On Fear

I’ve discovered over the years that fear has driven a great many of my decisions. This has seldom been to my benefit and is relevant to my current situation the most.

Ever since grade school, I have wanted to write. I wrote often then—when I didn’t care as much about what the world thought of me. If it seemed interesting to me, I wrote about it. Any little thing. As I got older, that changed. I had other obligations that got in the way of what I really wanted to do. And there were expectations on what I was supposed to become. These included something more stable than Writer with a capital “W”.

The time devoted to it became less and less and I lost interest in some ways, but even worse, I began to grow in fear. The world gets scary as you grow and you start to wonder how you’ll get through adulthood. I still wonder this, but I have the sense to put that fear on the back burner from time to time and roll my sleeves up. I’ve worked odd jobs. Never ones that I was “supposed” to, but I became aimless when I was constantly pushed in different directions by people around me.

Those damned expectations reared their heads again.

I started to care too much what the world thought. I started to feel that to have something stable was the most important thing in life. I needed to be a “valuable” member of society. I needed to contribute. I let that get in the way for much too long and lost a lot of damn good years to actual hard labor for no other reason than I was scared to try something that couldn’t be considered a “sure thing”…and a little because it was just easier.

The fear of instability has been beaten out of me somewhat these last few years and this year especially. It’s funny how changes you can’t control force you to grow when you do not want to. Well, either grow or shrivel up. I tend to do my personal growth at a glacial pace—much to the chagrin of people who care about me. I have found that when that luxury is taken from me that I do the most growth. Kind of cliche, I guess, but there it is.

In all of this, I have been goddamn lucky to have a partner in crime. A damn patient and supportive partner. Without whom I would never have done any of this. Sometimes we need someone to suss out our potential and help us be less afraid.

Now, I’ve been pushed to take the plunge for real. To sit down every night and put words to paper…well, fingers to keys. It’s working. I’ve accomplished something, but there’s still a mountain to climb and that fear creeps back in. “You’re not that good.” “People only like your work because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.” “If you share too much, you’re going to come across as one of those weirdos that’s much too confident in themselves because someone liked their Naruto fan-fiction once.” (Disclaimer: I do not, nor have I ever written a single piece of fan-fiction of any kind and I never will. It was just a sort of proof of concept of my shitty neuroses.)

Yeah…that’s how my stupid brain works. But I work every day to shut those voices up and keep typing. I do my best to do it every single day. If I do it long enough and do my best to learn, something great will come. Nothing is stable. Work hard at what you should be doing, not what people expect. (But make sure you’re actually somewhat good at it too.) It won’t kill you. Well…not right away…

I’ll say more later.
-W R

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