Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
No One Actually Dies From A Holographic Mauling

No One Actually Dies From A Holographic Mauling

Last week, while taking that class on freelance writing that I mentioned in my last entry, I felt like I didn’t have a true niche. Yeah, I know about some stuff, but I couldn’t see myself turning any of those things into a series of lucrative articles, so I searched for the best freelancing niches of 2021.

After looking at a few lists, one topic kept jumping out at me: blockchain and cryptocurrency. Do I know anything about these things? Well, now I know a little, but when I saw those words on those lists last week, I barely understood what they meant. Since then, I’ve done enough research to understand that blockchain might be a good niche for me.

I know what you’re thinking. “Aren’t you, like, an art major? A yoga teacher? A reiki master? A vegan? Did you not proclaim that you were a witch in a previous entry?” Yes, yes, yes, to all of those things.

However, one last thing that might’ve fallen through the cracks is that I’m also a former business systems analyst, and now you’re probably wondering what that is.

It doesn’t matter. This is the take-away: I have an analytical side. It’s not a normal analytical side. For instance, I can’t do arithmetic in my head, but I pretty much own the ass of every abstract concept out there.

I signed up for a free class. The new class started in early February, so I’m already one month behind. When I signed up, I imagined the professor noticing that I’m a month behind and wondering to himself whether I’d catch up to the rest of the class. That awakened a need to prove that I could do it—to show him that I was as dedicated to blockchain technology as he was, at least for the length of the class.

Before I even got the confirmation email from the blockchain course, I started getting nervous. I’m still in the middle of taking the freelancing class that got me into this mess in the first place. How would I handle two classes, writing the things I have on my list of “things to write” list, and working on getting my book published? Then, on top of it all, my regular ballet class got canceled for a few weeks, so I had to find a new class to take during the interim.

I wondered: what if I learn everything there is to know about blockchain and cryptocurrency, but once again find myself in the position of not being able to do anything with that knowledge? Why do I have so many skills that I can’t use? Why does this keep happening to me?

I went into full meltdown panic mode.

I took that panic to Adam, and he asked me, “What is this blockchain class? Some kind of MOOC?” (Massive Open Online Course).
“Yes, it is!” I said.
“So, who cares? Do the class later,” he said.
“I can do that? Won’t the professor be disappointed?”
Adam laughed and said, “Thousands of people take those classes. I guarantee that he hasn’t even noticed that you’ve signed up. Don’t worry about it.”

Then, of course, I realized why this keeps happening to me. It’s not that I can’t use my skills. It’s that I’m afraid to let people see them. I brought my book to the edge of the arena, but then I abandoned it there. I’m using the word “arena” the way Brene Brown uses it. It’s that place of vulnerability where everything is scary, but it’s also where everything happens.

I’m afraid of the arena, so I decided that publishing short pieces was just as important as publishing my book. That meant that freelancing was suddenly a high priority. Before I could succeed as a freelancer, I had to educate myself in some complicated niche.

I put up so many obstacles between myself and the entry into the arena that I could spend years on that stuff and have every excuse not to step through the door.

So, it’s time to get rid of all of those other priorities and concentrate on the one thing that puts me into the arena. In other words, I’m going to send out my book before I do anything else.

In my mind, the arena looks something like the Roman Colosseum, and I’m watching several lions stalk back and forth a few feet ahead of me. My feet feel like they’re cemented to the floor. I keep reminding myself that I’ve spent years learning about lion taming. Also, they’re fake lions, and no one actually dies from a holographic mauling.

So, anyway, I went to a new ballet class on Saturday morning. It’s taught by an older lady who speaks in very rapid and complex Japanese. I think I understood about ten percent of what she said. Maybe it’s the magic of a good teacher with years of experience, but my body figured it out, anyway. The class was way bigger than my usual middle-of-the-day Thursday class, and it helped to have a lot of other students around, too.

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