Friday, May 27, 2011

The Only Thing We Have to Fear...

...Is fear itself. The first time I heard that quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt, I was in a stage production of "Annie." I was 11. It didn't mean much to me at the time. I wasn't afraid of much. Swimming pools. (I had nearly drown during swim lessons once.) Spiders. (I slept in the basement. The window well of my room always had a few.) Nothing else really frightened me.

I grew up a little. Things started to scare me. I watched that movie "Tremors." You know. The one where there's weird creatures that live under ground and attack things on the surface? I ran across any open ground for days and avoided going outside.

I grew up a little more. I was old enough to date, but no one asked me out. I started to worry that I was ugly or stupid or something because I was such a pariah. I was afraid no one would ever like me.

I grew up again. I had some pretty awful dating experiences. I didn't have a serious relationship for 5 years. And I kept attracting weird (weird doesn't go far enough) guys. I dropped out of college after a year and a half. I was afraid that I would never make something of my life. I'd never go back. I'd never finish. I'd be lonely for the rest of my life. Funny how the more grown up I became, the more intellectual the fears were.

Now, I have a whole new set of fears. And it is the strangest set of fears yet. I'm afraid I will actually succeed. I have such big hopes and dreams for myself. What will I do if I get there? If I find an agent. If I get published. If I write books that people love. How do I move on from that? What kind of big dream can fill the spot after I'm living my current dream?

I realized that I had this fear as I sat in front of my current project. I'm better than I used to be. I have a greater grasp of what I need to do to improve. And it seems like it's finally happening. Things are finally starting to come together in my head. It could be amazing. And I'm afraid of it. And I stopped cold for a moment. Then I remembered. The only thing I should be afraid of is my fear. Letting that fear take over is going to keep me from doing the amazing things that I know I can. And I am not going to let that happen.

Fear is the little death. (Brownie points to any who know that quote.) Live with courage, friends, and give up your fear. Who's with me?


Sarah said...

Absolutely! I wouldn't say I'm afraid of success, as I'm working pretty hard for it--although I know it brings its own stresses. But I have all sorts of other random fears that I have to deal with. It's hard when those thoughts take hold, and it is important to challenge them ... and then kick them away.

Krista V. said...

I had this same realization when I was watching Tangled for the first time a few weeks ago. (We're behind the times. I know.) When she's sitting in that boat, waiting to see the lanterns, she's worried that it won't be everything she's always imagined - and she's worried that it will. Because where will she go next? How will she top this?

I love what Eugene says to her: "That's the great thing about dreams. You just find a new one."

Also, if this writing thing actually works out, I do worry about how it would change my life, because I like my life the way it is. I wouldn't want it to change much. I hear about these husbands of writing, stay-at-home wives who end up quitting their jobs to take care of the kids so she can go chasing around the country on book tours and such. I would never want my husband to feel like he had to quit his job, because I know how much he loves it.

Of course, my mother-in-law always says that most of the stuff we worry about never happens, anyway, so now that I've worried about it, I figure I'm safe:)

Thought-provoking post, Kayeleen. Thank you.

Sierra Gardner said...

I'm totally with you! A lot of people wouldn't believe this about me, but I am actually perpetually terrified of almost everything. I realized at the end of high school that I didn't want to be that person and so every time I find a new fear I force myself to face it until I'm barely afraid of it anymore. Working on that process right now with the whole writing thing =)

Nisa said...

Um... Um... Me? hehe! I haven't reached your level. I'm still afraid of failing, not succeeding.

Liesl said...

Wow, so true. And I was just working on a post about fear! Well I might be stealin'. Just sayin'.