There is a quote I stumbled upon recently that gave me pause. “What would you write if you weren’t afraid?” I’m going to come clean and say I have been afraid most of my life. Afraid of messing up, hurting someone’s feelings, failing, not being good enough, not trying hard enough, missing an opportunity or better yet getting it and totally blowing it. Guess what, it’s been exhausting!
We all have hang-ups that affect our worth. Mine happens to be from childhood and although mine was pretty awesome in a lot of ways I have recently unearthed some deep insecurities from it. Let me start by saying I was very lucky to have such a loving family. I was the baby and much younger than my siblings. My oldest sister was 15 years older, then 11 and my brother was 9 years older. With that came a lot of fun but when the party was over they all left. They ventured off to college then moved out of state after they got married. So from the age of 6 on there was constant shift in my house and for a girl who loved her older sisters it was heartbreaking to say the least. I remember crying uncontrollably on the foot of my mother’s bed when my middle sibling left for Indiana the day after her wedding.
For a long time I blamed myself in some weird way for them leaving. I created an unspoiled universe around perfection and even thought if I could be “perfect” then people wouldn’t leave me. Yeah, heavy stuff right?! Then add in I was creative and highly sensitive to the world around me. I put perfect on a pedestal and often thought if I could be perfect then I had some control. For me it was how I held myself and what I created.
The hard thing, it wasn’t an easy task. It turns out that even when I felt I did something close to perfect, I sought the next perfect thing to conquer. That is what I mean by exhausting. For a long time I discounted the importance and value in failure and struggle. I have learned a lot about myself over the last decade and even in this last year. My conclusion, for me it has something to do with writing. When Covid hit I spent the first month directionless then something inside my soul told me to finish the book I had been writing for years. Guess what?! I finished it in late August!
Let me say, writing a novel isn’t for the faint of hearts and neither is trying to get an agent. What I did realize was, it allowed me to share things I never felt empowered to share any other way. In some ways writing is a great exercise for someone who is timid and reserved because it feels safe to write about fictional characters and circumstances.
The virtue I learned through the process is patience. I thought I had it before but this is process is on a whole other level. I have worked so hard on this novel, honed my craft and yet I still wait. Wait for feedback, interest and rejection. When I say “braver with age” it’s because I’m not sure I would have the guts to write this book the way I did a year ago or five or ten years ago. And I certainly couldn’t have written like this in my 20’s. There is a certain boldness that comes with age and I am fully embracing it! Hopefully you are too, no matter what your age.
Happy Friday friends!