Last night my husband and I went on a long, winding drive. We moved to the Pacific Northwest this year, and I love how I can go for a drive at night while it's raining and I don’t have to worry the rain might turn to ice or snow. It gets chilly here, but the temperatures rarely go below freezing.
As I drove along the narrow road, with farms to my left and right, I thought about that, and I remembered growing up in New England and getting caught in a snowstorm on the highway when I was 20.
My car slipped on the ice, and I stomped on the brake. My car did loops through five lanes of traffic, not hitting any cars, stopping parallel to the cement crash barrier, and facing oncoming traffic.
Traffic was moving slowly, because of the snow. I was near an exit, and two men stopped their truck, stopped traffic, and directed me to drive to the exit. I did that, and I drove on, so freaking lucky I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else.
Ever since then driving in the snow makes all my muscles tense up. I mean, I’m good at it now… like really good. No more breaking hard, but still…tons of anxiety and fear come on whenever the temperature gets near freezing and I’m out driving.
The thing about this fear is that I come by it honestly. Even though I've never had an experience like this since, I KNOW that looping through lanes of highway traffic is a possibility.
Sometimes in the self-help world we talk about fear like it's a made-up thing. Oh, we're worried about so many things that couldn't possibly happen.
But the truth is, people like us often come by our fear honestly.
We're truthtellers, and we want to write about what we really think, feel, and believe. BUT, in the past we've had people blame us, shame us, or reject us for sharing our truth. Those experiences hurt like hell, and now we KNOW that kind of pain is a thing that can happen.
However, just like I needed to keep driving, we need to keep writing and truthtelling. It's what we're made to do, even if people haven't always liked it in the past.
And so our options come down to the same ones I used to have while driving in the snow in New Hampshire.
I needed to breathe, calm my nervous system, and bring my adrenaline down so I could do the scary thing that would get me to the place I needed to go.
When you want to share our truth, one of the best things you can do is breathe deeply. It calms your nervous system. It helps bring you out of fight / flight / freeze mode, and it's just damn good self-care.
Yes, the scary thing could happen and someone could respond negatively to your writing. When you worry about this, breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
And remember, you're doing this because there is a place you want to go. This is the place where there are other people who will not only like and love your writing but who will also be helped by your writing.
I was listening to an interview with Glennon Doyle recently, where she said what she learned from writing the truth online is that "truthtelling can unlock people."
When you share your truth, others who have experienced the same thing can feel seen and often healed by discovering they're not alone.
For your readers, it can bring an enormous sense of relief to discover you have not only been through the same thing as them, but you also know some things about how to move through that challenge.
This is why we write and keep writing. We don't write for the trolls. We write for the readers we are here to help.
And so that's why we breathe, breathe, and breathe some more. So we can do the vulnerable and scary thing we were born to do.
This year, as we write and keep writing, let's also take extra good care of our nervous systems. Drink calming tea. Take deep breaths. Stretch. Move. Take baths. Take naps. You've got this.
P.S. The interview I listened to with Glennon Doyle was in Oprah's audiobook, The Path Made Clear.
P.P.S. Share this letter with a friend whose afraid to share their truth but really wants to write online!
Hi, I'm Emma Veritas!
I'm a writer, blogging coach, personal development teacher, and oracle card reader. I've been writing inspirational blogs, newsletters, and social media posts for 6+ years. This practice has grown me, and calls me ever deeper into healing everything that stops me from showing up as my true self. It has changed my life, and it changes the lives of my readers everyday.
I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in English from the Honor's Program at the University of Massachusetts, where I wrote my thesis on the power of story during hard times.
I completed Martha Beck's Life Coach Training.
I'm an endorsed Soul's Calling Coach.
I am a life long learner in the craft of writing, most recently completing courses on fiction writing and plot development through WritersHQ.
I have been studying energetic healing, meditation, and the intuitive arts for 15+ years, and I can't wait to share these gifts with you.