(Note: This is the first post from Ev’Yan, the other half of Illuminated Mind. She’s been behind the scenes helping me with all of the content here since the beginning and this business would literally fall apart without her. I hope you give her a warm welcome. She has a lot of wisdom to share here.)
I hate flying.
So when it was suggested that I take a much needed visit to Portland, Oregon to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was forced to surrender to my fears. Namely, that of stepping onto an airplane & flying 30,000 feet in the air for almost two hours… alone.
You’d think that by surrendering to my fears I was completely at ease with my upcoming trip. But surrendering to my fears only meant getting up the courage to buy the plane ticket & to potentially get on the plane. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to be frightened during the drive to the airport, during the boarding of the airplane, during the take-off, during the flight, & so on.
Within a matter of weeks, I was suddenly standing in the middle of busy LAX, clutching my boarding pass in sweaty hands, waiting for my flight to board. The hustle & bustle of others around me only magnified my current emotion: I was fucking terrified.
But this didn’t come as surprise to me. I had known since before I even purchased my ticket that I was going to be dealing with feelings of dread, anxiety, & fear; that’s just how I operate. But as I sat on the hard carpeted floor of the main terminal, waiting for the intercom to announce my impending flight, I realized that I really didn’t want to be afraid.
Rather, I wanted to be excited. I wanted to be eager; I wanted to feel joyful at the thought of being in my family’s presence again. I wanted to be mindful & present. I especially wanted to use this rare opportunity of flying solo as a way of proving my own independence. & after it was all said & done, I wanted to congratulate myself for completing a task that I found at first daunting & intimidating.
That’s when I came up with the idea of stealing someone’s identity.
Rest assured, this didn’t involve me snatching the purse of the weakest old woman I could find, taking her credit cards & social security number, & assuming her identity for a few weeks. It meant taking the “fake it ’till you feel it” mentality & amplifying it several hundred times. It meant latching onto a kick-ass, assertive idea of myself to get me through a time where I felt meek & timid.
It meant giving myself permission to take on the personality of someone with more courage, more strength, & more self-assuredness.
It was the best idea I had ever come up with.
So as I waited for my plane to board, I started the steps in my head to stealing someone’s identity, & thus temporarily transforming into someone invincible.
At the time of my looming travels, my fearfulness & anxiety were the only emotions dominating me, & what I wanted most was to be the exact opposite of those feelings. I wanted to be brave, eager, confident, at ease, lighthearted. Once I captured the essence of what I wanted to feel — rather than what I was expected to feel given my personal history — I began to envision exactly what that would look like if personified.
I studied the people amongst me waiting for their own flights to board to if they could offer some inspiration. Most of them looked alert (if not terribly bored) at the idea of sitting in an airplane for the next two hours. They all stood up on their own two feet, looking straight ahead in determination. A few of them were so jovial at the idea of relocation that they were smiling, laughing. Several of the passengers were perfect strangers until one of them struck up a conversation & then made a joke about airplane compartments. Everyone in that circle giggled, & those who weren’t part of the circle had smirks on their own faces from finding this man’s sense of humor humorous.
No one around us was looking pale or green, wringing their hands in despair at the possibility of the plane crashing. No one fainted at the sight of the aircraft being trafficked onto the runway. No one cried as they hugged their loved ones, for fear of never seeing them again should this plane ignite into flames from some random mechanical explosion. Everyone was calm, in good spirits, &, at the very worst, sleepy at the thought of flying on an airplane.
Everything was okay.
As I witnessed the laid back nature of the people around me, I started to mimic their movements, their posture, their positive intentions. I stood up straighter, put a small smile on my face, & let my eyes dance around the large room in pure wonder. Just doing those small acts made my heart race in enthusiastic anticipation. I felt myself starting to get butterflies in the pit of my stomach; not out of nervousness, but out of the thrill of what I was about to do.
& as we began to board the plane, the fear had completely left me. My anxiety was replaced with eagerness; my leeriness with courage. I was able to experience the excitement of traveling to an unknown city all alone, in the middle of the night, doing something I was completely repelled against at first… but was suddenly full of peace & tranquility.
The transformation was complete.
By stealing someone’s identity, I grabbed hold of my wimpy-self & replaced it with a braver, bolder model for a few hours.
This habit doesn’t just involve flying on airplanes…
- I’ve stolen the identity of a personable, social butterfly before I’m about to go to a meetup amongst people I’ve never met.
- I’ve embraced the protective, yet poised disposition of someone who speaks firmly & directly to people that take them for granted.
- I’ve tested out the qualities of a person who is quiet & modest (rather than being the center of attention) to let others shine all their own.
- I’ve even stolen someone’s identity to mirror the mannerisms of a sensual, playful Sex Kitten; the kind of girl who is just as comfortable in her body as she is with accentuating it.
The possibilities of experimentation & self discovery are endless.
There are often two things that happen when stealing someone’s identity:
- The person you choose to mimic has traits & tendencies that will serve you for the better in the future. You can use them a la carte to your own advantage.
- Or… you discover that the qualities you’ve desired to emulate were within you all along; you just exacerbated them to a degree that makes them more noticeable & naturally available.
The best part of stealing someone’s identity is that you control everything. You decide who you want to be, you decide who that person will look like, & ultimately, you decide whether or not the traits of this person’s identity will work for you.
If not, throw it away (or return it to the original owner) & find someone else to borrow from.
Practicing this simple little role play is only limited to your imagination.
My challenge for you the rest of the week: Step outside of yourself & steal the identity of someone you admire. Ask yourself why you chose this person as an inspiration. Play with different quirks & attributes; try them on, see if they’re a good fit for you. If not, take them off. & when you’ve finally decided to implement the stolen identity into your current situation, see if you can adopt some of those traits for future challenges.
Now, go out & be amazing.