October 15, 2020

The Fear that Stops us from Writing what’s in our Hearts.

 

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I’ve always enjoyed writing.

I got my first journal when I was eight. Since then, I found there was something about writing that called to me.

Later, I learned specific reasons why I received benefit from it. For one, it helped me process my thoughts and feelings. Being primarily introverted, and even though I almost never show my writings to anyone, writing helps me interact and deal with others and situations—it’s a therapeutic technique.  

Personally, I like writing on paper the best; there’s something about putting pen to paper that soothes my soul. Also, I’m occasionally a dumb*ss that hits the wrong button that deletes everything without it being backed up anywhere. I’ve also had a tendency to crash electronics, losing everything digital. 

After so many years of writing, I’ve developed a desire to write in hopes of reaching and connecting with others.

Few have ever read anything that I’ve written. Since I usually write in a “diary style,” it tends to be too personal for me to share or I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with anyone. It can be scary to put oneself out there like that—to be that vulnerable—whether to a stranger or someone that knows me.

More so, it’s terrifying to maybe, possibly, inadvertently, put too much out there about someone else. A main saying you hear is to write what you know. It’s a task for me to write what I know about my experiences, and be generic enough that it doesn’t affect those I care about.

Even writing in a more generic way, changing identifiable specifics, and of course, without using real names—my biggest fear is family or a friend coming to me feeling exposed, angry, confused, threatened, or anxious. My biggest fear holds me back from pursuing something I would love to do—write out loud. 

I’ve been working on that fear, granted, not as quickly as I’d like. I’d much rather flip a switch and it’d be gone—for all that fear to disappear.

Wouldn’t we all love a switch that removes fear?

But nope, I gotta put in the work. Fear of doing something you want to do is hard to overcome. It’s difficult to walk through your fears. I try to face it, to say, “F*ck it, I’m doing it.” I also have to allow myself to be okay with failing. I have to be brave, strong, and independent, even if it’s only by one baby-step at a time, with setbacks along the way. 

One article I finished to completion (another bad writing habit I’ve been working on), I felt comfortable submitting for review here on Elephant Journal. I liked how it came out, and I felt comfortable enough sharing it with others. It was vague enough; I was still able to express the things I was going through.  

I was post-divorce after about 20 years, single again for the first time since I was 16 years old. Needless to say, there were some overdue wild oats to sow; I went sowing away with guys in their 20s. Around the same time, Waylon posted an article and came out with his book, Things I Would like to Do with You.

Because of my situation and what I was going through at the time, they helped inspire me to write Things I Shouldn’t Want to do With You. After all, a lot of people judge such an age difference. A part of me internalized their judgement and shame that I shouldn’t want to do these kinds of things with a guy that was much younger than me. Surprisingly, I wrote it pretty easily, like it was something that needed to pour out of me.

So, I worked the article and stuck with it all the way until I felt comfortable releasing it out there. It helped me acknowledge, process, and accept what I was going through. It also helped me distance myself from the judgments; submitting it helped peel a little more of that fear away.  

The possibility that writing might help someone else with what they’re experiencing or give someone a different point of view fuels my desire to write. So, I keep practicing; I keep growing and keep putting in the work.  

Here years later, I’m still working on my writing fear. One way I’ve done that is by writing on a regular basis, making a conscious effort to write regularly, and by practicing a more generic style. I don’t see myself ever giving up my “diary-style” writing, but I keep practicing to put myself out there.

I’m still a ways away from feeling comfortable sharing my writings. Even now, I’m nervously hitting the submit button for this article. As with most things, it’s a work in progress. And I continue to walk through that fear at my own pace toward my goal of being comfortable to write out loud.   

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