Mental tumbling, drunk men, and leaky roofs

On Saturday night I found sanctuary in a bar.

Outside, Auckland’s summer was thundering into black puddles. My dress was damp from the walk, and the bar roof leaked – sending droplets onto my nose, the table, the floor.

My friend and I were leaning close, yelling – trying to hear each other over the rain, the big screens, the sports team getting wasted behind us.

But sanctuary arrived anyway.

We talked about fear. About holding ourselves back. About ideas that are calling to us – intensely – while we, wide-eyed with panic, stay rooted to the spot. Caught up in mental tumbling. The what-if-it-fails-what-if-it-is-a-waste-of-time-what-if-I-should-be-doing-something-else-what-if-everyone-hates-it-what-if-everyone-hates-me.

What if no-one even notices.

We talked about being afraid to use our voices. And the insanity of comparing ourselves to those, who, in all honesty, have lives we don’t even want.

We talked about how hard it can be to own our power. To let it be enough. Let it be different to others'.

We paused. The roaring behind us had escalated. I squashed the lime in my glass with the end of a straw, and watched red-faced rugby guy do another nostril shot.

That night, I gave the advice I most need to give myself: that all that plunging and rolling around – that self-doubt – not only hurts us, but it is a disservice to the people we could be helping if we just quit the drama, told fear to pipe down, and gently but purposefully got the fuck on with it.

I gave the advice I most need to give myself: Do it. Please don’t hold yourself back. We need what you have to offer.

That night, I found sanctuary in being reminded. Women that I admire – women who make wonderful things and who impact the world in wonderful ways – trip up over the very same things that I do.

That night, I found sanctuary in being reminded.

I know what to do.

I know to gently, purposefully, just get on with it.