I’m in my happy place as I write this (on my laptop at a coffee shop on a sunny afternoon) and I’m doing exactly the thing I’ve been daydreaming about for years: writing an official correspondence to a gathering of like-minded peers.
I’m nervous about what to say and how it’s going to read. I worry about being edited and critiqued. I hear a nagging voice in my head, poking at me that I’m going to blab too long and no one’s going to read it. Or worse yet, five people will read it and make fun of me in the comments. I hear my parents’ voices in my head asking what gives me the right to speak from a podium.
In short, I’m fairly certain I’m gonna fuck this up.
And if it weren’t for this Neil Gaiman commencement speech from 2012, I might not have found the words to keep going past that second sentence. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step but, boy, that first step is a doozy.
What that thousand miles cliche leaves out is that taking that first step can feel like you’re learning how to walk and the path is rarely a straight line. It curves and bends, the weather and terrain changes dramatically and many of us won’t even make it past that first hill.
But then you build momentum and before you know it, your strides become second nature, your hands begin swinging and eventually you even get kind of cocky and begin to dance. After you dance on your own for a while, you begin craving more dance partners. Which brings us here.