Friday, January 13, 2012

Got Fear? Break Out the Sling-Shot.

You know that saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back its yours. If not, it never was"? Yeah, it's lovely. And probably true. But flip it around and make the thing you're releasing Fear, and see if it still ain't isn't true: "If you fear something, set it free. If it comes back its yours (to deal with). If not, it never was (so stop freaking out about it)." 

Russo's post yesterday about fear got me thinking. I've been struggling with this a LOT lately. And fear does pretty much stop you in your tracks, just as Russ said. Which totally stinks. Because if it gets out of control--i.e., gets you in a half-nelson--it wrecks all the things you love doing, not just the things you don't.

But I wonder how much of what I fear is actually real? And if I were able to set it free instead of holding onto it like a life-preserver, would the stuff that stops me just float away? I kind of think so.

Lately, this has been me, writing my book:
And I'm so, SO tired of it. I've rewritten the front end of my book over and over again for almost 4 years, thinking that I've got to get it perfect, or I can't write the rest of the story.

Then a dear friend of mine *cough*Robin*cough* asked if I might be in perpetual opening-chapters-rewrite because I'm terrified to write the rest of the book. WELL, Miss SmartyKeyboard! I think I know more about my writing psyche than you do. You live clear across the country from me. What do you think you have, objectivity or something? I can write this book! I can write it any time I want. I just don't feel like it right now, a'ight? I just need . . . I just . . . I . . . er . . . 

Yeah. That was it. I was hanging on to my front-end for dear life. (Is it just me, or did that sound wrong?) And it was symbolic of a whole lot of other things I live with too.

So, I decided that enough was enough. I had one nerve left, and fear was getting on it. So here's what I did. (Hope it sticks) I asked myself what I thought was going to happen if I started writing the rest of the book and found out I couldn't do it. And I answered,

-Well, I'd be a failure.
-Then I said, trying not to roll my eyes, really? A failure because you tried something and it didn't work out?
-Well, I answered, no-ooo. I guess not. I'd be more of a failure if I never tried at all.
-Very good, I said in reply. Then I asked myself, What if you write the rest of the book and it stinketh? Like the proverbial Limburger?
-After I uncurled myself from the fetal position I replied, People would think I was really pathetic.
-Which People, I asked myself.
-Oh, you know, People. I said, and got myself a drink because this fear thing is really thirsty-making. 

-So, I said, not actual people then. Just People you imagine are out there judging you.
-Yep, I said, with just a touch of defiance.
-"Self." I said to myself. "Has it ever occurred to you that most People are scared of the same thing, and even if they do judge you, you're not going to fall into a hole in the earth and everyone who actually does love you isn't going to shovel the dirt in after you? They'll still be there. They'll still love you. And they'll admire you for trying."

-Oh. I see. 

-Then I added for good measure, "Also, you need to throw the fears up in the air and run away, instead of trying to stamp them down and keep them in control. Stamping them down means they are still under your feet, which means they can still tap you on the ankle and harass you. Slingshot them up to the sky or the universe or whatever, and walk away. They won't come back. So they won't be yours anymore."

I'm trying this. So far its working. I'm not writing my book for the mysterious People anymore. I'm writing it to see if I can do it. And also for my nieces who have been nagging me for two years to get it done so they can finish reading it. Bless their fuzzy hearts. :)

Now all that's left for me to do is find a therapist and see what I can do about this talking to myself-thing. It's starting to freak us out.

-Like totally.


Robin said...

I soooo get this. I've been wondering lately why I haven't done more work on my book. I've been using Lily as an [excellent] excuse, but the truth is that I haven't worked on it because I'm afraid I'm a lousy storyteller. A book would prove it. Also, a big part of me wants to write an *important* book, but what I really need to write is a funny one. We're still arguing over that.

Lizz said...

Lovely mama, may you forever be sling shot-ing your fears in the air, and may their screams of...uh...fear...fade into the background of your triumphant life :) This is something i'm sure we all could do. I'm gonna go get my sling shot now.

Janiel Miller said...

Child! You read and commented on yo mama's post! *sniff* I borrowed my slingshot from you, you know, O Leaper Off Of 30-Foot Dive Platforms And Generally Brave Chick.

Janiel Miller said...

Rob - A funny book is an important book. Especially in this world. You have the best wry sense of humor ever. Get it out there, woman!

Maegan Langer said...

I love this post! You're right, Janiel. It's time to let go of the fear. And while you're at it, release your front end too. It's time to let it go.

P.S. I love your cute little drawings, too! Especially the one in this post. Poor thing. She looks like she could use a hug and some frozen yogurt.

William Kendall said...

And when you reach the end, you'll find yourself not wanting to end the story.

Russo said...

This seriously just helped me so much, I have been trying to conquer my fears. I also liked your wording of when gets you in a half-nelson. Perfectly worded.

I adore the drawing BTW, you are so talented. And I adore the saying, bless their fuzzy hearts. Thank you for helping me and not even knowing it.