I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now. I love elephant journal from its grassroots to the tips of its unkempt hair.
I love the passion, seeking and closeness to the edge. I love to share articles with my friends so we can sigh together, virtually.
Offline, I write and teach yoga. No wonder this place feels like home, right?
Still. Every time I think of submitting my own work, I shiver and shake. Here are some of the reasons why.
I live with a constant anxiety buzz that propels me around life like a remote-control helicopter endlessly circling the living room. Eventually I crash hard. Then I wake up, find something else to worry about and begin again. Yoga helps some but not nearly enough.
Fear of Rejection
Polite or not, no one wants to be rejected. I’ve rarely placed my heart or soul on the line. I’m more likely to wait until I’m sure you like me before I decide I like you. Hey, it works…sort of.
Fear of Criticism
I’ve been writing regularly for the last seven years but I’ve never allowed my creative endeavors to be “workshopped.” It sounds too much like “chopped up.” As in, into tiny pieces. As in my soul. Ouch.
Fear of Haters
I did submit a guest column to a parenting blog a few years back. I wrote about my fear (surprise, surprise) of getting sandwiched between caring for my kids and my folks and never finding time and space to pursue my own dreams. My piece was popular. One of the kinder comments was that I “wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.” Others implied that I was a selfish wench deserving of immediate evisceration. They pretty much got their wish, in the metaphoric sense. I crawled back into my shell, clutching my belly.
Fear of Truth
See above. Sure, I know there are always going to be sharper knives. But who needs to be reminded?
Fear of Exposure
It’s a strange world. Strangers feel like friends while friends increasingly feel like strangers. Still, I live in a small town with a husband and children who are, to put it mildly, ambivalent about my penchant for personal writing. We’ve pretty much got the local gig figured out. So, what happens when I take it up a notch? How does it affect them?
Around these parts, I write safe. I don’t court conflict and I never show my whole hand. Elephant journal demands more from its writers. I know I’d need to dig deep into the gritty mess inside in order to reach the standard. Some days, I’m not sure I want to know that stuff about myself, let alone share it with the world.
Fear of You
Whether you greet me with love, hate or indifference, by putting myself out there, I’m inviting your input. For an introvert like me, that feels like a big deal. I’ve spent my life keeping a low profile. Elephant means a lot to me and I know many of you hold it dear. I don’t want to disappoint.
Fear of Change
I’ve been writing columns for a local paper owned by a corporate magnate for some time now. They own all my work, a privilege for which they pay me a little over minimum wage. I have enjoyed having a forum and using my voice to shape the direction of the community. It’s also been a great practice field. But I think I’m ready to play now.
It always seems easier to stick with the known even when it’s slowly killing you. It’s safer to skirt conflict and maintain anonymity. I’m great at getting stuck in ruts and pretending I like getting muddy. In truth, I’m ready for challenge and change. I’m ready to, as they say, upgrade my underwear.
So, I’m facing my fears and submitting some stuff. Personally, I think elephant’s a sweet fit for my yoga-loving, sunflower writer self. Agree or disagree, give a fig or don’t–I’m taking the leap.
Jump with me?
Editor: Seychelles Pitton
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