What the fuck am I doing?
That’s the thought that went through my head this weekend. After we celebrated and tweeted and you all purchased the book on presale at a rate far beyond what I anticipated.
What in the entire fuck am I doing?
That was the resounding scream that shot through my mind and in between my ears. See, this one is not like the other ones. This one is not the showcase or a brunch or a Twitter chat. This one is not The War on Black Women’s Bodies. This one is the book. This one is one that I’ve never undertaken before. This one is the one that jolted me awake one morning at 2 a.m. and kept me up until 6 a.m., even though I thought I abandoned all-nighters after college. This one is the one that had me going off the grid and not blogging for two weeks straight. This one is the one I’ve dreamed of, worked toward and worked for. This is the one that has me wondering what in the entire fuck am I doing?
The words I needed to hear didn’t come to me until I said them to someone else. About something else.
“When you feel like you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing, it means you’re doing the right thing. The minute you’ve mastered it, you are in the wrong place.”
I wondered why the passion started to wane. I wondered why I was dragging myself to my laptop each night instead of galloping to it like I once did. I wondered why I was waking up feeling like a sack of shit and going to bed feeling like a pile of bricks. I wondered why it didn’t feel good anymore. It didn’t feel fun anymore. It didn’t feel exhilarating anymore.
It’s because I was in the wrong place.
I had mastered it. I was doing the things I knew how to do. I was executing work that was only a staple of Twenties Unscripted, not a new addition to it. I was playing it safe. I was doing what I knew would work. After F-BOMBS crashed and burned last autumn, I got scared and went back to my sure things.
But, sure things do not erect dreams. Sure things do not build character. Sure things do not require courage. Sure things do not test boundaries. Sure things do not show you what you are made of. Sure things just allow you to sit smugly and execute flawlessly. Sure things are benches in broken and unfulfilled places. Sure things are accessories of complacency and the assumption that you have somehow done something in this life.
I was in the wrong place.
And I probably would have stayed in the wrong place if it weren’t for the words of my sister. “You should be proud; this is your first book.”
It was only supposed to be a compilation of essays. It was only supposed to be this marketing tool for the blog’s third anniversary. It was only supposed to be this limited edition thing that I kinda, sorta promoted and used to anchor the month. But, her words rattled me into reality. They reminded me that spending months upon months combing through essays and compiling a body of work is not “just a marketing tool.” It’s not just this thing I pulled out of my ass. It’s not a limited edition item. It is a book. And I will treat, promote and honor it as such.
But, it means that I am back in the right place. I am nervous and scared and uncertain. But those nerves and that fear and that uncertainty remind me that I am doing the right thing. I am taking the right leap. Because I am excited. My heart’s racing again. The blood’s pumping again. And I am sitting up at 11:46 p.m. writing this post when I thought I was going to head to bed.
If you’ve mastered it, you are in the wrong place.
And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re in the right place.
So, if you are in the right place, choose confidence over perfectionism. Faith over fear. Excitement over uncertainty. Lessons over mastery. Growth over expertise. The precariousness of being in the right place over the stability of being in the wrong one.