Two and a half years ago, I visited St. Paul's Cathedral for the first time. I climbed up to the Whisper Gallery, but because I have a slight fear of heights (or so I thought), I told myself that one day I'd return to go up the rest of the way. Back in March, I did it. Even though I wanted to stop once we got to the Stone Gallery, my aunt convinced me to keep going (like a good aunt does), and I'm really happy I did. Throughout the climb, thoughts circulated through my head, and this post is how I'm organizing all of them.
Whispering Gallery - Do the thing that scares you because it scares you.
Anyone who has climbed up St. Paul's cathedral, or even up the 257 steps to the Whispering Gallery will know that it isn't an easy thing to do. When my aunt and I got to the Whispering Gallery, we stopped and looked up the ceiling for a while. It's a beautiful ceiling, full of intricate paintings done by someone brave enough to go up to a great height without all the safety measures of the 21st century. I'm a little bit scared of heights and tight spaces, so even though I wanted to get to the top, I was nervous about it. That's when I told myself what I've been telling my friends for years: Do the thing that scares you because it scares you.
Doing things that scare you isn't always a bad thing. Sure, doing something dangerous just because it scares you would be stupid, but when there's something safe that still scares you, doing it is good. Climbing up to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral was safe, but is still scared me so much. The fact that I was scared just made the whole experience even better, and it's a cool to story to tell now.
Stone Gallery - Change is a good thing.
Over the course of my life, I have consistently been very resistant to change. For as long as I can remember, I've been happiest when nothing has changed. When everything stayed the same, I felt secure and happy. But, as with everyone else, as I've gotten older more and more has changed. When walking up the stairs to the Stone Gallery, I remembered that two years earlier, I never would have climbed that far, let alone any higher. I realized that in the time I'd been spending being afraid of change, I'd been changing anyway, only in good ways. I've become far braver, more able, and more sure of myself in the last few years, and none of those are bad changes.
Change is a good thing, even when it seems bad at first. Everything has a way of working out the way its supposed to. All the bad stuff figures itself out, and all the good stuff stays around as long as it is needed.
Golden Gallery - Be like the brave artists.
While sitting in the Whispering Gallery, my aunt mentioned that the process of painting the ceiling would have been insane. I then started thinking about how scary it must have been to paint your art that in that high of a place, without the safety measures we'd have today. They were brave artists. When I was walking up from the Stone Gallery to the Golden Gallery, I felt the anxieties of being in a tight space while going up steep steps. As I went back down to begin the descen back to the first floor, I again felt that fear. But I kept reminding myself of those brave artists, the ones who put their love of art above whatever fear they may have felt.
The job I want is not something that will come easily. I've read book and listened to talks and if I've learned one thing from those, it's that sometimes it isn't about talent but rather about who you know and when you know them. That's a scary thought to me, because I don't want to worry about missing opportunities so much that I end up miss them anyway. I strive to be like the brave artists, who don't let fear get in their way.*
*but I am definitely not painting the ceiling of a cathedral. That's too much for me.