Why Disneyland Bugged Me So Much (Or Why I Will Stand In Line For Over An Hour To Experience A 45-Second Rush)
I was recently in Disneyland.
It was really fun. The last time I was there was when I was 13, and I’m . . . well, older now. So, a few things were exactly the same as they were in 1988, but a LOT of things were different.
The lines are horrendous and we had fastpasses for many things, but you go on Space Mountain once, you sorta want to go again without waiting for the fastpass hours. It’s not a very long ride, but oh the rush.
Space Mountain was my favorite ride in 1988, but in 2015, California Screamin’ has dethroned it. Of course, this is over in the other park, but it’s all Disney.
And I love it. I wish I could put a roller coaster with a upside-down loop in my backyard, that is how much I loved it. I stood in line for nearly 90 minutes just to ride it one more time. It is 45 seconds of thrill, I’ll tell ya.
Why did I willingly stand in line for over an hour in sweltering California fall heat? For that 45 seconds. And I would do it again and again and again.
It reminds me of the Elizabeth Gilbert podcast (the one I referenced last week) when she interviewed Brene Brown. It reminds me of inspiration bending down to whisper in a creative’s ear: “When can we do that again?”
An hour of waiting for 45 seconds of sheer inspiration.
That’s about right.
We can liken it to our creative lives. There’s a lot of uncertainty, waiting, perspiring, inching along in a slow-moving line, more waiting, more wondering, more anxiety, all for that 45-second rush.
So, what do we do?
Do we refuse to get in line for the ride any more? Are we afraid that we can’t handle it? Are we afraid that we’ll wait in the line, and then give up halfway through as we inch closer to the front?
I watched people (in fact, I did it once myself) wind their way backward through a long line of people to get out of line (only because we found our family member and wanted them to be with us on the ride). Everyone you pass has this sort of panicked look on their face and asked us: “Is it broken? What happened?”
You learn to say the excuses you usually say, “Nothing’s wrong. Lost our family member. The ride is not broken.” And you say it all the way through the winding line until you are at the end of the line.
I feel as if this is an exact replica of what fear of failure does to creative thinkers.
First, the line is insurmountably long. It’s at least an hour’s wait in the hot sun; even in the shade it’s way too hot. And you wonder why the line won’t move faster, why things aren’t working like you expected. You realize you should have peed first, you think you might be hungry, you get thirsty. You start to consider all things that could go wrong.
“We could get to the front and the ride COULD break. We could to the front and they would have to put us in separate cars. What if it’s boring? What if it’s too scary? What if I get soaked and then have to walk around in wet clothes all day (if it’s that hot, who cares?)? What if I slip and hurt myself? What if I scream like a banshee and people think I’m weird?”
I’m totally adding to the drama here. Riding Splash Mountain at Disneyland is not nearly fraught with as many fears as this.
But neither is the creative work you’re doing. And we get hung up on the smallest things with that, don’t we?
“We could get to art show and the electricity could go out. We could get to the publisher and they send us to somewhere else. What if I’m not a good artist? What if people think my crafts are dumb? What if I get embarrassed by sending my work to a crit group? What I get hurt? What if people think I’m weird?”
See what I mean?
And then when I was in line for California Screamin’, for the rush, for that 45 seconds of awesomeness, I’m not thinking to myself, oh, this line is long, this line is too long.
Because I LOVE the rush, the inspiration.
People, we’ve got to LOVE the inspiration more than we love the fear of failure.
We’ve got to love the 45-second rush more than we love the angst of standing in a long line.
Recently, I went through a bit of a long Disney line with a project that I started a long, long, long time ago. It feels as if I’ve been standing in this line for almost my entire life. And now, I’ve just gotten back in line all over again.
I fear a lot of things. Failure, big time. All the worries (that I called boring last week) are rushing back in. This is not something most of you would consider creative, but it’s the most creative, most cathartic work I’ve ever embarked upon.
And I’m scared. Shitless.
Sometimes I’m frozen in place, watching all of this play yet again in my life. I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I can handle the pressure all over again.
I worry that I will faint. I worry that I will get to a point in this line where I can no longer endure. I worry I am too weak, too cowardly, too NEW.
Ah-ha, you say.
Trish does have a breaking point.
Yes, I do. In fact, I have many, many, many breaking points.
Lest you think this blog is written by someone who has all the answers, let me set the record straight. I don’t know much, but what I do know makes me realize how brave it is when anyone of us puts a foot forward on a creative journey, any creative journey.
To breathe is to be creative.
Sometimes, it feels as if my past failings are once again winning. And then it gets hard to breathe.
This is when I lean in, get back into my creative process. I gather materials (today, I’m pulling books from bookshelves and piling them everywhere; a sign I’m in the midst of a creative conundrum; when I feel more courageous, I’ll start putting them back on my bookshelves) and I digest them.
Of course I’m feeling fear of failure. Of course, the voices are back, taunting me, taunting this work I am doing all over again, so fresh from a work that I thought was already done.
Of course I’m feeling weak and afraid and scared to death.
Especially in the wee hours of the night, when we should not listen to our lizard brain, when everything seems lost, when everything seems as if it will never be right again.
Of course, I’m fighting the fears of “who do you think you are?” and standing up straight (or sitting up straight) and replying OUT LOUD, “I matter!”
I am the source of all of this fear. I swear.
I try to discount myself.
I shove my needs to the side and take care of others.
I back down when someone insists I give them more than I give myself.
And then I have to remind myself.
The second thing shows up as fear of success. This is the big one. This physically hurts. This is the heat, the hunger, the thirst, the need to pee and you’ve been in line for an hour, and like have an hour to go. You so wish it was your turn for the 45-second rush.
But it’s not. First, you have to understand there is a value exchange going on here. You’ve got your willingness to give up something that matters in order to get something that matters more.
Stand in line; get a 45-second rush.
In a creative journey, when you experience fear of success (as I am right now), you’re exchanging what mattered before, what you still thought mattered for something that you had no idea would matter so much, that you now realize matters so much more.
All this talk about what matters.
Value exchange, am I right?
In a nutshell, I will stay in line for my 45-second rush, just like I will hang in on this creative journey I’m on and know that it will be good. The inspiration, the hope, the lovely LEAPING, the RUSH will keep me going.
I will not give up.
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