(Warning: this post contains language anyone over the age of 3 with access to a TV or internet will have heard.)
Admit it. You're a pansy.
It's okay, we all are.
You know what I'm a pansy about?
People ask me all the time why I live in Los Angeles instead of my native New York. It's not because I like NYC less - in fact I feel more like myself at home. But I stay hiding out west because I'm absolutely terrified of anything below 50 degrees.
I haven't seen my dad in almost a year and a half, and it's going to be even longer because I refuse to plan a trip until the Big Thaw.
It doesn't stop there. I'm a wuss with even bigger things. Like submitting my writing.
I'm a storytelling coach and produced playwright. I've been editing professionally for over a decade.
And I'm still terrified. I rely on jealousy and competition to light a big enough fire underneath my pansy ass, but barring that, I just sit, fret, and eat another piece of stone-ground chocolate.
Let's stop this. You go first.
How To Stop Being a Pansy
1) Accept your pansiness
The Course in Miracles a.k.a. Awesomest Book Ever tells us we're God's children and our natural state is blameless, forgiven, and fearless.
I'm not entirely convinced. It feels more like 80% of the time we're walking around like traumatized children, one playground fight away from road raging in our SUVs or crying inconsolably in a cocoon of blankets and unwashed hair. This number rises to 99% if you're a writer.
2) Realize that your pansiness is what's standing between you and your ultimate life.
Do you want to get into a better college than you ever dreamed you could?
Being a pansy won't get you there.
Do you want to have an awesome girlfriend?
Being a pansy won't help you call her.
Do you want to raise more funds this month than you have all year?
You know the drill. Don't be a pansy.
3) Determine how much pansiness is okay.
For me, being a weather wuss is totally fine. So is being terrified of $3000 a month studios and the 2 hours it takes to get back to Queens after midnight on the maybe-running F line.
But being a pansy in my career is not okay. Anytime I fear myself into procrastination, that's another day, week, month wasted on inaction.
Being a pansy with my writing is not okay. I came right out and told some fellow writers about my hesitation and one of them offered to apply her boot firmly to my rear. My very wussy rear. I immediately said yes.
4) Reveal your pansiness everywhere - help is all around
That brings us to the vital step. Once you've weeded out your acceptable pansiness from the holding-up-my-life pansiness, show your panties. Tell those you trust your fears and complacencies. If they're strong enough to lift you up out of your mire of negative self-talk and endless chocolate, let them.
5) Lastly, fuck the haters.
This one is the hardest to deal with.
That's why Step 3 is to tell THOSE YOU TRUST. Not everyone needs to know you're a pansy. (Unlike this blog post, which I should probably reconsider posting in public.)
You may get cited by the spiritual police. I was publicly singled out for using words like "pansy-ass" during a very un-pansy moment of sharing my fears and my truth.
A clear sign there's a pansiness epidemic is that people don't want to talk about it. Or maybe they don't like seeing a woman using words that are okay for a guy to say.
Being censured almost stopped me. My pansy side took over and I wanted to lay down in fetal position and rock for the next 3 days, screw the chocolate. "Somebody doesn't like me!"
But I remembered the blog voice I admire the most: terribleminds. Chuck Wendig regularly uses fouler language that what's in this post and just last week lovingly accused his readers of suffering from a Twitter-transmitted brain parasite. He doesn't worry what people think and the internet flocks to him in droves, reposting his incisiveness by the thousand.
You'll hit bad nerves. You'll hit good ones.
But if you're a pansy, you won't hit anything at all.