Thursday, January 05, 2012

Crazy Scary

I was ready for them this time: The naysayers, the predictors of doom and those who "just want to let you know we care" by listing every calamity that can possibly befall people who have the audacity to test Frost's road less traveled.

The Cafe
I wasn't quite as prepared for the level of terror I experienced when for the first time I decided not to listen.

I'm writing about this very personal feeling because I know I'm not alone in this. These dreams, these crazy, seemingly-unattainable dreams we have when we complete the sentence, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if..."; these dreams we can imagine so vividly, they make our pulse speed and keep us up at night...until that conservative voice of reason kicks in.

I think this is where most dreams die; before they're even uttered out loud or see the light of day.

Some, though, survive...weakened but still viable. And that's when the naysayers and predictors of doom deliver that final coup de grace.

As a people pleaser and dysfunctionally obsessive Good Girl, I've always done what I was told. There is safety in listening to what other claim to know more about (everything) than you, because you never have to hear, "I told you so." That way, though I've never gotten anywhere, I could stay the Good Girl everyone  liked (predictability is always like, isn't it?).

And, let's face it, the naysayers have history and tradition going for them -- there is a reason everybody takes the path of safety -- most of the time it doesn't lead to calamity. (Though, I gotta say..."the path of safety" has been, for us, a minefield. So there is not much to recommend "doing what everyone does" to us.)

Which brings us to that weed-riddled, rocky path upon which we decided to embark -- opening a cafe during a recession. Or, insert your own seemingly wacky endeavor that seems to annoy everyone around you singing the praises of the status quo. For us it's a cafe.

This is another reason why, in the past, I've always done whatever is safest.


There is no other way to put it.

Terror is very different from intuition. Intuition goes much deeper. Terror reacts to the cues in front of it. Terror drowns out intuition.

This is terrifying. It's terrifying to not do as expected. It's terrifying to do something that lacks the safety net of working for someone else in a field that is a sure thing. It's terrifying to be placing something that is so personally produced by me up for sale; up for others' judgement.

I think both Dark Garden and I counted on the fact that we were doing this together to waylay some of that fear. We appeared to each other so confident. I figured he was sure of himself, we must be okay. I seemed just as sure to him, so he figured the same.

... and then we had to commit. And we looked at each other and realized no matter what, we were going to have to muster a type of courage we had never tapped into before. Oh sure, it took courage to go through some of the challenges my family has over come in the past few years. And God knows, as a cop, courage is DG's stock-in-trade.

This is different, though. It's a different kind of fear and requires a different kind of courage. And I don't think there is any getting around it. You either let it stop you or you just let it flow while you do what you have to do.

And so yesterday we closed on the cafe. For myself, once it was a done deal, the terror subsided to a dull twinge and I was offered another option: Excitement. Oh, there is still that scared part of me that nudges every now and then, but I let the excitement drown it out.

I feel like the elderly Isak Dinesen reminiscing at the beginning of Out of Africa*: "I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills."

I have a cafe in Romney at the foot of the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains.

*Perhaps, more appropriately is this: "...the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road."


Dody Chapman said...

This is pure living. If you do not live by stepping forward, you will not be able to breathe the air of accomplishment, tough though the inspiration of such may be.
Congratulations are in order!

Trasherati said...

Congratulations! I can't wait to stop by.

Sisiggy said...

Dody: I knew I could at least listen to you! You have always had such a gift for encouragement (I'll never forget the encouraging words you gave to both the Heirs -- and neither do they!).

Trash: I'm counting on it. I know we're "out there" for you, but I'd sure love for you to drop by! (We'll make a day of it -- may have a line on a house out there in the middle of nowhere -- has a really great view...)