“Hi, hello. Umm … is this thing on?”
It was the first day of my freshman year of college. I felt completely exposed, standing in front of a full COMS 101 class, wishing I’d worn my beige cardigan so that I could disappear into the same-color walls.
The professor had asked each new student to stand up in front of a dusty podium microphone and introduce the usual: name, where you’re from, major, favorite movie. A simple task for an extrovert. For me, he might as well have asked for a triple lutz triple toe loop.
When he called my name, I felt the blood rush to my face as I begged with gravity. Please don’t let me stand up. Let me stay grounded and unseen.
“Erika? … is there an Erika Fitzgerald here?” He peered up from his enrollment sheet, spectacled eyes scanning the room for the name’s owner: me.
I slouched up from my desk and scuffled to the front of the room, wholeheartedly regretting my bright yellow cardigan. I might as well have worn a flashing neon sign to class.
“Hi, hello. Umm … is this thing on?” I glanced up from the linoleum floor long enough to see a few nodding heads.
What happened next? I introduced myself. I went on to earn a B+ in COMS 101.
It’s been 11 years since that first day of college, punctuated by many more first days … of class, on the job, of yoga teacher training, spent on new projects, in new places. Each one a little easier than the last.
Earlier this year, I stood on the edge of a BIG first. After three failed resignation attempts, I finally told my boss this was it. I was through with corporate. Nothing about my 9-5 brought me joy. I was showing up for someone else while my soul ached for something else.
With a small savings account as my parachute, I dove headfirst into the world of location-independent entrepreneurship with nothing more than an 80-liter backpack and the laptop from which I run my online business. (Okay, it was more like a big, sloppy cannonball. Heads up on deck!)
Was I perfectly ready? No. Oh dear god, no. The transition was messy, imperfect, and riddled with doubt.
But I showed up anyway. I got to my feet and marched to the front of the room with all my insecurities and works-in-progress.
And guess what?
I’m sharing this story because maybe—just maybe—it’s the warm nudge you need to show up and try something new today. Maybe it’s a change your soul has been aching for or a difficult decision you’ve been waiting to make or a first you’ve been putting off because _______.
Open that space. Explore it. Be curious. Trust yourself.
So. Hi, hello. My name’s Erika. I’m originally from California but I’m currently living a month each in 10 different cities around the world. Today, I’m writing to you from Stockholm. I majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing (after changing my major from microbiology to psychology). I don’t have a favorite movie but I can provide some killer book recommendations if you’d like. Just ask.
Whoever you are, I encourage you to show up for yourself, too. Let your ideas, your work, your creativity, your light shine brightly in the world.
Put on the yellow cardigan and show up just as you are, even if you don’t feel perfectly ready. After all, no one expects you to be perfect.
Wishing you all the joy today and all days,
P.S. I’d love to know who you are, too. Leave a comment below and tell me a little about yourself: what you do for work and for fun, what inspires you to create, the best decision you ever made … you name it.
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