Like Ants

Last night, as I was trying desperately to fall asleep, my mind was racing with thoughts. Actual creative, intelligent thoughts. They never tell you that working out helps bring your creativity back, but it seems to be working that way for me.

Anyway, as I’m lying in bed, thinking about how I have found the first ants of the season crawling around my apartment and how I should probably clean so I don’t find them on my stuff later, I remember this book that said if you draw a chalk line, an ant will not cross it. I’ve actually tried this before, and it’s true. So if you make a box around them in chalk, an ant can only stand there and wait to die, trapped in a box made of chalk.

I’m asking myself, why is that? Is this an actual chemical thing, or is the ant simply scared of the chalk? Are there legends of the ant people where they tell horror stories about how if you cross a chalk line, you’ll go stark raving mad? Are ants superstitious?

What if ants are simply scared of chalk? They’re so scared that they’d rather just stand there and die than actually cross over it. And as this thought came into my head, I realized that this is the case for many people as well. They are trapped in their own chalk boxes, afraid to move because of a fear. These chalk boxes are holding them back from living their life, whether it’s applying for their dream job because they’re scared of rejection or moving away from their family because they’re scared of change. Like the ants, if we don’t gather up our courage and cross over those chalk lines, we’ll be stuck where we are until we die. Don’t let that be you. I’m not saying you have to full throttle jump over the line, but one foot at a time, cross your own boundaries towards something you want and don’t stop until you’re free from your fear.

If you want an example of this, out of nowhere last year, I developed this almost crippling fear of heights, to the point that I get nauseous and dizzy and almost pass out. I still climbed to the top of the Bromo Seltzer tower in downtown Baltimore. I still hang out on rooftops. I still will climb high to get that perfect photography shot. I don’t let my fear of heights stop me from doing what I want, even though it doesn’t seem to be dissipating. I look at it this way: Am I going to regret going high or am I going to regret not doing so?

That’s not saying I still don’t have my chalk boxes. My fear of rejection is still pretty high, though I’m working on that. My fear of leaving behind M2 to go explore the world is up there, along with leaving a secure job to actually go do something I want, which accompanies my fear of being broke and homeless (again). I also have a very high intolerance of spiders, and while I can take out the little ones, I mentally cry like a baby when I see anything bigger than my pinkie. I’m not working on all my chalk boxes, but I am working on the more important ones, and I hope that someday, you will too.

What are your chalk boxes? 

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