Courage isn’t the absence of fear.  Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.  

As George Orwell observed in Nineteen Eighty-Four, we all are afraid of something, and that something is different for everyone.  Me, I have a pathological fear of bureaucracy.   It sounds funny to say it like that, but rules and paperwork and the manifold hoops that you have to jump through in order to become a straight citizen scare the hell out of me.

Seriously, that crap petrifies me. It scares me because I don’t understand the logic behind it and if you do it wrong bad things will happen to you without warning.  I went to jail once for failing to pave my driveway.  (Long story, not worth the time it takes to tell it.)

So believe me when I say that what I am doing now isn’t on the same continent as my comfort zone.  I am giving people I don’t know a lot of money and hoping that they will respond by giving me some magic papers that will turn me into a company.  It’s some kind of black alchemy as far as I’m concerned.

I’m going to have to generate paperwork according to some arcane formula and give it to strangers behind desks in offices with frightening names.  All the while I’m morally certain that at any moment they will see behind my disguise and recognize me as the outlaw savage that I really am.  Somewhere out there the Maximum Lawman has my name written on a thick file and he’s just waiting for the chance to drag me off to a concrete cell where the sun never shines and the screaming never stops.

Me?  Become a “small business owner”?  That’s not just a straight citizen, that’s like the Elvis of straight citizens.  Felony square, you know? I’m still getting used to my driver’s licence and my checks having the same address on them–and it’s the place I actually live.

Which just goes to show you, God has a wicked sense of humor.  In order for me to do what I long to do more than anything, I not only have to face my fear–I must become my fear.

This is ABC Movie Of The Week grade pathos here.  All day long I was thinking, holy shit, this is the act two plot point!  Cut to the ’80’s power ballad montage and at the end I’ll be wearing a tie and driving a car with all the VINs matching.

I hope. Oh, God, I hope.  All those cute posters about following your dreams with butterflies and rainbows are giving the exact wrong message.  A realistic inspirational poster would have the words “Follow Your Dreams” superimposed over the snarling face of a huge bear, with blood-dripping teeth.  Following your dreams is scary. 

Don’t let anybody lie to you about that.   When you make the decision to pursue your lifelong dreams the universe will search high and low to find the one thing that makes you scream like a cheerleader, wrap it up in a pretty bow, and shove it down the front of your pants.  Depend on it.

But the only thing to do is cowboy up and open the damned door, walk forward into the darkness with a song on your lips and a sparkle in your eye.

Fortune favors the bold.


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Courage

  1. ksbeth says:

    best of luck and like you, i have a strong aversion to bureaucracy. have you seen the film, ‘brazil?’

  2. djmatticus says:

    Um… you might want to move… there appears to be a bear standing behind you, and he looks fairly angry that you forgot to dot a few i’s and cross a few t’s.
    I hope everything goes (is going) smoothly for you. All my forays into the world needing approval from strangers on formal papers has ended with my head hurting and not much more.

  3. L. Marie says:

    Scary huh? My brother started his own business too. Good luck!!!
    It’s scary being a freelance writer too! Lots o’ paper work!

  4. sstamm625 says:

    Ain’t it the truth? Great post! And good luck with the business!

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