Photo courtesy of Kevin B/Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/22850192@N03/8290599649/
I have lived with fear all my life. Fear of dying, fear of living. Fear of success and failure. Fear of social situations and people. Fear after fear. I was so busy concentrating on my fears and trying to avoid them that I never realized that I wasn't living. I was a prisoner to my fears and my own mind was the warden. For years I dealt with major social anxiety and I always wondered what made other people so different. How could someone in a room full of strangers just start chatting and having a good time? I never realized that all of those other people probably dealt with the same fears I did or that they were probably just as uncomfortable sitting in a room full of strangers as I was. It wasn't that they had some magical component that I was missing. Everyone feels fear but not everyone allows that fear to control their lives.
What does this have to do with a book blog you might be asking? A little over a year ago I wouldn't have shared my reviews with the world and if I did manage to work up the courage to make one I would hide behind a screen name. I definitely wouldn't have had the courage to try and create a blog. So what changed? I did, but my love of reading is what gave me that initial push. You see I loved reading so much and discovered some amazing new authors. Authors I just had to tell how much I enjoyed their books. At first I was able to hide behind a screen name and just make a comment here and there but after a while I wanted to share more. What is the point of loving something if you couldn't share that love with the world? So I began to write more reviews, talk to more people, make friends and after a while I dropped the screen names and through the encouragement of so many people that I admired I was able to learn to just be me and to be happy with that.
Some day's it feels like it's been forever although it's only been such a short time. It's amazing how much can change in such a short amount of time. A little while back I would have agonized over ever single word in this post, crippled with fear. Am I being stupid? Am I revealing too much of myself? Will people dislike me? Those questions all felt like valid fears at the time but weren't. I was a prisoner of my fears and as I took each baby step somewhere along the way I came to care about this person whom I had once disliked so much and through loving myself a funny thing happened. I found I was able to care more about others.
I no longer overthink what I am writing. I no longer keep my eyes on the ground, and fear no longer holds my mind hostage. I greet every stranger I pass and hold my head up high. At first I had to fake courage but the more I faked it the more I actually seemed to gain it. Now, I just try to be me and for me that's good enough. I no longer fear failure. Whether I succeed or fail I will do so trying my best, being me and I've finally realized that even through failure I can know success. Failure does not have to mean defeat, it only means that the next time you try you will be armed with all of the knowledge that you gained the first time around and as long as you keep picking yourself up, trying your best and being you then you have nothing left to fear.
Never fear to be you. If you want to be a writer then go for it, do some research and try to do it to the best of your abilities but go for it. If you want to be a artist then start drawing or painting. Do whatever it is that makes you happy and always be yourself. It's okay to be afraid, everyone's afraid at times but it's how we deal with that fear that will make our lives fulfilling or not so fulfilling in the end. After all this time I finally realized that the only thing I should have ever been afraid of was "not trying". That's one fear I am happy to say that I no longer have.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt