This post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series.

F Words

FAs I lay in bed last night, thinking of F words for today’s post, so many came to mind in the context of Private Revolution that I decided not to choose.


While I don’t usually think of myself as fearful, we all have fears and anxieties, and it is helpful to be honest with ourselves about what they are. My own Private Revolution is largely about choosing to live a more creative life, which in itself can be scary. The following is from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Do these fears sound familiar?

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing…”


Focus is an area where I’m seeking balance, but not middle-of-the-road balance. Sometimes it is helpful to focus in a single-minded way on a project, tuning out all other distractions and hunkering down for one or more hours. Not easy, but I’m slowly getting better at it, and I’ve learned that if I don’t practice the skill, it’s harder to get it back.

Other times, however, having a million (more or less) things going on at the same time seems to spark creative ideas and provide the motivation to follow through with them.

For now, I’m allowing myself to move back and forth between focus and conscious distraction as a form of balance.


One of my main fears is of looking foolish.


Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, forgiving ahead of time for all the slights we know we will feel in the future… can you imagine how much extra mental space and emotional energy and love we would have if we forgave more often and more fully?

One of the most beautiful (and saddest) songs about forgiveness is “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton. For anyone not familiar with the musical, the song occurs after the death of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton’s son, who was killed in a duel for which Alexander had provided the pistol. Not mentioned in the song is that the Hamiltons’ oldest daughter, Angelica (named after her aunt), suffered a mental breakdown after her brother’s death, and she never recovered. In Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow’s words, Angelica Hamilton was thereafter “[o]nly intermittently lucid, consigned to an eternal childhood,” and “she often did not recognize family members.”

“Forgiveness. Can you imagine?”

Read annotations for the lyrics at

The F Word

And then there is the F word, which I don’t say too often. However, a friend recently gave me a pair of socks that say “Carpe the F*** Out of This Diem,” and I feel quite empowered when I wear them.

With my brother (when I was about age 5), innocently channeling my inner Eminem.

With my brother (when I was about age 5), innocently channeling my inner Eminem.