Stop Being A Pansy
In 5 Totally Spiritually-Approved Steps
Admit it. You're a pansy.
It's okay, we all are.
You know what I'm a pansy about?
People ask me all the time why I live in Los Angeles instead of my native New York. There's very little I respect about this fake and insipid city. But I stay hiding out west because I'm absolutely terrified of anything below 70 degrees.
There's a window of only 3 months when I can even visit home because I refuse to step foot on Nor'east soil until I can pack only tank tops.
It doesn't stop there. I'm a wuss with even bigger things. Like submitting my writing.
I'm a produced playwright. I've edited professionally for over a decade. My essay coaching has gotten hundreds of kids into colleges they had no business even applying to.
But I'm still a wimp. I still rely on jealousy and competition, or my Asian shame and guilt to light a fire underneath my pansy butt. Most days I sit, fret, and eat another gluten-free cracker while everyone gets published around me.
Let's stop this. You go first.
How To Stop Being a Pansy
1) Accept your pansiness
Being afraid is inherent to your experience as a human. Whether you want it there or not, wimpiness lives in the pantheon of feelings. You can daily affirm yourself all you like, but being a complete wuss is something we absolutely will experience.
You can't "know" your way out of it. From the Bible to A Course in Miracles, we already know the truth that we're God's children who are completely whole in our higher power, with nothing to fear.
Who the hell actually lives like this?
We walk around like traumatized children, one playground fight away from road raging in our SUVs or crying inconsolably in a cocoon of blankets and unwashed hair. This all happens before breakfast if you're a writer.
Better to just admit this is actually happening than reciting rote verses and pretending we're not afraid. God wants you honest, not in denial.
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2) Realize your pansiness is what's standing between you and your ultimate life.
Do you want to finally move out of your mommy's house?
Being a pansy won't get you out.
Do you want to have an awesome girlfriend?
Being a pansy won't make you call her.
Do you want to insert-adult-thing-you-really-should-have-already-done?
You know the drill. Don't be a pansy.
3) Determine how much pansiness is okay.
For me, being a weather wuss is totally fine. So is being unwilling (okay fine, unable) to pay $3000 a month for a studio 20 minutes from the maybe-running F-line in outer Queens.
But being a pansy with my writing or my message is not okay. Every time I censor myself is one less chance someone in real pain could have had a life rope. So I throw them out amply, my stories of hurt and hopelessness, as preservers in the night for someone else drowning like I was.
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4) Reveal your pansiness everywhere - help is all around
That brings us to the vital step. Once you've weeded out your acceptable pansiness from the blocking-my-life pansiness, show your panties. Tell those you trust your fears and complacencies. If they're strong enough to lift you out of your mire of negative self-talk and endless chocolate, let them.
5) Finally, fuck the haters.
This one is the hardest.
That's why Step 4 is tell those YOU TRUST. Not everyone needs to know you're a pansy. (Unlike this blog post, which I should probably reconsider posting in public.)
You may get cited by the spiritual police. The less woke (99.9999999% of the world) will be triggered and put off by your honesty and vulnerability. It will feel too much like their own insecurity and they will go back to posting another photo of their latte. (I'm starting to think latte-grammers are the worst people on earth and that's saying a lot under this administration.)
A clear sign there's a pansiness epidemic is that people don't want to talk about it.
Being censured has stopped me many a time. Years ago when I was young and not brain-injured, I had enough fucks to give. I gave them ALL THE TIME. Someone absolutely inconsequential would say something rude and stupid, and I would lay down fetal for the next 3 days moaning, "Somebody doesn't like me!"
But I remember the blog voices I admire most, like terribleminds. Chuck Wendig uses non-pansy language so regularly he has labeled his blog "Probably NSFL." He's lovingly accused his readers of suffering from a Twitter-transmitted brain parasite. He doesn't worry what people think and the internet flocks to him in droves, reposting his incisiveness by the thousandfold.
You'll hit bad nerves. You'll hit good ones.
But if you're a pansy, you won't hit anything at all. And that's just sad.
A shittier draft of this article originally published at sophiachang.com.
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