Today is a day to celebrate. We have just entered summer, and I am posting my 100th post since I began blogging. I have to be honest, I haven’t grown numbers as fast as I wanted to but I hope I am growing quality. I’d like to think I am beginning to find a bit of a rhythm to my postings, and writing better pieces than when I first started.
It seemed like today’s posting should be something special. Falling on a Sunday, meant it would be a five things posting, and of course it would have to be unique or personal. The thought ran through my head of doing 100 things, one for each posting. When I was done laughing, I decided I needed something I could actually do without feeling like I was going insane. Finally I honed in on one theme I could use. Fear.
Fear is something that seems to be at the heart of us all. Everyone is afraid of something. When I am reading or writing, I tend to look at that fear and see it in the actions the characters make. The characters who feel real factor their fears into their actions, even if it is not always obvious. They jump on horrible relationships because they don’t want to be alone, or avoid relationships because they have been hurt. They run because they are afraid of what is chasing them, or hide because they are afraid of being found. They smile because they are afraid to cry.
Our fears move us through life. Sometimes they stop us, and other times we keep moving and pushing through. They are personal because they have power over us. What better way to make a post having meaning, than to open up and share my fears?
When I was twelve years old, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds. Within a few weeks, an angry bird flew at me, swiping through my hair and just missing my head. I knew then that birds are evil. You might think I am a little crazy with this one, but it is a fact that birds are mean. Ducks bite, geese chase people down, and we do not even want to get into the cruelty brought on by feelings of inadequacy in large flightless birds such as ostriches. They stare at you with their beady little eyes, plotting to kill you with their shockingly sharp beaks and claws.
This is a fear I think I deal with well. In spite of my knowledge that birds do in fact get angry and attack, I try not to let this fear be passed down to my children. We do the bird feedings, and we even enjoyed a park in Okinawa where you stand next to 4 1/2 foot tall birds who chase you down hoping you have bird food. I survived, but I know the truth. Birds are evil.
I know this is weak. Almost everyone is afraid to speak in public. It doesn’t change the fact that it is hard for me. I stand in front of people, my heart pounding so loud I can hear it as it vibrates my ears. My mind goes blank, and I completely forget everything I was going to say. I always carefully go over my speech, rehearsing it over and over again, but it never matters. The entire thing goes right out the window as soon as I have to stand in front of a crowd.
3) Standing Still
I don’t have an actual fear of standing still. In truth, I can be quite lazy on occasion, almost completely motionless until I am forced into movement. I’m not afraid of physically standing still, I am afraid of metaphorically standing still. I am afraid of never changing, never growing, never becoming more than I am right now. It’s not that who I am isn’t fine, it’s that I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to keep moving, and not solidify. I fear missing my opportunities, and staying exactly as I am, with no new chances, for the rest of my life. I like where I am, but another 50 or 60 years of this would get old. I have so much time to fill, and I don’t want it to all be the same.
Again this is something everyone almost everyone shares. It is easier to not take a chance than to risk the humiliation of failure. As it is, I work on my writing, and I dream of publication, sharing this dream with a group of strangers, but I barely speak about it to people I see in real life. I know that there is a chance of failure, even if there is a part of me that believes I can do this. The odds are against me, and I know it. It is bad enough to fail, but I can’t tell everyone I am trying and have them know I failed.
There is a strange intimacy in the anonymity of the internet however. I can tell you all about my hopes and dreams because I might never have to look you in the face. I may never have to see the look in your eyes as you pity me for my hopeless, failed dreams. It lets me share in a way that is essential, and for that, I must thank you.
Again, not literal smallness. I like puppies, babies, and those tiny espresso cups. I fear never growing into anything more than I am now. I always wanted to be someone important, and I know there are people who see me that way. I have children, a husband, and a dog, who all look to me as a part of their lives. I live a normal life, and there is not necessarily anything small about that. The world needs normal people as much as anyone else. But I am building my own life, and I want to be able to look out at the life I have built and know that I have made it large, engaging, and interesting. I want to know that I have done everything I possibly could with my life.
Alright, there is my personal moment. I’m hoping a few of you will take the plunge and share something personal with me as well. Tell me, what are you afraid of?