It’s overcast, damp and a little chilly – for Sacramento anyway. There’s not too much going on today, my calendar is wide open. School doesn’t start back up until the 23rd. It’s not as though I don’t have anything to do (there’s laundry, vacuuming, writing, reading, etc.), but that I don’t have to do anything. Nothing is due, nothing is pending, there are no deadlines. It is up to me to provide motivation internally – historically a difficult task for me. To that end, I write about it.
It is interesting that, although I enjoy writing, am somewhat adept at it and usually get great insight and perspective from it, I never want to write. Oh, sure if I have an assignment or deadline I’ll usually get right down to it. Whether I want to or not isn’t even a factor, but it is when I’m am writing just for the sake of writing, like now, that I have trouble getting started. However, once the words start to flow, continuing is never an issue. I’ll lose track of time, get lost in my own thoughts and come up with new ideas like they are swept up into the vortex of thoughts created by the flow of words.
On a smaller scale, the same thing often happens when I come to the end of a paragraph, an idea or reach some other “end.” Where to go from here? Perhaps it is the overwhelming number of directions I could explore that keeps me comfortably at square one for so long. After all, isn’t choosing not to choose still making a choice? Perhaps. But it goes deeper than that. I think that at some level there is a paralyzing fear. Fear of failure, not measuring up, looking stupid, not being liked, ad infinitum. Admittedly, I am not driven by these fears as I once was, but I still feel them. Just because I am not frozen in place by them – I can and do walk through them – doesn’t mean they went away. The residual effect is reflected in my reluctance to start anything new.
So have I conquered my fears? I don’t know that I ever can. In a way, they are part of who I am. But these demons do not have to run (or ruin) my life. Instead of being paralyzed by fear, I get to note it, acknowledge it and move through it. Indeed, the only way to guarantee failure is to not try. These irrational fears are all based in ego and have nothing to do with the rational fears that keep me alive. In fact, they damned near killed me. It is an interesting and deadly paradox. Being afraid to act rationally can be just as deadly as ignoring the fear to act irrationally.