I was a little scared to post it here – and especially worried about the automatic sharing on Facebook where all my local friends and acquaintances would see it. I debated whether I should change the setting so that particular post wouldn‘t get shared on social networks.
I’ll probably catch a rash of shit for this, I thought.
But, since my Angel Cards have been talking to me just about every other day about “Risk,” I decided to go ahead and press publish and let the thing be shared wherever it would be shared.
It turned out I didn’t catch much shit about it at all. Instead a few thoughtful comments, both here and on FB. Some of these pushed me to examine my emotions about this more deeply and to feel some compassion for even the law enforcement involved in this case.
And one of those Facebook friends thought that what I wrote was so important that I should send it to the local paper as an opinion piece!
Now wait just a minute, I thought. I couldn’t possibly do that!
If I was going to submit a piece to the actual newspaper – where thousands of locals would read it – I would spend a lot more time researching all my facts, making sure that everything I asserted was absolutely correct. I would go over it with a fine tooth comb, editing each sentence making sure it was all perfect.
And that’s why I’ve never submitted so much as a letter to the local paper.
I’m petrified of sounding like a fool, feeling stupid, inviting criticism from my community. I’m even more terrified of running into one of these readers at the post office or the grocery store and having to defend my position.
I don’t like this wimpy aspect of my personality. And this perfection thing has gotten me exactly nowhere. My writing will never be perfect, my brain can never hold every single nuance and back-up fact about a particular issue.
When I allow myself to be a slave to perfection it postpones all my dreams to ‘someday.’ And we know what that Credence song says about someday.
So what if I piss some people off? Intellectually I understand that it’s a good thing when a writer or journalist ruffles some feathers. Emotionally, the very inkling of it causes me to almost hyperventilate.
Make people uncomfortable? Make myself uncomfortable because of their discomfort and anger at me? Now that wouldn’t be very well-behaved would it?
I’m thinking that this resistance to putting my opinions out to the world circles back to this entrenched need to please, to be well-behaved. It’s how I was taught to survive. And, as I wrote earlier, I’m determined to bust out of that stifling cage.
But it sure is an awfully comfortable cage. I’ve been in it for so long, do I really have the exit key?
Some people are afraid of big, important things. Really scary things. Speaking to a crowd of thousands, jumping out of an airplane, volunteering at an orphanage in India. And they do them anyway – and by doing so inspire others.
I guess I can get over this silly fear of putting my rant out there to a bigger and more local audience. I guess I don’t have to make that piece absolutely perfect. I could just send it to the paper as is.
If I push through this resistance, this tiny fear, might that give me the courage to conquer an even bigger fear next time?