For a Few Seconds I Wasn’t Afraid
I’m always afraid of something. Always.
What am I afraid of?
Too many questions?
Not being able to explain myself?
Other people’s opinions?
Why does the idea of putting pen to paper leave me a shaking mess?
I am a writer afraid to write my own thoughts about the things that live in my head, the stories that play like a movie in my mind, the epiphanies I have as I’m living my life.
But the words are always there, swimming around, popping up when I’m doing things that require little focus.
For a while I thought the problem was that I only write well when I’m working through something – like when I got divorced a million years ago.
Then I thought it’s because I’m not any good at writing the way the “experts” say I should – teach people something, monetize everything, don’t write for yourself, never use the word “I!”
But, in my humble opinion, that’s my best writing – writing for me, writing to figure myself out. Experience tells me that when do, other people often relate. We connect in unimaginable ways when we share our own experiences in life.
There are so many online writing rules – and I seem to break them all.
The title is never catchy, click-y, or the thing that brings readers in.
Worrying about images in a blog post is a drag.
I don’t consciously have anything to teach anyone. If you learn something from me, it’s going to be a happy accident.
But there are things I know I do well…
I know I have a distinct viewpoint – but why should anyone care?
My experiences have formed my worldview – but why should anyone care?
And that’s what it comes back to. The mean girl voices in my head whisper the same incessant taunt…
Why would anyone care? Why should they?
Those voices piss me off.
Why am I so fearful of what others think? I don’t pay my bills with the opinions of others. Why do I let it matter?
I’m back to my original question.
What am I so afraid of?
And that’s the real question I’m only just beginning to ask, think about, and attempt to answer.
I’m always afraid.
Not of catastrophe or accidents. I stopped playing the “what if” game years ago: What if I’m in an accident? What if I lose a client? What if something terrible, awful, or horrendous happens? Somewhere, somehow, I learned that I handle the things the Universe throws at me.
But I’m always afraid.
Of being judged. Of being found wanting. Of failing. Of letting others down. Of looking ridiculous or stupid or uneducated or uninformed.
My fears are internal, living in my mind, wreaking havoc in my brain.
Hell, even the fears I have as a mother aren’t because I think my decisions are bad ones. I parent from pure instinct which is fairly reliable. No, my fears often involve what other people will think of my decisions.
All this fear is paralyzing.
I don’t write. I don’t try new things. I don’t put myself out there. I don’t move forward.
Instead, I stand still. I stagnate. I become a dreamer who never acts on anything. I play it safe…always.
So what does this all mean?
It means that I needed a wake up call. I needed to hit a new low. I needed to get angry at myself – not the self-loathing anger that accomplishes nothing, but the white hot fury that burns everything else away.
And I did. It’s not sustainable, but it was enough for me to realize I’m done living in fear.
Of course nothing big and great is accomplished over night, and I still face the hurdles that my internal monologue throws at me all day every day.
But you don’t have to be unafraid every moment of every day.
You only need a few seconds.
I was afraid of a notebook and a pen. I was afraid of writing my own thoughts. But I was also afraid of not writing. I’m still all of those things.
But if you ever read this on a screen instead of attempting to decipher my chicken scratch from a dusty old notebook, you’ll know for a few seconds, I wasn’t afraid.