Well, let me start back at the beginning of this trip. Earlier this year, the fantastic Dr. Maslen invited me to speak at the University of Glasgow, which was a huge honor, and turned out to be an amazing time. I'd asked to do more of a discussion than a lecture, and he kindly rounded up a conference room and as many willing bodies as would fit in it (and then some!) It was a terrific conversation, and a phenomenal evening.
|As you would expect, given that he's one TARDIS away from world domination!|
That was nearly two weeks ago, and I'm still thinking about it. Like, I just can't fathom what kind of guts it takes to do a thing like that.
|Nor am I a very good photographer for the people who are actually doing it!|
|For the record, this is свински късчета по кметскн, or "pork nibblies in the mayoral style." I didn't meet the mayor, but let me tell you - she's got serious swagger.|
While I was in Bulgaria, Evil Dan and I had a great discussion about this, because (as someone who likewise packed up his life and moved halfway around the world) he's also high on my list of unfathomable badasses. His theory is this: a badass is someone who's been through something worse than you have. When you're five and the worst thing you've done is shut your finger in a door, it's the kid who broke his arm falling out of a tree. When you're twenty and just moved away to college, it's the student who spent two years living on the street. When you're thirty and just had a baby, it's the parents who had preemie triplets and lost one. It goes on forever, because there's always someone who's had it worse than you.
And of course, we all have to deal with something sometime. Badness happens, and you just have to suck it up and handle it somehow. So what really stands out to me at the moment are the people who have actually volunteered for that up-suckery - who willingly put themselves out there for something that they knew was going to be tough (even if it's also worthwhile, because why else would you do it?)
|Because you can't get to the land of immaculate patisserie by staying safely in your house, that's why!|
Hello, my name is Pamela Skjolsvik and you don't know me and neither does your son, but he agreed to talk with me the day before the State of Texas kills him, so um, can I take the 9 to 10 slot or would you prefer if I spoke to him later in the day?And yes, she is exactly as awkwardly, sweatily badass as she sounds. You'll be hearing more about her before her book comes out on the 13th, but don't wait on me – check her out and then get you some.
I mention awkward and sweaty because I think that's what really holds us back, most of the time. There's the brain-stem fear, sure (what if you get lost and mugged and eaten?) – but past that is that insidious fear of failure, of humiliation, of looking foolish and feeling ashamed. It's SO hard to do the hard things, not just because they're hard, but because you know you'll do them badly (at least at first). That's probably killed more dreams than anything else: whatever you do, your first efforts are going to suck – and it takes real courage to be okay with sucking. Or as they say in Saga, "You have to be brave before you can be good."
So whether you're doing NaNoWriMo, moving to the other side of the planet, or just trying to work up the guts to say hello – go bravely, y'all. Goodness awaits.