Overcoming FEAR

Ideas for writing this daily blog drop into my lap some days. I’ve read something from two unique sources about the same topic – FEAR. It’s something we all have; it wears many masks, though.

The first time I tried to speak to a large group of people was when I was a senior in high school. I never had debate or speech or drama classes. I just simply did NOT want to do that. Ever. I was painfully shy, which really didn’t help. Everyone who was an after-school club President had to give a presentation to the entire Freshman Class; it was about 250 people. I was the Art Club President.

I remember writing what I wanted to say. It sounded so good in my head. When it was my turn to speak, I stood at the podium and looked out at the sea of hunter green uniforms; and I froze. I felt nauseous, hot, cold, and I shook. I stood there and could not utter one word into the microphone. I was so embarrassed. Finally, I stepped away and stood near the other club presidents. One boy named Dave Schwee told me, “It’s OK.” I was grateful to him for that.

You can imagine how shocked I was when one girl, a quiet girl like me, approached me a week later and said she wanted to join the Art Club. Maybe she related to my terror. It was something I’ve never forgotten. I believe now there was a lesson for me in that. Even though I died in front of that microphone, I remembered how that felt. Twenty years later, I took Public Speaking class at a local University AND joined a group for business people to practice public speaking – Toastmasters. I learned how to speak, and it doesn’t bother me now. I haven’t done it for a while, and I must practice for when Cartney McGuigan (my illustrator) and I have our book launch later in 2021. I’m sure she’ll have no problem speaking. She is accomplished in acting, forensics, and singing onstage. I will learn a lot more than about art from her!

Julia Cameron, Author of The Artist’s Way and The Listening Path, describes fear as, “Perfectionism in a fancy dress.” I need to read more about her theory, at first I disagree with her. My fear of water isn’t perfectionism (at least I don’t think it is)! It’s the knowledge I will absolutely, positively DROWN if I am in deep water. What do you all think?

Julia continues we “don’t want to look foolish.” I get that. She claims we hang back, thinking we’re being sensible. Hanging back paves the road to kill our creativity; we don’t realize our potential, and we can deny our human need to create. OK, maybe that is what it really is. I need to think on that some more. I’ve certainly started to think creatively again after a couple months off.

Julia also tells us to let go of any fears you have about the drawing, painting, writing, or anything creative. We need to stop the negativity. Fear of success can strangle creativity sure as fear of failure. Right now, I feel so lucky. I’m not depending on income from writing to feed my kids or to keep a roof over our heads. I have unique freedom that I can do this. That is very freeing, and a feeling like no other. 

My Facebook friend Mackenzie Clench (Ken) says fear is an ally. He says he needs to face what he fears. We all do! It’s keeping us back from really living. And we want to live life fully. So it boils down to we are stopping ourselves and calling it fear. That said, I’m not afraid of failure as an author. At least I tried it. Doing it is what we need to do. I certainly have learned a lot of things I didn’t know a year ago. So I’ve already “won.”

However you slice it, we have to overcome things that hold us back. No matter how we try to shift the blame elsewhere (I had a bad childhood – most of us had things less than ideal); I’m too nice (you’re probably an enabler – I know I was); I can’t draw a straight line (you don’t have to do learn to draw or paint!). Self sabotage is the reason there are so many unfinished manuscripts, stories for kids, and paintings. We lost faith in ourselves. Let’s work on getting it back and keeping it.

Omaha Nebraska is so fortunate to have McGuigan Arts Academy call it home. They offer a unique array of classes for every age. Guitar, Art, Theater, and many other categories. Check out their offerings at http://www.mcguiganartsacademy.com. They also have a Facebook page. A photo showed the outside of their temporary space with welcome chalked on the sidewalk to three students on their first night of class. I cannot think of a more fun way to be greeted to something that will help change your life – AND you. Kids can learn so much if they just have the opportunity. And much of their fear diminishes when they master these creative things. Maybe someday I can finally learn to sing. But that’s another story!

Thank you for reading and being here. We have quite a journey to finish. I’m so glad you’re along for the ride. See you tomorrow. Be safe.

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