Private Revolution: F Words

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.

11 thoughts on “Private Revolution: F Words

  1. You’ve found some of my favorite “f” words, even though you planted that Hamilton trap and now I need to pull myself together again before my students come back from recess.

    Thanks, Lisa! I’m enjoying your Private Revolution!

  2. OMG, Lisa Rivero, I’m so enjoying your A to Z posts, and sending them off to my daughter and granddaughters (grown). Thanks for your insights, both practical and poignant. With gratitude 🙏🏾

    • Brenda, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you, and I’m so pleased you are enjoying these posts and sharing them! What a wonderful world we live in where we can connect as we did and keep up with each other via technology.

  3. This is excellent, Lisa. I listened to the song and read some of the comments….sad. How can a story where the main character dies be inspiring? I like happy endings. On the other hand Faith, Fortitude and Forgiveness prevail.

    • Sally, I completely understand your point about sadness. I’m one of those people who find well-told sad stories uplifting, and I’m not even sure why (maybe they speak to a part of life we usually don’t discuss?). Thanks so much for your comment and enjoy the snow (!) on this spring day.

  4. Lisa, this is my favorite post of yours thus far this month! I so relate to everything you have said. Your photograph is beyond adorable. How I wish I had met you at that age. We would have been the best of friends!

    • Marianne, I completely agree that we would have hit it off immediately as children! Thanks so much for your kind words. Look at my bangs in that photo (!!!). Needless to say, my dad could cut boys’ hair better than girls’. 😉

  5. Love your theme! One of my favorite quotes is about fear. “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Nice job. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

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