When I started this blog, I promised you that I would bring my whole self, that I would really show up - presenting not just the neat, insightful parts of me, but the more complex and untidy parts, too. Today, I am keeping that promise by presenting you with a very human and unpolished Carson.
I wanted to start this blog for a long time, but I waited for years because I was scared.
I told myself, “Carson, it’s literally just a blog.” But it still felt disproportionately daunting and terrifying. Most of what I had hitherto written was about disability and I felt comfortable sharing my own experiences. But when I discovered the work that gave me my life back after paralysis, I realized that this was what I wanted to write about.
I wanted to write about philosophy and freedom. So, I became a coach and quietly went to work in collaboration with my clients where I witnessed them find themselves and create their lives. But despite seeing this success, every time I went to write about my work or share my ideas, I felt scared - I felt that I wasn’t allowed to position myself as an “expert” without “Ph.D.” behind my name, and scared that I would fail even if I tried.
So, I just kept writing about the safe things while ignoring the feeling that I was betraying myself. But I eventually couldn’t ignore that feeling anymore - I didn’t want to ignore it anymore. I wanted to be free and self-expressed.
I knew that if I was going to move forward in my work, it was time to start sharing my ideas more bravely and that a blog would be a good place to start. I mustered up the courage, got some help from my web designer, and I created the blog. Even then, I didn’t announce it for several months (hello, fear).
I wrote a few posts without telling anyone and then eventually even shared it on my socials. I was hopeful that after a few posts writing would prove to be easy, but that has not yet been my experience.
I have yet to write a blog post without feeling anxious and scared through the process - and it’s all the same old story that shows up: “This isn’t interesting to people, Carson. People only follow you for disability content. You’re going to run out of topics. Everyone is going to unsubscribe. This is too boring.” And on and on.
I scold myself again, “Carson, it’s just a blog.”
But I know that it’s not about the blog. It’s about all the stories that have stopped me for a lifetime: I’m not smart enough. I’m not capable of making a difference. So, every week I sit in front of the white screen of a new document with a little knot of fear in my stomach, the cursor impatiently blinking, waiting for me to start.
This week was no different. I avoided writing for several days. I felt sad, disempowered, and anxious until I finally found myself eating Ben and Jerry’s (that stuff is so good) while playing Pokémon on my iPad, feeling positively miserable. Sick of my own stuckness, I called my CEO (Melissa - I call her my Chief Empowerment Officer), worked through my disempowerment and got back to writing.
This breakdown reminded me of an important tenet of transformation: our experience of ourselves comes only after we have already been that thing. For example, if we experience ourselves as confident, it’s because we have already been so, and we can see the evidence that we are confident people. Transformation requires us to be it before we feel it, not the other way around. It takes us having a little faith in who we can become.
I believe this is why personal transformation can be so daunting and why we slip back into old habits - it’s comfortable territory. Being someone new can feel risky and vulnerable, but it is the only way forward. So, I am going to keep writing, even when my stories show up. That’s a promise.
How about you, dear reader? What is your next frontier, that next step toward being who you want to be? Whatever it looks like, know that I am rolling alongside you in the journey of transformation, and know that the only thing between you and who you will become is just a little faith.