I'm standing at the edge. It's twenty feet high. No, it's a thousand feet high. Somebody push me.
I'm not afraid of hurting myself if I fall. That's just my body. You should see me ski (fast, with marginal form). I'm afraid of YOU -- the pulsing orb of millions of eyeballs that the Huffington Post allegedly gets a day, according to Alexa. It's not each and everyone of you; it's the collective YOU I have trouble with. I just can't fathom that many people in their underwear.
I'm a painter, not a blogger (and a lover not a fighter). I can't just sit at the computer and casually type my thoughts and let all you people in my head. I strain and wince and edit and craft and have an occasional burst of excitement for my own brilliance interspersed with sinking
feelings of dread. It's not the same when I paint. When I paint, it's just me and the canvas in the studio where I get an occasional burst of excitement for my own brilliance interspersed with sinking feelings of dread -- but it's nothing a little turpentine can't fix. I once had this fantasy that I'd start an art blog and I'd show works in progress as they were coming along. But YOU got the better of me and the truth is I'd rather pull the curtain off and say "voila."
On the whole, I prefer painting over writing as a medium. Writing bates me to morph into a self-deprecating puddle in order to be endearing to the YOU whom I fear, while painting enables me to articulate visions I have in my head with color while I get to play god -- so much more fulfilling! My writings hide mostly in a sketchbooks and drawers while paintings hang on walls and form an instantaneous, intimate relationship with the beholder which I live for.
When Arianna asked me to contribute a chapter to her book, On Being Fearless, last spring, I assembled a great pile of words. I confessed my deepest fears, beginning from childhood and tracing them through adulthood. I had a tidy paragraph at the end on how I overcame them, how I triumphed. It went from minor to major like a Beethoven symphony. Then, when it was time to press the send button . . . I . . . I couldn't do it.
Now here I am again, debating on pressing the upload button. I'm fearless with so many things. Yet when it comes to confessional writing to millions of people I don't know, I am not fearless. I'm "fearless in training." We all are in some ways, aren't we? Time to watch Defending Your Life again!
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