I’ve always loved writing, and at several points in my life, I was encouraged to write more. Save for a handful of times, I never really heeded the advice, until now, when I decided to give it a go. Of course, this meant that I had to face what had always stopped me. The dreaded F word: Fear! To say that I’m scared of writing would be an understatement. I’m mortified. The thought of surrendering to my thoughts and feelings, and then all of that being out there for all is the stuff horror movies are made of. I find myself repeatedly questioning why something millions were doing on a daily could be up there with my katsaridaphobia (fear of cockroaches).
I’m going to try to be as rational as possible in what I think has stopped me all these years. For starters, I took the decision to write about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In other words, writing that hits close to home. There’s something about writing from the heart that makes it eerie. It requires that you be completely honest with yourself. Essentially, you’re opening Pandora’s box and shoving the key in the bin. Your soul gets stripped naked and everything you’ve tried to sweep under the rug makes its way back into your life. Even the things that may seem absurd now, but you know weren’t absurd back then. Now you know you may have been delusional about some things before, but you weren’t delusional then, so it affected you. You can’t escape, and you can’t undo what you’ve felt. Logic may enlighten you later, but whatever you felt back then, can’t be changed. There was no logic. You really are trying to re-live things that may have hurt you profoundly at some point, but you don’t want to write about them as the person you are now who isn’t affected as much, you want to go back in time and write. Ouch!
Then, comes the fear of others reading what I’ve written. The kind of fear that nightmares are made of. My train of thought would usually be something like “OMG, what if they think my writing is crap?” or “Damn, what if I’m bombarded with comments about how superficial and boring my writing is?” “Who are you to write?” or “Your story is so boring and cliché.” Even worse, “Do you know how many people are going to take make fun of you every single day?” As soon as those questions made their way into my mind, there was no way I was writing anything more than an email or WhatsApp message. Honestly, I just can’t fathom how horrible I would feel if I was subjected to horrible comments? The internet is a scary world and cyberbullying seems to be the hobby of choice these days. Add to that the fact that confidence was never my strongest suit, and when your morale is bludgeoned with such demoralizing dialogue on the daily, the outlook is plain bleak.
Furthermore, and this is not too different from the point before, but I’ve always been very selective with whom I share my personal information. Mainly due to fear of being judged. How on earth am I supposed to bare my soul to people I don’t know? More importantly, why the hell would I do that? It will only make me spend more time trying to make sure they understand what I’ve written than actually writing, not to mention how anxious I will be wondering if I was misunderstood or if I offended someone.
So, I did the only thing I could do. I procrastinated, searched google for articles on why writing a blog is horrible, snacked like a dinosaur, and constantly read stories of writers who starved to death or committed suicide. Of course, I also knew that those writers in question were aspiring to cause a social and political revolution, not write a blog. So of course, my imagination (the nice word for destructive in my case) started working overtime and visualizing some unrealistic and negative scenarios
Me (sits at a table in the restaurant): “Can I have the menu please?”
Before my question is even answered, I see a group of girls staring at their phones and giggling while looking at me. I know they are whispering about my writing, and I feel bad, so I get up and run.
Of course, it never occurred to me that my picture is plastered all over social media was never a requirement for writing. Even more so, the underlying assumption that if I write I’m going to be so famous that people will recognize me wherever I go. Low self-esteem mixed with self-absorption?
Funny how I’m using writing to write about my fear of writing
Now that I’ve put it all down on paper, I can’t help but ask myself, does it really matter? Wil l I quit writing altogether because of all my fears or will I take the risk and go for it? Only I can answer that really. Only I can choose to let my love of writing overpower my fears. It’s no easy feat and a lot of my fears are legitimate. The gift of allowing yourself to do something you enjoy is a blessing that cannot be put into words. Be your own biggest supporter and appreciate those who give you feedback because there is always room to grow and areas for development. It takes a lot of hard work to come to change your mindset regarding preconceived notions which you have nurtured for years, but it’s not set in stone and there are so many ways you can overcome all the limiting beliefs and emotions that held you back and move towards something challenging but joyful. The negative places we go to can be the starting point for some very positive changes ahead.
Acceptance is very powerful, and people will react in different ways for a number of reasons, some positive, some negative, and some indifferent. One thing’s for sure though, it’s their right to see things through their own eyes and according to their map of the world just like it’s my right and duty to myself to do something I enjoy. Something I believe could have a positive impact, even if it’s on just one person who simply relates to the experience. It may not be ground-breaking or earth-shattering writing but if it moves one person to feel that they’re not alone and that whatever they’re feeling, as bad as it may be, there’s someone who understands. If I’m that someone, even if I’m just a number out of 11111111111111111119 others, it’s good enough for now.