I have a friend with serious health problems. Not only does she have lupus, she has just about every intersecting disease you can possibly have when your immune system has gone rogue and decided to destroy your home planet. AND before she got her official diagnosis, she was dicked around by doctors for YEARS. One of them even tried to tell her it was all in her head and get her to take antidepressants. Like THAT would make it all go away.
Now my friend is one seriously smart cookie. She did the research. She diagnosed herself. She suggested which tests would help narrow down the causes of all her symptoms, and she pointed out all the intersecting diseases associated with lupus. And they patted her on the head and told her she was wrong. Probably.
However, after repeated and painful testing, she proved herself right. Unfortunately. Sort of. (It’s good to FINALLY have a diagnosis to work with.)
Imagine feeling like crap all of the time. Having no energy. Having random parts of your body go numb. Not being able to eat because your stomach shrieks every time you put food in it. Having a migraine for weeks at a time. Being disoriented. Dizzy. Breaking out in rashes. Hurting EVERY TIME YOU MOVE.
Can you imagine? I honestly can’t. I’d be a mess.
But my friend refuses to let her spirit be conquered by her body. She has published several books in the last 17 months (during a lupus flare that just won’t let go). She has started two new businesses, adding to the three she already runs. She’s a mom. She dresses like a real person and goes to work. She’s seen more movies than I have this year. She does ALL THE THINGS. She’s told me that if she has to feel like shit all the time, she’s determined to feel like shit while doing the things she wants to do. She isn’t going to let her health stop her more than absolutely necessary.
As I was driving my middle kid to her early jazz band practice this morning, I pondered where and how and what makes my friend able to keep going and doing and ass kicking while her body is shutting down. And yes, I compared myself to her because I haven’t published anything new (except the re-releases of the Come Again series) in the last 17 months. It came to me – instantly. The same epiphany I always have. No blinding burst of like, exactly, but enough illumination to make me want to share it with you.
My friend doesn’t doubt herself. Not even when DOCTORS disagree with her. She perseveres. She finds new doctors. She keeps writing and publishing what she wants, where she wants, when she wants. She doesn’t question every idea, sentence, chapter. She creates and keeps creating and doesn’t waste energy telling herself she’s wrong.
I question EVERYTHING. I wear myself out. Unnecessarily, so unnecessarily. It’s hard to stop doubting when doubt is hardwired, but it isn’t impossible. It’s a worthy practice.
(I must come to this realization every year because I wrote this: Vulnerability equals connection: on joy, pastries, passion, and not being a spirit crusher last year at about this time. And probably something similar the year before that. Consistency, for the win!)
Doubt sucks. I’d finally get this book finished if I stopped doubting myself. I’d do all kinds of other epic things. I know it.
I also wouldn’t be me, so there’s that. I can’t flip a switch and become a sunny optimist, but I can be inspired by the example my friends sets. I might never know what it is like not to doubt myself, but I DO know what it is like to continue creating despite all my inner fears. THAT I can do.
My mind opened up a little bit this morning. I felt inspired. Ready to kick a little ass myself. So I wanted to share my old/new groundbreaking, ass kicking burst of hell yes, you can, forge ahead, and use your doubts to fuel your life’s work.
You’re going to do it anyway. Do it without doubt. Go all Nike on yourself for a minute. For as many minutes as you can.
Do you have any thoughts on the subject of self-doubt and creativity? I am endlessly fascinated by that subject, and I’d love to hear from you! XOXO