I want to start by saying how truly grateful I am to have been so kindly welcomed back into this space, and how happy I was to hear from my people. Along with my first entry, I posted a quote by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, that said, “Fear is always triggered by creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into the realms of uncertain outcome. And fear hates uncertain outcome. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something to be dealt with.” I posted that quote because the truth is even though I didn’t post it until Monday, I wrote those words first thing Sunday morning and I sat on them all day. I felt icky and annoyed and restless because I knew I had done something I was excited about, but I was too afraid to send it out in the world, and that irritated me. Fear is irritating.
All day I had a voice in my head asking, “but what do you really have to say?” and “what makes you think anyone will still be around to listen and respond” and “you really have other things you should be doing, like, ahem, laundry.” I had already made up a response to words that didn’t yet exist in the world. I also made up, out of thin air I might add, a panel of critics waiting on the other side of Facebook or Instagram or wherever, just waiting to rip this thing apart. That is not true, and very dramatic. You are welcome to roll your eyes here.
All of this chatter was going on in my head all day Sunday and I still didn’t work up the guts. Monday morning, when Buck woke me up at his usual 6:01 am (on the dot, people. Every day), I sat down with my coffee, reread what I wrote, pushed publish, mentioned it on social media, and ran away.
And you know what? I lived to tell the tale. I lived to tell the tale because all that fear, all those stories I was telling myself in my head, they were just stories. They were made up. They were ways for my fear to try to control an uncertain outcome. I knew exactly what would happen if I didn’t send those words out into the ether—I would feel restless and icky for a couple of days, then life would go on. That outcome was incredibly certain, as I had been happily watching it play out for the last three years. It’s the uncertain outcome that I was avoiding.
I think it comes down to this: fear is incredibly ordinary. Everyone has it. Sometimes it’s warranted, and for that we thank it because it quite literally keeps us alive, and sometimes it’s just not. By publishing my words and attempting to reconnect with you in an authentic way I was not in any real danger, there wasn’t a boulder hanging over my head, nor was I standing on the ledge of a tall building. I was sitting in my pajamas with a puppy to my right and a cat to my left, completely alone and completely safe.
Creativity, on the other hand, is infinitely unique. The uncertainty of creativity lies in this truth: there are countless ways for a person to bring forth and send creativity out there. Infinite ways for beauty and innovation to rise out of thin air. It’s uncertain, sure, but that’s the fun part.
On Monday I hit publish and dealt with the fear. You responded so kindly and were so encouraging and I want you to know truly how much that meant to me, because it was exactly what I needed to hear and feel. This is not a scary place. No dark corners or shady figures here. Just me, a computer, a blinking cursor, and endless uncertainty.