Like someone suddenly
born into color.
Do it now.”
One month ago, I reached my funding goal on Kickstarter to walk across Finland, retracing the steps of a 90-year-old woman, and write about my trek. Shortly thereafter, I quit my job, moved out of my apartment in the Headlands and into the city, cut off and donated my hair, and tried to brace myself for the changes and challenges ahead.
Last week, my cousin Chelsea wanted to know how I was doing. “Do you feel good about where this is headed, or are you nervous?” she asked.
Bloody hell Chelsea, that is a loaded question.
Admittedly, I have been trying to keep my project a little bit under wraps. I don’t like to talk about it in my immediate circles, because my friends are all very interesting people in their own right and surely don’t want to be burdened with breaking news stories from my gmail inbox. Dutch Ambassador to Finland Writes to Jenny in a Facebook Message! Journalists from Lapland Contact Jenny About A Newspaper Article! Director of Finnish National Parks Wants to Collaborate in Lemmenjoki! Documentary Filmmaker Wants to Find Petronella Too!
I don’t like to tell new people I meet about it, because when I do I am invariably met with an image of myself that is completely out of proportion. “Oh my gawd, that is SO COOL! Can you BE any cooler?!” they’ll exclaim, and I’ll look on hopelessly as I get demoted from Jenny the Human (who is irrationally afraid of falling through sidewalk grates, has a weakness for goat cheese, likes the smell of her own bellybutton, stinks at math and baseball, and is trying to learn how to let herself be vulnerable in love…among plenty of other faults) to A List of Cool Things That Jenny Has Done.
But truth be told, despite my radio silence, I wake up every morning and think to myself, “Holy shit! I just dreamed the wildest thing I could dream, and now it’s coming true,” and then spend a few moments breathing in the wonder of it all. Of course I have plenty of moments of self-doubt, plenty of moments where I realize that I have just told the world I am going to walk across Finland and write a book about it (both of which I have never done before), inspired by a 90-year-old woman who is often sick, who sometimes forgets who her daughter is and talks at the rate of melting cheese.
But more often than not, the inside of my heart feels something like this:
The truth, my dear Chelsea, is that I am living right out on the edge of my comfort zone somewhere between terror and elation, and it is so mind-crushingly beautiful that sometimes it brings me to my knees.