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Sunday Summary: Stepping into the Great Unknown and Learning to Fail with Joy

If there is one book that gave me the courage to lean into my authenticity, to be who I am despite the fear of not being enough—or, heavens forbid, being too much—it is Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. If you are struggling with finding the courage to create, the courage to be seen, the courage to live the life you want, I’d recommend this book.

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

I sometimes regret that I spent so much of my twenties trying to appease other people, trying to be beyond criticism and reproach, trying to shape myself, my career, and my lifestyle into something that others would accept.

Sometimes this was based on something someone else said. A friend asked me if indie authors can really call themselves “authors.” She also questioned how I could “just” stay at home and write books while my IT director husband went out to his respectable job.

It wasn’t just her. Her words echoed oft-repeated words in our society, and they have deeper roots in societal expectations that I now question. But the thing is, it wasn’t her. It was that I already had these doubts swirling inside my head, and she vocalized them, and then they got louder. It wasn’t her words but the weight I gave them.

2018 was my year of transformation. It was my year of releasing many of those internalized expectations. This is it, guys. Our one wild and precious life. For every single one of us. Even if we believe in reincarnation, few of us remember past lives—and then, often only snippets and vague details.

No. This life, right here. These precious breaths. These days. They are the blessings, the gift. What will we do with them? To what will we devote our time and our energy? Both are limited, after all.

In 2018, I began to question everything. And as I did, my internalization of those external voices and opinions slipped away. I’d quieted myself. I’d feared being judged. But more than that, I’d feared being seen.

Brown’s words helped me put into my own words what I wanted. My yoga practice, too, has been a source of wisdom, reminding me that the best thing we can do is allow the light in ourselves to shine and to honor the light we see in others.

The more I realized these things, the more my fear of failure grew smaller—and the more my fear of never having tried grew exponentially.

And I realized that all we can do is bravely, compassionately, deliberately offer to share our gifts with the world. We can’t control how others respond.

But at least we can know that we created. We walked our path. We stood in our truth. We bravely let our light shine.

Along that path, there is doubt, fear, sorrow, failure, regret. But there is also beauty, laughter, celebration, and joy.

It can’t be a path we walk for others.

But if our light shines through the way we live our lives, we may, in fact, be shining a light in the darkness for someone else. They may fear their light has gone out. They may have lost their way.

If we shine, we offer our own light to others. And we don’t know how they will receive it. But it might just be a source of hope on a dark night.

It’s okay to be afraid.

It’s okay to fail.

It’s okay to experience disappointment, fear, and regret.

It is even okay to be rejected, to be judged, to be misunderstood.

Let’s lean into authenticity, even if someone else thinks it’s strange. For me, that means walking an indie author path, even if someone else thinks I’m not “really an author.” I know the hours I toiled, the years spent honing my craft, the deep dives I took into powerful emotions to craft those stories.

For me, that means creating a blog focused on magic, even if most people I meet aren’t walking a magical path. Finding my Pagan path has changed my life, connecting me to my inner magic and to divine love. I hope that resonates with others. I know it won’t resonate with everyone. That is okay.

Lean into the strangeness. Lean into the wildness. Lean into your truth.

You have strength. You have beauty. You have a story that you deserve to tell.

In case you’re mired in doubt, I believe in you. In case you’re filled with fear, I believe there’s joy on the other side of that fear.

I know we will face failure, but I believe we have the strength to endure those failures.

I am venturing into the great unknown. Of storytelling. Of creativity. Of magic. Of the world.

Will you find that great unknown, whatever it is for you?

Will you join me in that space where we are brave despite the fear, where we are bold despite feeling small, where we are wild voices of fierce magic despite the calls to be tame?

This week, I wrote. I wrote slowly, my body aching with fibromyalgia pain. I’m learning to create, to write, to laugh, to dance despite the pain. I might need more breaks. I might go more slowly.

But onward I go.

Are you coming, too?

What about you? What messages have you internalized, and how have you let go of those? Have there been any books, songs, poems, or quotes that have inspired you to live a life of authenticity? Will you join me and step into the wildness of your own great unknown?

Thanks for visiting. Thanks for reading. Just by being here, you’re making my day.

Keep being magical! Blessed be.

Fantasy & paranormal romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland faerie. Witches, magic, & romance await in the pages of my stories.


  • Rui Chan

    Wow Denise! Your post is so full of positive energy it made me feel good. I’m glad you were able to accept who you are this way.
    I have to say, I was never too worried about what others thought so I never had such an epiphany but I completely agree with you: this the one life we have and we need to make the most of it. That’s what we owe to ourselves!

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it. I think there were some really complicated reasons why that happened, but instead of regretting wasted years, I am treasuring the present. 🙂

      • Rui Chan

        Well, the past is done and can’t be changed, so regrets wouldn’t help, would they?
        Plus the past is also what made you come to this realization. Had you done anything differently, who’s to say whether you’d be where you are now?

        As for the future, it’s a promise but it’s also full of surprises, both good and bad.
        The present’s all we’ve actually got, come to think of it.

        • denisedyoungbooks

          Very well said. Yes, I am quite pleased with where things are today. I’m not a fan of regrets. The present is where it’s at, and the future is filled with possibilities. Thank you! 🙂

  • Jennette Marie Powell

    My books are too niche for traditional publishing (Time travel romance – niche. Not set in Scotland? Really a niche!). I never worried about what others think of indie publishing. If they want to listen, I explain how bad the contracts are in traditional, and how hard it is to even get a contract if what you write doesn’t fit their narrow idea of what will sell. So much more important (to me) is to write what I want, niche or not!

    I think most of us are far too concerned with what others think when we’re young. I know I was. I also bought into the standard narrative that we’re supposed to go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids… and work until age 65. I don’t regret any of my choices, but I have so many other things to do than work a paycheck job for another 13 years, I’m bucking that part (or at least working on it).

    Thank you for sharing your authentic voice and thoughts! And hugs about fibro (my mom has it) – here’s hoping this week is one with less pain, and more writing and fun!

    • denisedyoungbooks

      For a long time, traditional publishing was so down on time-travel romance. And I’m not really sure why, because there’s actually a lot of demand for it–which I think indies like you have demonstrated! I adore anything with a time-travel/time-slip element. It’s undoubtedly hard to write, but sooo much fun to read.

      It sounds like we’ve had similar experiences. Hubby and I don’t have a problem with working. We like to work. But we’re in our mid-thirties, even though by many standards we’re still babies, we don’t want to work standard nine-to-fives anymore. And between fibro and migraines, it’s hard for me to have a job that lacks flexibility. I think hubby and I are both ready for work that allows flexibility in terms of daily schedule, but also location. So, here we go!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Jennette. I’m glad we’re both doing what we love now–and finding our joy. 🙂

  • Chris Loehmer Kincaid

    Thanks for all the wonderfully inspiring thoughts. I think everyone already said it all in the comments. Ditto from me!

  • Heather R. Holden

    What a beautiful and inspiring post! I agree, life’s too short to worry about what others think is proper and correct. We need to embrace what makes us happy. I’ve gotten a lot better at figuring out what that is for me, when it comes to my comics, but a fear of failure still runs rampant, I must admit. Love how you’ve released your own internalized expectations and are embarking on a path that most speaks to you. Wishing you all the best with your writing and everything else in life! <3

    • denisedyoungbooks

      Oh, the fear of failure always persists, doesn’t it? For me, the turning point was when I began to believe that I could endure failure and adapt in a way that made me stronger–spiritually, mentally, creatively. That was freeing! But that fear still nags at me. Thanks so much, Heather! Popping over to your site now to enjoy your art. 🙂