How I Let Fear Win...
I took a brief and unplanned hiatus from regular writing for a little minute. Setting aside the life stuff I had going on, the real reason I stopped writing was because I was afraid that I was taking on something that was so far outside of my swim lane that people might start thinking that I was a fraud. I think they call this the "Imposter Syndrome." Each time I would put pen to paper to hammer something out, I would get so caught up in the "what if no one reads this?" and even worse "what if someone does read this and thinks I'm not qualified or good enough to write this?"
And so I stopped.
I would look at my social media followers and get down on myself because I didn't have "numbers" or "engagement," and then I would start to compare myself to the people who did have those things and immediately label myself as a "failure" or a "fraud" or worse.
And I got comfortable living passively - not taking risks and just letting life happen. I ended up feeling worse. Especially when someone would say, "what happened to your writing?" I felt like "damn, I am not meeting expectations."
But look at the irony of that. I was simultaneously fearful of not meeting my own expectations and of not meeting others' expectations. Ridiculous.
And that's the funny thing about fear. It is a ridiculous manifestation of things that most likely won't happen, often driven by unrealistic expectations of how things "should" be.
The other reason I wasn't writing was because I just got burned out. I was trying to navigate selling a house, working a job, volunteering, being a good wife, friend and daughter, working out, trying to avoid eating all the french fries, all while judging myself for not "having it all together." While being scared to let any ball drop, I worked myself up so much that I let most of them drop at the same time. I was so afraid to not be the best at everything that I burned myself out and was good at nothing. In fact, the only thing I got great at was sleeping, and that was because I was so exhausted.
My therapist tells me repeatedly that I need to get comfortable living in the "grey space" - the place where things are neither black nor white, but things just are what they are.
So that's where I am trying to be - that place where it is OK if no one but my mama reads what I write, and where it is OK if I don't have the next few months of life planned out, and where it is OK if I'm having an off day and just can't fit one more thing in my schedule. It's a hell of lot more peaceful when I stop being afraid of the grey space and just allow myself to live there.