Are You Stuck in New Brunswick?
Waiting on an epiphany might not be lazy after all.
The flow of Back to Shameless is that one week there’s a Truth, and the next there’s an anecdote to back it up. When I shared this with Kevin, my coerced #1 reader, he had no idea that this was the format.
Then, he did something unthinkable. He suggested that I write this corresponding post as a research piece about “the science behind the epiphany”.
I quickly reminded him that: a) that’s boring and b) the personal essay portion of this Substack knows only one star, and hint: it’s not Bill Nye.
Note: For anyone new here, this is NOT a place where we talk “science”. In fact, this is a research-free zero. The only Googling we do is a mid-sentence pause to address important things like, “is Kim Zolciak-Biermann still pedaling The Law of Attraction” and “how do I use a semicolon”.
Anyways, up until now, every truth has had a corresponding story.
For example, Truth #6: No One Knows What They’re Doing had a buddy essay in Sinking the Intern-Ship and Taking Flight. Both the Truth and the personal story share the same theme of “fake it till’ you make it”, “everyone sucks in the early days” and “colleagues should never be seen in pyjamas”.
Each week, when I go to prepare a post, I revisit my book manuscript and pull out the next piece. Then, I rewrite it with various degrees of shock and alarm at how badly the edits were needed.
Note: Perhaps, Heather and the other micro-banged gatekeepers of Canadian publishing were correct in their no-reply, quality ass-urance.
But this week, when I went into my mega doc, there were *crickets*. For whatever reason, I glazed over the personal anecdote and went straight to Truth #8.
Over the weekend, I hummed and hawed. I tried to think of a story about epiphanies. I ate Party Mix, watched Who Killed Jill Dando (there’s no ending, save yourself), and regretted not saving the 10 Ways to Tell You’re Waiting on an Epiphany (and Being Lazy) list that I already published.
As I aired my grievances about not having a good idea, Kevin said (after we got past the science thing), “isn’t this the post?”.
“Isn’t it ironic that you’re waiting…for an epiphany”.
I nodded. Then, I went to my computer to Google “irony”. Let’s face it—everyone uses the word wrong and now it’s confusing.
Note: In case you also need it, the definition of irony is “The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.”
Armed with Webster’s definition—not Alanis Morisette’s—I thought Kevin was probably right. So, here we are.
In writing this, I am taking action instead of waiting for a good idea. Rather than my standard over-production, I am letting the response be whatever shakes out (sorry).
While I hope it has gone without saying, the Truths that I write about are not things that I have mastered. I began to document the list of Truths in the pursuit of clarity and unlocking my “you’re not 23 anymore, so what’s next?”. In a way, this collection can be thought of as one big workbook—un baby bleu cahier avec le map of Canada on the cover.
So, here I am, getting called out for waiting on an epiphany—the 1,200 word lesson that I just spewed to the both of us. Insert: *humorous or empathetic effect*.
As I think more about waiting for an epiphany, one thought swirls most: occasionally, we have to do things without knowing the answer. We can’t always hold off for a bigger idea and better lighting. Sometimes, we have to fling whatever we have onto the wall and get on with it.
And once again, while this is a safe space (AKA an inspirational quote-free zone by women, for women), there is a saying that seems to capture this idea best: “leap and the net will appear”.
“Leap and the net will appear”.
More than once, after two glasses of wine, I’ve recited this quote aloud to others (incorrectly). And when I do, I picture a running long-jump leap…
Suddenly, we are windborne. We are soaring across the in-between without knowing how it’ll pan out.
Will we reach the other side? What’s gonna happen? What if the unknown isn’t better?
But we’ve already jumped. We can’t worry anymore. After all, we’re flying through the goddamn air!
As we begin to curve back down, we can’t see the other side. But then, out of black sky, a big ol’ net appears. It looks like an oversized hammock, suspended in total darkness. We land on it softly.
As it turns out, the net was there all along. It was waiting for us, hoping that we’d be brave enough to use it.
“Leap and the net will appear” tells us that we can't always be certain, but that the most direct way to get to where we want to go is to fucking jump. To just do it—whether it’s something large or small.
And if we bravely take a big leap? We probably get to bypass our New Brunswick. We get to travel from Montreal’s smoked meat and pomme frites straight onto PEI’s red shores and lobster tails. But if we continue to putt along, waiting for clear navigation, we end up driving hour after hour, mile after mile, down our highway of sameness. We cover every inch of New Brunswick’s vinyl-sided, star-decorated trailer things before breaking down or eventually arriving at the promised land—haggard and thirsty.
If we don’t ever jump, we end up traveling too far. We waste time. And more importantly, we miss out on the “fuck it” winds in our hair and the shape of the net that will rise to meet us.
But currently, I myself, am somewhere in New Brunswick.
I am waiting for the plug to get pulled in order to fully invest in my pursuits. I am waiting to have a website, an adorable A-frame studio, 100x followers, and some freelance clients that think I’m cool/funny before I quit my 9-5. I am waiting to feel like my writing is good enough before committing to *shameless* promotion. I am waiting to have XYZ amount of money before creating space for my creativity. I am waiting to feel “ready” to put myself out there. And I am waiting to have important places to go before getting the southern bouffant hair extensions that could transform my life (imagine it’s been my limp hair this whole time…).
And while I am afraid to leap, I’m almost at the point where I am more afraid of New Brunswick (so sorry, NB—I’m sure parts of you are aiight).
With this week to reflect further, I’m not sure if waiting on the epiphany is truly lazy. As it turns out, waiting is a lot of work. It’s boring, burdensome, mentally-taxing work.
So, maybe whatever is on the other side of our leap won’t be that much harder. Are you curious what your net feels like? Me too.
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