somewhere in the back of my head I realize, also, that my potential success and happiness are the best tribute to the opportunities and support I was given by others in this life. That if I manage to live my dream, it would be the best gift and pay-back to my parents, to whom I owe everything. But “I don’t deserve it” mantra still often trumps any rationality…
Plus it’s a bit difficult to fight a war on one’s own. Normally it requires troops. In any wars with inner demons, the troops are the friends, the family and the people who support you through each battle and, hopefully, help you through to a final winning march. Regardless of how much I am used to sorting my stuff out on my own, something bigger than myself, like the project I still want to make come alive, is something I can never build just by my own two hands. The nature of that project is simply such that it’s impossible without other people. I think losing the person who seemed to most believe in this project from day 1, as well as (apparently) losing someone else who I thought of as an emotional anchor were the two events that made the “I don’t deserve it, I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough” magic spell take the strongest hold of me so far… I’m still licking the wounds and I’m still faced with “just give it up” mental trolls every single day, but screw it – I’m angry now. I’m angry at the loss of this support. I’m angry that I wasted time and mental energy while waiting to find out what and why was going on with those two people – time and energy I could, if I knew what the deal was, divert elsewhere. Somewhere more productive, maybe? I’m angry at myself, too, for being so dependent on others for the initial support and motivation. I just hope I’m angry enough to keep on going, because at this point I have nothing else powerful enough to fuel any progress.
I’ll probably end up following through with it all, even if later rather than sooner. Most likely, at this point, out of sheer spite and stubbornness. And don’t even think about telling me that these are no noble motivations – fuck this. If they are the only type of motivation I can fully rely on to do what I feel is my calling and obligation to my family in one, then I’ll use those. Any weapon is better than no weapon in a battle against persistent self-depreciation, especially aided by those closest to one’s heart basically walking out on you without a word. If needed, I’ll call upon any ‘nasty’ inner emotions to my aid: rage, jealousy, contempt, pride – you name it – to win the war. Sometimes the darker forces of human nature are simply stronger motivators than the fluffy-furry stuff. I’ll switch over to the fluffy after I get the hard shit done, thank you very much, if the only way to get the hard shit done is by employing the worst of inner demons. In the light of those inner ponderings of my own, here is what I want to wish all of you for 2013:
I wish you success. No matter what you think or what anyone tells you, you DO deserve it. You ARE worth it.
More than that – it is essential that you follow your dreams and make them true. When you achieve something, you make the slacking losers like myself look up to you and say “damn… That’s pretty awesome, I wanna do something like that!” and maybe, just maybe, on occasion, tear our lazy asses off the chairs and go ahead DO things for ourselves, too.
I also wish that you would never have to pull it off alone. It may be ‘noble’, but it’s fucking hard and depressing on that lonely road, too. I wish you to have people near you who will keep helping you on your way and encouraging you at every major step.
I also wish you to remember that, when you encounter someone with a dream, even the smallest sign of interest and support may be that magical final drop in the cup of their resolve and determination to do something great and miraculous in their lives. So BE those people, if you can. Encourage your friends, encourage strangers. Help them, if you can and it is simple for you to do.
When a load of people come together and do a load of small things – any miracles are possible. Never forget that you are a part of that ‘load’, an essential part, for anyone you know. Hopefully, if you live by the pay-it-forward principle, the seeds of the kindness and support you show to others will roll back to you tenfold.
I’m not talking about going out of your way to help every human being you ever see – it’s impossible. But please, when you encounter someone you (even barely) know (or not at all), who mentions that they have a dream, if you have a spare minute, send at least a few encouraging words their way. Not everyone has enough courage, or spite and stubbornness, to do things on their own – people need you, just as you need them. Think of how much better our world would be if other people’s great ideas found support when it was much needed.
Let us all, together as a human race, through mutual support and encouragement, have a much more successful and encouraging 2013.
Happy New Year to you all.