I fear success.
This doesn’t mean I’m not actively pursuing and crushing my goals. I am slowly walking in the direction of my purpose. Slowly but surely I’ll be there.
It’s more about other people’s reaction to my so-called success.
Case in point: Last week at school, I brought in a copy of the November 2009 Essence magazine. Significance? I was featured (in a 2×3 photo) in the Street Style section. That was almost two years ago. I can remember taking the photo in front of the building I lived in on 48th Street and 10th Avenue. It was a hot day in July (magazines shoot way early and there was no guarantee they would feature my photo that month). I wore my favorite thrifted plaid blazer a collar shirt, maroon tie, skinny jeans and equestrian boots. I had been passed up a couple months prior for an actual spread in Essence and this was my second chance.
I waited for a few months and was assured that I would definitely be featured. A couple months passed and I had seen two Street Style spreads that featured everyone except me. The excitement passed and when I least expected it, I received a bbm from a good friend of mine. It was a picture of me!!! In Essence!!!
Fast forward almost two years. I’m in a classroom telling one of my co-workers that I was featured and she asks me to bring it in. Months later, I found the magazine while getting my hair washed at a salon (didn’t feel like washing my own hair).
I snagged the copy and remembered to bring it in for “Show and Tell”.
So, last week, I pulled out the worn copy and folded it back to the page that featured yours truly.
“Ms. S, here’s the issue of Essence I was telling you about.”
“Oh, wow! Look, class, Ms. Brown is in a magazine!”
I was passed around to a room full of impressionable tweens who previously saw me as the mean math teacher. All of a sudden, I was cool. Ha!
Apparently, she told a few of our team members and I was asked to show them as well. I was instantly 12 years old all over again. Embarassed for being me.
Honestly, I didn’t want to show anyone else. I try and keep my school life very separate from my personal life. I’m aware that I’m not “just a teacher” but I don’t like too much attention.
While my students and co-teachers were very excited and full of questions, I was more shy and guarded. I was afraid of being seen as more than. What if they thought I thought I was some celebrity? It’s just one picture in one magazine, right?
I may be overthinking this, but it made me realize that this fear of being great (in other people’s eyes) is paralyzing me. I haven’t been writing, blogging, praying, as much as I should. I’m in a cycle of change and I know I must get back in the plane and allow the pilot to fly me towards His greatness.
Maybe I’ll accept it once I realize it’s not about me. It’s His light that shines through me. I completely understand that God has not given me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) so I won’t claim fear any longer.
In the words of Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I grant you permission to be great today or not at all!
Time to respect the process and fly.