I’ve been talking about this for months, and now the time is here.
I’m packing up all my things.
This is it.
After over 19 years in New York City, I am moving out of the city.
And even though this is something I have always envisioned,
even though this is ultimately what I want,
even though this move is bringing me closer to the life I have been working for, for SO long….
Have you ever felt this?
Worked so hard towards your Artistic Dream, towards the acclaim you desire and a life that is deeply fulfilling doing work you love where you thrive….and THERE it is, right in front of you…and yet, you feel paralyzed?
We so commonly hear the conversation around Fear of Failure, but what about Fear of Success?
What do we DO when all we want is right in front of us, and we feel overwhelmed?
I moved to NYC back in 1998, fresh out of college, newly married, and ready to “make it”. I grabbed my Backstage paper, and went to as many auditions as I could, booking work very quickly.
After five years in college, I was ready for the hustle and bustle, and felt grounded in being married.
My focus was on my career, but family was always in the future.
I used to declare that one day, we would move out of the city, fantasizing about a real house on the Hudson River.
I was clear I didn’t want to raise a family in the city, and this was where I needed to be while I was building my career.
For live theatre, NYC is the place.
So, I stayed…and I worked, and I hit a ceiling.
My dream of Broadway felt out of my grasp. So many close calls, final auditions….and meanwhile, my marriage that had felt like the calm in the storm was starting to crumble.
I remember doing a production of Romance Romance in the summer of 2010, and my grandmother came to see the show. We were sitting on a bench in the heart of Cape May, NJ in the early evening summer sun, and she inquired around if I was planning on starting to have a family. She grabbed my hand, and squeezed it, looking right through me saying,
Don’t wait too long.
I had just turned 35, and was feeling a panic. I had always thought I would have the family by now….the Broadway show…this wasn’t the timeline I imagined.
My grandmother passed about 7 months later, and on my 36th birthday, I officially got off the pill and started trying.
Except it wasn’t working. I was taking my temperature every day, writing down on charts, going to acupuncture…and nothing. I began to think I was “one of those women” and something was wrong with me.
But, my body was actually protecting me.
My body knew what was coming.
Four months after my 37th birthday, my husband knelt in front of me to share he didn’t want to be married anymore and didn’t want to have kids.
And just when I thought I was going to be moving out of the city and starting a new life….I lost my married home, and moved into a very small 300 square foot one bedroom.
Everything I knew of my life burned to the ground, and I questioned if I would ever have a family.
Would I ever have that home?
Would I ever have a partner that wanted children?
As I turned the key in my new apartment, I walked into a reality I never saw coming.
And then something magical happened…
This new apartment became a cocoon.
This new apartment became a sanctuary.
This new apartment gave me quiet, and the space to create a life I couldn’t conceive of before.
I learned who I really was beneath all the criticism, self judgement, and comparison that had been running the show for so long.
And I healed my heart, learning to love again.
And I met a special man…..who came with a home.
And he lives outside NYC.
Everything I said I wanted.
So, here it is right in front of me….MOVING DAY…..and I’m terrified.
It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it?
Why do we do this to ourselves?
What is REALLY at play underneath the fear?
As Artists we work so hard.
We GIVE, and we give so much of our hearts in the process. Our art is literally an expression of our desires, our fears, and what matters most.
And all of this flows from within us, with the hopes and dreams we will evoke strong emotion in our audience, be fulfilled in our work, and create great art that allows us to thrive.
We are on output SO much, creating endlessly. Our desire so strong to receive the acclaim we desire.
So, what happens when it starts to occur?
What happens when our fans start to rave?
What happens when you are in demand?
You taste that sweetness of being seen, of being heard, of FINALLY an audience that GETS you.
And where do we go?
We get scared it will LEAVE.
As my brilliant therapist so succinctly put it,
With attachment comes fear of loss.
I have literally spent the last five years with one goal in mind,
to find my man and start a family.
With my whole being and heart I have wanted this, and it has been a birthing on a scale I didn’t even know I was capable of.
So, naturally, I am terrified it will slip through my fingers…
just like my last marriage.
And yet, here is the miracle.
This came into my life because I stayed IN it. It came because I gave energy to it, day after day. This move is a manifestation of my efforts.
And now the next chapter begins.
And just like the woman who felt so lost and terrified five years ago, I know what is most important.
The fear is PART OF the journey.
And maybe that home I had been seeking for so long, was in me all along.
Maybe connecting to my inner home, was really the grounding I was needing.
Because that home….never leaves.
“Big challenges stretch us beyond our self-image to something deeper. Who we think we are won’t win this challenge, but who we really are can”
So, what grounds you in your life?
It’s from this “home” you will create your best work, and have the CAPACITY to deal with the fear as it arises. I stand here today and share with you I’m scared AND I am moving WITH that fear.
The fear hasn’t stopped me from moving. I may lose it all, and that’s the chance I am willing to take. In fact, I know life has an end point, and it’s because I know it will end, that I am FREED to take action.
This is your life. How do want to live your days?
What would be possible if you moved WITH your fear?
What action would you take in your Art?
Pack up your things, it’s moving day.
Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography