Last week I sat down to write my first blog for the Huffington Post and fear had me frozen in my chair. Usually I write like I breathe: I don't have to think about it, it's just what happens. This time, however, I was blank. Something about this assignment brought out my greatest fears. What if people hated what I wrote? What if they think I'm a jerk?
These kinds of thoughts are new to me because #1: I think I'm a pretty terrific person and #2: I usually don't care what other people think. Taking a chance naturally creates a certain amount of internal drama and honey, I can do drama with the best of them. I'm perfectly willing to go full Scarlett O'Hara. The heaving bosom, a dramatic sigh, "Why excuse me, sir, I'm gettin' a fit of the vapors."
There's something a little sexy about being dramatic in the face of fear. It brings out the altruistic nature in others. "You can do it... don't be scared honey... I know you've got it in you." All of that reassurance just feels so good!
I've spent a good part of my adult life seeking attention in sometimes strange and dramatic ways. I nurture my belief in the boogie man and fluster at any bump or creak in the night. I've written a thousand blogs that nobody read and spent hours pondering my unrecognized brilliance. Then all at once I get the call that asks "hey, can you blog for The Huffington Post?" and here I sit frozen in fear. I can no longer hide behind being artistic and complicated. I've got to pull myself together and write. Or not. Am I going to be the writer I said I wanted to be or will I hide out in my fear?
Here I am, a fully responsible grown woman with a wonderful opportunity. What am I going to do? Who am I going to be?
Not coincidentally, this week I am also plagued with a bit of writers block. And so I've decided to simply write and tell the truth as I experience it in this moment. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that people will like my writing and I'm afraid that they won't. I worry that nobody will read it and I'm afraid that they will. I originally wanted this whole blogging thing to be a career, then a pastime and now I don't know what I want. I moved to New York to be a "name" and when that didn't happen, I put artistic aspirations aside. I set out to make a life for myself that felt comfortable and happy and peaceful. And I have.
Then right when I stopped worrying about it; right when I no longer cared -- poof. There it was: opportunity. I couldn't have planned the way this has all unfolded. Only now instead of being some character in the drama of my life, I'm just a regular person. A wife, a worker, a mother and friend. I have stories to tell about how I came to my sometimes non-conforming views. But really that's all. It's not sexy or complicated. It's just regular life.
Last week commenter Brittany Binowski responded to an article I wrote by saying "...we need more people like this, who are brave enough to say what's really on their minds. Not only does it set you free, but it sets other people like me free as well. :)" I think Brittany is my new girl crush!
She has inspired and reminded me what this whole thing is all about. If I can stand up and say what feels real for me it makes room for other people to do the same.
I will post this blog about my fears. I acknowledge that pressing "submit" might not make the fear go away. Knowing that I'm doing what feels true and right for me in this moment will make being afraid feel ok.
Telling my truth and submitting this posting might be the most ridiculous idea ever. I'm ok with that. Scarlett O'Hara has left the building. Today, I'm facing my fears!
Kathy Carter Woods is a featured columnist for Ricki Lake Magazine and author of If You Focus On the Trees; You'll Hit The Trees (and other life lessons).
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers. Learn more