After a year of “finding myself” (I am a 70’s girl after all), I finally acknowledged that I am an entrepreneur. For years I’ve told people that is what I wanted to be but I have always been afraid.
If anything has defined my life, it has been the need to conquer fear. When you are a woman you are socialized for fear. The primary physical fear of men starts as soon as you have to buy your first tampon. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love men. When I was a girl I thought I wanted to be one. Not physically, I just wanted all the perks of being a man which I now realize means that I didn’t want to be afraid. And of course I know now that men have a whole different set of burdens but most aren’t afraid of being raped.
Lets face it, that is the fear we cover up under all our other fears. We learn to be nice girls and to not go out at night or wear revealing clothes. We learn to back down and avoid male dominant places. We learn that our fathers worry about our safety constantly. What could possibly be a more obvious sign that we actually do have something to fear than the primary man in our life being afraid of other men hurting us.
I hate feeling fear. It pisses me off that I am afraid. I’m probably less afraid than many women. I have fought fear over and again. I have challenged my weaknesses over and again. I went to college 600 miles away and never intended to go safely home again. Then I got drunk and did fall victim to one of the “nice” boys at my fancy college. See, my dad was right, men are dangerous and I should have been more afraid.
Martial arts classes changed everything. With my black belt I learned self defense and found that I loved to fight. I conquered physical fear in a way that I never believed was possible. I will never feel like a victim of men again. I know how to fight.
I have fought cycles of major depression and suicide all my life. I think I never made an actual attempt largely because I was afraid of failing and being pitiful. I hid behind a confident facade while I quaked in fear underneath. I was actually afraid of myself. Finally it became so frightening that I checked myself into the hospital to keep myself safe. And there I learned to fight again. I fought with medication and learned to consciously change my thinking.
When you have looked death right in the eye, it can become your friend and teacher. You learn to see it as peace rather than as anihilation. It no longer seems like something to fear. Choosing life is an act of courage and suddenly nothing else looks too scary.
At least that is what I thought until I decided to become an entrepreneur. Now I am conquering fear again. Fear of looking foolish is the biggest one. I fear failure not because I will lose money but because I will lose my self confidence which I have fought so hard to earn.
But fighting through fear is what I do. This will be no different. Failure is an essential element of being an entrepreneur. I know this and yet I will do it anyway and I will win. Even if I lose money and make a fool of myself I will win because I have tried.