I’ve been asking myself this question quite a bit of late: why have I let myself stop writing? It seems like a simple question, and it sounds exactly like one I feel like I’ve already answered— you know—with reasons like family trauma, work, and other things that keep me busy. But no matter how many times I’ve continued to mull through the varied craziness that has been happening in my life since last September, I haven’t been able to get myself back into a sufficient routine.
I might get short bursts, but the train derails as swiftly as it is placed on the tracks.
What I have discovered is that my dealing with the schedules, the emotions, the other excuses, is that I am not dealing with the deeper reasons that I have been neglecting to put fingers to keyboard. Something else is going on. Afterall, writing is both hobby and therapy. Obsession and remedy.
As I peal back the layers, dealing with the random crap that has been holding me back, I am finding that same ol’ friend that I continue to want to believe I have banished: fear.
Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been letting my fears fester underneath all the other issues I’ve been dealing with, pushing back at me each time I think of making progress.
See, fear doesn’t want me to succeed. Or to fail. Or to do much of anything, as there is always reason to be afraid. Fear is much more comfortable abandoning my obsession with writing as it feels that it is much safer that way. Sure, there are always going to be moments in life, even without fear, where it might feel like a chore picking up the pen and paper, or opening a Word document; life happens after all. Emotions can often be too viscous to pull action out of them. But those, of course, are when I should be pushing harder toward writing.
Fear becomes insidious with how it behaves. It loves to disguise itself as legitimate excuses (or anything at appears to be legitimate). Fear doesn’t want to be faced; it will hide, morph, or do whatever it takes to make sure that we never face it.
I found it in me again.
And this time I want to keep it at the surface. I want not to face it head on, but to understand it. To sit with it. I want to know why I am afraid, even when that fear appears misplaced or illogical. I want to befriend my fear, for there has to be reasons that it is with me.
With writing, there is plenty to be afraid of, as is with most art. Art is expression; art is emotion; art is personal. Sometimes art isn’t more than throwing words into a draft or paint onto a canvas, the raw practice being exactly that: practice, meaning nothing more than the pigments absorbing into the medium. Yet, even with these simple, non-emotional practices, we find that there still is something there that is a part of us.
Placing art into the world to be seen is often akin to standing nude on a busy street corner.
Fear is justified.
But fear should not stop us, should not stop me, from producing art.
As I write these words, tears gather between my eyelids, fogging my vision as I have touched on the nerve that I’ve been needing to touch upon.
Why did I let myself stop writing every day?
I let my fears tell me that it was OK to stop.