I sat for over an hour trying to decide how to begin this post which is why I have decided on this week’s title.
You see, now that I have free time I have several options and long-buried plans that I can focus on. A recent discussion I had with my friends reminded me why I auditioned to become part of Scarborough Academy of Performing Arts. It was something I always wanted to do, but it was terrifying to do it. Even when I received a callback and joined cast, the fear carried over into the following months past workshops and into performance days.
And yet, despite the fear that was some days crippling, I have never felt more fulfilled.
Now that I have added my fourth successful year, the crippling fear is back. Why? Because it is time for me to change characters. You may be wondering why this is such a big deal. There are two factors at play:
- When I created my first character, Juliana Reichardt! the success I’ve had with her will be a monumental task to duplicate. With phrases tied to her like “iconic” and “a lane monster,” changing characters is intimidating. Will my next character amount to the same success I’ve had with my first one?
- When you perform, you gain a following. There are some who come to see Reichardt! and look forward to interacting with her. There is more pressure on my shoulders as a veteran than a first-time performer to present a new character to the world in place of my more-familiar one. Will my next character experience the same welcoming as my first?
What kind of reception I will receive will determine if the changed character is a successful one or not.
That speaks to writing as well. How many times have you written something and wonder what kind of reception it will receive? The fear to put your works out there in the public eye can also be crippling.
This day two years ago, I broke one of my rules and posted an opinion piece. The fear to post something meaningful to me on a subject with varying degrees of opinion and/or hostility is quite frightening. And yet, I feel fulfilled because I braved the treacherous waters and didn’t die.
Now, when I approach my writing, I know that it’s not a good idea to think about what others would think or judge. For me, writing is a creative avenue that allows me limitless access to vast imaginative worlds and situations. Why limit myself to someone else’s expectations? What I fear in writing now, is the editing and revising process. That is why short stories are my focus so I can practice revisions on smaller completed works with more frequency.
Fear stops us from growing and learning.
It feels ridiculous to admit this, but it’s what kept me from growing as a knitter because the thought of colorwork frightens me. This isn’t life-threatening, so why does the thought of learning a new knitting technique scare me?
And what about bowling? Is there anything in bowling that frightens me? There really isn’t a lot of fear in bowling – unless you were like me a few years ago and worried about people judging as you bowled. I stopped caring long ago, because I’ve learned that even a good bowler has bad games.
With bowling, my fear is having bad games during tournaments. Next week, I’ll be road-tripping to Reno, Nevada to bowl in the Women’s Championships. I will face my fear of face-rolling all over the bowling lanes.
And if I fail?
It sure doesn’t beat the time at the national tournament I dropped my ball during the approach, catching the attention of everyone around me. Face red, I picked my ball along with my pride back up and bowled a strike. I was met by a huge round of applause. I laughed off my embarrassment by joking to my mom that I only did that to get an audience for my strike (thanking the stars it wasn’t something horrible like a split).
What are some of your baseless fears that hold you back? What would happen if you conquered them?