I’ve noticed something very curious about fear, both in general and as it relates to writing. It’s always there, I’m just very good at trying to look the other way. And we all know how well that works. It doesn’t. Every time I sit down to write, there is fear that starts fluttering away in my chest. An internal dialogue starts, always self-depreciating. Ironically, I don’t experience this when I write a post on Facebook; a place of complete exposure. But when the fear comes, I will not write. Anything. I just click that little red “x” in the upper right hand corner of the empty page with the proclamation “I can’t do it,” and busy myself in something else.
At first I thought it wise to figure out the “why” but I remembered that even if I do figure out why, I just end up constructing a mental fiction about it, filled with drama and intrigue, and it just compounds and completely defeats the purpose. So no scrutinizing whys.
I’ve managed to make friends with my other arch rival, pain, why not this unfounded and irrational fear? So, I invited fear to come and sit awhile. Like pain, it too came quietly. It sat very still, not the jittery, sweaty thing I had imagined it to be. When I looked into its eyes I didn’t see quivering terror. I saw a luminous softness, and somewhere behind the softness there was longing. And in the quietest of voices, barely above a whisper, it explained its loneliness. With a childlike innocence so tender and fragile, it was feeling very isolated. Separated. It longed for union and that union had to begin with my acceptance of its existence. Another dear old friend just needing a loving embrace. Another one I had forsaken. Stupid me. Coward to the bone.
But fear, when you invite it without resistance or definition, is such a tender thing. An infant, all pink and soft and helpless, wanting to be nurtured, to be accepted, to be whole. But this wholeness it longs for is not with the outside world or anything material or with anyone else. It has awakened into the cold light of an illusory world and has become lost in the gaudiness, mesmerized by the din, believing its fairy tales and its horror stories. It’s utterly confused.
So, I took its wee hand and patted it. A comforted understanding bloomed and it simply faded away. All that remained was a grateful and radiant smile.