Georgia O’Keeffe was obsessed with the wall of her house in the New Mexico desert. She painted the same landscape again and again until she managed to capture its essence. She did not see a black metal door in the middle of a large wall of brown adobe. She saw something else and did not stop until she managed to capture what only she could see – do justice to its beauty.
There was something familiar in that landscape that explained her obsession with it. All her life, she had to face people slamming her against a wall of prejudice and ignorance about what a woman must be as a person and an artist. But she didn’t kick those walls down, she found a new way – expressing who she was.
I was recently asked if I was afraid and I could not help but roll my eyes. I am always afraid, from when I get up until I fall asleep. There is so much fear that I have learned to live with it and embraced it as a big part of me, because as Georgia said:
I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
Often, we think of fear as if it is a bad thing, something that we must get rid of it to be successful in life. We see all these entrepreneurs, celebrities, young millionaires and we believe that they are fearless. They must be, otherwise how it is possible for them to do all these amazing things. But fearless is not the absence of fear. Fearless is not getting rid of fears and doubts. Those will always be there since we were young and feared the dark until adulthood when we fear losing that job. To be brave is to dance with those demons and not let them take over the reins of life.
Being afraid is part of the process, doubts and all. They will always be there. They will never disappear. It is the courage to continue working for our dreams that counts and makes the difference. The bravest act is to not allow fear infiltrate life’s decisions – no matter how scary the journey.
Emotional and creative, Georgia O’Keeffe never let fear take over her decisions. Instead, she embraced it and as a result, she became the mother of American Modernism and left a legacy for anyone who wants to pursue their passions – without worrying about what the world has to say about them. Because, at the end of the day, we are all a hot piece of metal in a forge, being formed into something special – like a black door.
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