Today I have to do a thing that scares me. ‘Have to’ is a strong phrase. It pushes a number of my buttons, even without pairing it with the scary stuff. Immediately my stubborn face whips around and stares at it belligerently. And the standoff begins. Because of course I don’t HAVE to do this thing — but I really WANT to. That is the loop, the lesson, the glitch in my matrix which prompts my inner bully to notice.

Told you you weren’t up to it, you aren’t good enough yet.

My eyes burn and my throat constricts while I search for the words to explain, because creating this article brings me closer to the doing of the scary thing. It feels like the world will crack open if I go ahead. And that is true. A world indeed is about to crack open. It’s going to hurt someone, and in the process someone else is going to appear cruel and despicable. And I am going to push it even further past the line of what I find acceptable and good.

Putting myself into the bodies and minds of the characters I write is excruciating relief. Secret therapy and pacts between us fill my days as we lead, point, chase, coax, push, and drag each other through the pages of our story.

Most crippling to me is the idea that everyone will discover things about me. Every eye will read and re-read the neon letters that highlight those particular moments of the tale. In cracking open my characters, everyone will know the softest places in me to aim their cruel jibes. My bully is a charismatic fifteen year old. She is very convincing.

I have to shake my head, because not even I know which parts are me. Maybe all of it? What a fascinating person I am. My bully is also arrogant.

If feelings of fear are always greatest right before taking action, today promises to be an astonishing roller coaster ride through brightly lit humps and falls. And right there — allowing it to claim some wonder in the word ‘astonishing’, it doesn’t feel so terrifying.

Magic is like that.


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