Well Friends,

October was a big one. A new single out, and I got to shepherd the first group of travelers across The Hallowed Wide 🔮 #guidedtour…

Toward the beginning of this year, I made a promise to look my scariest scaries right in the face moving forward, and these last several weeks have really put that commitment to the test for me in more than a few ways.

Furthermore, as I look back on October’s pod guests, it seems (appropriately for spooky month 🎃) that fear was a common theme…

On Fear: An Ode to Spooky Season 👻

Dawn and I talked a lot about the sort of fundamental and overarching fear of attempting something heartfelt in the first place—the courage it takes to stake a claim in our own creative voices. Then more specifically, I loved hearing Dawn reflect on the cold-sweat feeling of taking on all of the technical and logistical necessities around those heartfelt projects. The software, the equipment, the accounting, the cold calls, the spreadsheets of it all.

It was wonderful to hear Dawn put words to the very real feeling of starting something new, and genuinely not knowing whether you’ll be able to figure it out. This is something I’ve experienced SO many times. And just as Dawn says, the more times you start something with this level of fear—the more you let that dread wash over you as you “come what may” yourself right into the thick of it—the more you learn to take that initial feeling as a familiar-if-unpleasant bedfellow, knowing you’ve been through this before. Each terrifying thing is less terrifying than the last because you’ve simply done terrifying things so many times.

Emily gave a gorgeous example of approaching fear creatively. She shared that her first move to New York City (pursuing fashion design) left her the loneliest she’d ever been. But being the brilliant creative that she is, she took that loneliness (and honestly, what’s scarier than loneliness?) and learned to feel comfortable within it. She taught herself not to fear loneliness. 🤯 She managed a creative reframing OF the loneliness itself as its own sort of power. And THEN, she created a whole new branch of her life as a person who regularly travels the world alone. This kind of meta creativity inspires me more than literally anything.

And speaking of meta creativity…it was great to talk with Ryan about consuming art that scares us, or makes us uncomfortable. We talked about learning to question and investigate that initial feeling of discomfort or dislike around a new medium, genre, subject matter, etc. Of course, there will be works and styles each of us ultimately won’t prefer, but I love building my own values around extending patience toward anything unfamiliar. I want to at least sit still long enough to know that I understand what it is I’m even seeing.

By now you I’m always on one about how true creativity is much more of a heart/head activity than any sort of technical skill, and this idea of creative patience is right at the crux of that belief. Committing to extend curiosity, patience, suspension of disbelief toward works of art is a beautiful way to build the kind of patience we’ll extend toward our fellow human animals.

Summarily dismissing art—often a deep expression of the humanity of the artist, or their subjects—trains our heads and hearts to dismiss actual people (their stories, their perspectives) with similar ease. Learning to sit with discomfort or fear in art means cultivating empathy. It’s the creative reframing of an “other,” or perhaps a bona fide paradigm shift (if we’re lucky). So, I say take that training ground wherever you can find it! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

As a final note…I’ve started to realize recently that my raised-by-narcissists childhood has resulted in my seeing myself as “other” in a pretty fundamental way. I know what it feels like to be in my head and in my heart, but it’s really difficult for me to trust or believe that anyone else will see that. I’ve learned to understand myself through the eyes of people determined to misunderstand and misposition me. Is that relatable, or is this a “just me” thing? It feels pretty confusing—but lately I’m trying my best to rewrite my private narrative about how others are most likely to receive me, my stories, my work. It’s max scary. But I’m going there…😳

What about you? What’s spooking you these days?

If you want to share, I’d love to hear which scaries you’re diving into lately. Where is your meta creativity taking you?

xoxo,

Emily