Fear of death and disease are very real, tangible fears. Easy to recognize and therefore fairly easy to acknowledge and deal with. I've stated many times here on this blog and to friends and family that I choose not to let fear dictate my life. I choose to not fear but to trust God, not fear and Live.
So if I'm so adamant about 'no fear' in this area of my life what about how I live with fear in other areas? It hit me the other day that I am not exercising my 'no fear' muscles when it comes to writing a novel, or getting a job for instance. Fear is paralyzing me in these areas specifically and I think it's time I did something about it.
But wow - it feels like this fear is harder to handle and I'm not even sure what to call it. Maybe fear of failing miserably, fear of what others will think of you or fear of being out of touch. It's so easy to just put it off for another day. Procrastination is one of my biggest problems. I'll clean the house rather then write, decide I don't have enough time before the kids come home and I don't like to be interrupted so I'll just wait till tomorrow. And then tomorrow something else happens and soon it's 3 years since I've picked up the proverbial pen and written anything more then a grocery list. Procrastination is just my unhealthy response to fear.
Interestingly enough I'm not a procrastinator in all area's of my life. I plan meals early in the day, I clean my house regularly, I'm almost done my Christmas shopping, I don't like leaving things undone. Except for when it comes to creating. Maybe it's the fear of being vulnerable. Being creative is often a very vulnerable space. You are stating who you are through what you write, or what picture you choose to put on your wall, or the style of house you like, the kind of music that speaks to you, how you like to spend your free time, and those things are very personal. They speak about what's inside, they reveal what kind of person you are, what you love, what you dream about.
This maybe goes without saying but often the things we fear the most are related to the things that are our biggest desires and dreams. I first started writing for fun when Zach was a baby. I love him so much but he was a very cranky baby and cried a lot (my mother in law liked to say he had distinct sides - gloom to glory). And I had Ana who was not even 2 when her brother was born. It was a crazy time as other mothers will attest too. I loved reading and books so I decided I needed to do something for me, for my mind, for my spirit and I started writing a novel. And then I told a few people. In the beginning it wasn't a problem. I worked on it when I had spare moments and it morphed and meandered and changed from something terrible to something a bit more coherent but never quite right. 5 years into it I began to regret that I had ever said a thing to anybody. I dreaded the questions: 'how's the book? are you almost done? what's it about? I began to panic a bit. I was stuck somewhere in the middle of the story and couldn't find my way out and everyone expected me to be published by now! (at least that's how it felt). And that feeling of fear and panic did not help me to keep going.
I'd go to writer's conferences and become motivated for a while and write every day (for about 6 months I even managed to get up at 5am and write till 7 when the kids woke up) but then it would feel difficult again and I'd start thinking about what would happen if someone actually read it, I'd get discouraged and stop for a while. And then, well, cancer wasn't helpful either.
So here I am. Back at that place I was 2 years ago. And still wondering what to do about it. What to do with life. How to deal with that fear. Then there's the idea of getting a job. I've thought about it for a few months. My oncologist thinks it would be good for me. But my kids are still home by 3 every day and can't quite stay on their own yet and - oh yeah, I'm terrified. I started a resume a few months ago and even sent it to a friend to look over. It overwhelmed me. I mean, I haven't worked for 11 years. So that resume is gathering dust in my inbox. I haven't even looked at the suggested changes.
Right now these fears of real life seem so much harder then fears of cancer. So weird, I know. But cancer was something I had to meet head on. I couldn't let it win. It was evil and yucky and not something I wanted. So I dealt and deal with that fear daily. But this? This fear of pursuing a dream? What do I do with this? What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if my writing sucks and is worse then anything anyone could imagine and I'm totally deluded?
And now I've written a post for others to see that chronicles some of my deepest fears and insecurities. I must be crazy. Pressing Publish will not be easy. But I have this sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only one to feel and fear these things and in the spirit of moving on and dealing with fear...