Fearful Heroism

Wow.

Seriously, I’ve been staring at this screen for about half an hour and I’ve got nothing. I’ve started this article three times and it’s all been pretentious crap, like I’m some kind of poetic blogger. It’s been a awhile since I’ve blogged and I just… well…I don’t think I’m ready to write. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of ideas but they weren’t just right, you know? Each one of these articles is a piece of me and I really want to give the appropriate piece. And I’m not trying to avoid it, I just don’t want to screw it up.

Ok, maybe if I find out what’s going on for me, I can get some work done instead of just mull around and pretend to be busy. So I sat down at the computer after making a promise to write this week. I clicked on the page and boom, froze. Like I have nothing to say. But there is plenty going on inside of me, just nothing that I want to admit to the world. I mean, I don’t want to come off as some kind of weakling.

Wait a second… screw it up? Weakling?

I remember being in school, fifth grade in English class and the teacher would say “let’s write a story” and I would flip out (in a good way) because it was so easy for me to just get a story started. I ripped off plenty of ideas but put my own spin on them. At one point, I blatantly stole a title from a well known children’s author by replacing two words: fourth and nothing with fifth and something. I wasn’t afraid to make things my own.

And here I am, tens if not hundreds of years later. And I am afraid.

Sigh.

So what are you going to do this week, Dave? Are you going to think your way out or are you going to feel your way out?

Good question. And it’s nice to know that I have options. Let’s see if I can sort this out: I’m afraid of making a mistake and I’m afraid of seeming weak. Just saying it out loud has already lessened the feeling. But it’s so familiar that I’m surprised I wasn’t able to identify it faster.

What does making a mistake really mean to me: I make mistakes all the time and I’m slowly (very slowly) realizing how much I can learn from them. What kind of mistake can I make that would lead me to be paralyzed? Writing a lousy column. But what does that say about me if I write a lousy column? That I have no business writing in the first place.

Ah, so there’s the first piece of the puzzle- insecurity. I’m feeling insecure about my skills and the best way to eliminate insecurity is to just abandon that which causes the feeling.

Uh, no, that’s not the way it works. What I’m realizing is that once I get going, it really flows. Like write now (get it? It’s a pun) I’m feeling very comfortable with what I’m doing and have no thought of failing or making mistakes because I’m just letting the writing come. I’m in the zone, as they say and it ain’t twilight in here (get it? Because it’s daytime. I’m on a roll!) Alright, part one, done.

part two: I am afraid of seeming weak. Hm… is this tied to my feelings of insecurity…? If I write about something I have a problem with (uh, like my lack of confidence) then people will know I have poor confidence. And if they know that, they won’t want to associate with me because who wants to associate with a weakling?

This one’s trickier. It sure seems like confidence but it’s not. If no one wants to hang out with a weakling then I will be all alone and I will always be alone. So I need to seem like I have my head together so people will like me! Ooh, self esteem. Sometimes it’s high and sometimes it’s low and right now it’s low, baby. So what can I do to pull it up?

What I’d like to do is remember that I’m not 8 years old anymore and that most people, if not everyone can identify with what I’m going through. In fact (not fiction, though fiction is an effective medium for this stuff), that’s what writers do best: they extricate the common human experience for the benefit of others in order for others to identify and, in turn, feel normal.

So, by writing about my fears and such, others will say “oh! so that’s normal to feel” and I’ll be the hero! That feels fantastic. And it takes no time! I guess it’s just a choice of whether I want to admit the truth to myself. And that’s something I am not afraid to do (get it? because I… yeah, you get it).

Look at that – from zero to hero in no time flat (TM and C Disney).

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