Someone I deeply respect, and who has had an enormous impact on the art and craft of my teaching unsubscribed from my blog this week. It was after a particularly graphic post that I wrote, about practicing to be fucked in an alley.
While I understand on an intellectual level that the edge I walk in my work as a teacher of sexual liberation is not for everyone, inside my heart, I felt pain, and another surprising feeling: shame.
The voices of self-doubt rose strongly: am I doing anything that has meaning? Am I not going to be liked, respected, accepted, loved because I insist on pushing the boundaries of sexual freedom in such a public way? Should I tone it down, practice and explore privately? Am I too going too far, beyond that radical edge, to where my work loses relevancy? The level of doubt was staggering.
Maybe, I thought, I should step away from this work, and go back to working with kids with dyslexia. No one ever unsubscribed from that blog. (Okay, I didn’t really have a dyslexia blog, but in my oh-so-fun shame story, they wouldn’t have if I did have one!)
I am not sure if self-doubt and feeling unworthy are the same exactly, but they are pretty darned close. Who am I to do this? Why would anyone want to work with me? These are the unworthy voices.
There is something so scary in doubting what I’m doing. What if I’m lying to myself? What if I am delusional? I don’t want to be dependant on external validation by others, but in these moments, I find I am.
I know it’s not sexy. I know successful people often hide these kinds of thoughts behind a veneer of confidence. Which is exactly why I want to speak them. I get so tired when I try to hide insecurity, judgement, doubt. Actually, hiding them seems to empower them, make them stronger. I have found that if I just name these shadow feelings aloud, radical and scary as it is, they seem to dissipate.
So, dear readers, today’s post isn’t for your benefit, per se. It is for my own… to publicly own all of those unlovable parts. To claim transformational process as a state of being, replete with doubt and shame. To be honest about how it actually is today, inside this skin sack I’m wearing.
And I do want the kind of world where we can all be honest about the shadow places, the fear places, the small places, and find love and acceptance out there. I spoke with my partner, who is often wise in the ways of transformative process. What he said is that self-doubt is just part of the process. It’s to be expected, planned for even.
And so, wallowing within the void of self-doubt, I prayed. I asked Spirit for a sign. “Please, please show me and let me know that you want me to keep doing this., that I am meant to do this.”
I mean, I’ve trusted this process thus far. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting deeply that I am being led in good ways through my life. I’ve made so many scary, risk-taking-you-could-really-regret-this-later kinds of decisions, and they have always worked out. I have trusted that a higher intelligence guides my work, and that there is a benevolence that is holding me as I move through my days. I have said, and continue to say, “Yes” to what is.
Well, I did get my sign, my coincidence, my synchronicity. Yesterday, I came across and read a beautiful blog post, one which made me cry. After reading, I was checking out more of the blog, an lo and behold, the author (someone I have never met) had written to me a couple of weeks ago, telling me how deeply they appreciate my work, how they are coming to San Francisco soon, how they would like to meet me. In that moment of connectedness, I felt my heart open. While I continue to feel fear and sadness and the loss of the kind of passability that comes with being an educational therapist and not with being a sex coach, I know I am going to keep bringing it. In spite of self-doubt, I continue on, as evidenced by the writing of this blog post.
Because I think that this TRULY what successful people do. They keep bringing it, and bringing it, in spite of objection, persecution, obstacles, self-doubt, and loss. They keep bringing it because they have to, because it gives their life deep fucking meaning, and they really believe in their work that much. They truly cannot do anything else. They keep fucking bringing it, until they fucking die. I am of that ilk. So, though I know the cost of admission is painful, and that the road will be fraught with self-doubt, I am going to fucking bring it, until I fucking die. I can’t really do anything else.