Facing My Fears

Jeff Goins (he of the ebooks I already mentioned) recently posted a challenge: to fall back in love with writing by writing something dangerous and then sharing it.

Dangerous? That word doesn’t inspire me. I don’t think of myself as doing things that are dangerous, and writing isn’t dangerous. But if I turn it around, and ask myself what I’m afraid to write? What scares me? Oh, yes, there is plenty of that.

I’m scared to be too open. To let my face be shown. It’s why I have a picture of a teacup (my favorite one, but still, it’s a teacup) as my avatar. It’s why I don’t use my full name on my blog or on twitter. It’s why I don’t link my facebook account to my blog.

My husband knows I have this blog, but he’s never read it. He’s just not interested. The rest of my family? I’ve never told them about it. I’ve told a couple of real-life friends, and one of them reads faithfully, but other than that, I’ve told no one.

What if people think I’m stupid. Or I can’t write. Or I take lousy photos. Or I’m fat. Or I’ve got bad hair. Or no style. I’m scared that people from high school or college might stumble across my site and recognize me and think…

Actually, I don’t know what I’m so scared of. That what, someone I haven’t talked to or thought about in years or decades might find my blog and recognize me and think I’m a bad writer or uncreative or boring? So what? If I don’t care about them, why does their opinion matter to me?

And yet it still makes me flustered to think of sharing my picture, my face, my name.

What if my husband’s family reads the blog and doesn’t like something I’ve said (have I said anything that they might not like? I can’t even remember. Does it really matter?)

What if my family reads the blog? I know they don’t like everything I do now, but we’ve always followed a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when talking or visiting.

I know I censor myself when I write, because I don’t want to hurt feelings or share too much, or violate someone’s trust. All stories aren’t mine to share, and I try to be really conscious of that. If I knew more people who were reading would I censor myself even more (is that possible?)

I used to always think there was some secret class that most girls went to sometime in junior high and I missed that day at school. How did other girls always look so polished and put together, and my hair was always disheveled, my clothes wrinkled, and my makeup never lasted until lunchtime? I still feel that way most of the time, and wonder if the voice in my head that is so critical of my appearance will ever be silenced.

This absolutely terrifies me. But here is the most recent picture I have of myself, taken with my baby. No, neither one of us are looking at the camera, but it’s me.

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I’m also linking this up on Write It, Girl.