May 18, 2012 Fear Not
Before I started writing this blog, I had to sort through a lot of fears. To some degree I still feel them every time I post something. It’s mostly a fear that I am not writing well enough or that I’m going to be perceived negatively in some way. I’m not really a writer. I’ve taken a few writing classes throughout my academic career, but I never really invested myself in sharing my writing publicly. Fear is what has always prevented me from doing so.
While I feel shaky about my abilities as a writer, I can stay with 100% confidence that I am passionate, dedicated, and voracious reader. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with anything I can read. As a toddler, I would plop a stack of books down and demand “READ A BOOK”. Thankfully, my parents are both teachers, so they always indulged me. I began memorizing stories, reading them over and over. Eventually I memorized words. I maintain to this day that the only reason I have done well in school is because I love reading so much.
However, I am not very discriminating in what I read. I definitely have my favorite stories and books, and I know good writing from emergent writing. I loved Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, the works of Gabriel García Márquez. I’ve probably read every book in the Harry Potter series at least 20 times (this served as escapism/therapy during my teenage years) and I love me some crappy Young Adult Fiction. I read cereal boxes at breakfast and shampoo bottles in the shower. If there are subtitles on a movie I’ll end up reading them and not paying attention to what’s happening on the screen.
Any knowledge I have of grammar and spelling comes from repeated exposure to words by sight. I’m not detail-oriented. I’m a big picture type of person.
Anyway, since I started writing this blog, I have received some wonderful feedback, and I don’t think it is due to my writing ability. I think it is because I am writing honestly, exposing some of what is in my heart. As much as educated people like to criticize and pick things apart, it nice to remember that some of the most intelligent people are not educated or trained in a formal sense. I think that a lack of indoctrination can be a good thing.
My generation was force-fed the idea that we needed to go to college if we wanted a good life. And by a good life, I’m pretty sure that meant possessing money. While I will say that having enough money certainly helps, we all know that it does not equal happiness. Many of my friends graduated college with a ridiculous amount of debt looming over them, and a shit-tastic job market waiting for them. Suddenly going to college did not guarantee a stable job.
Obviously our ideas about education need to change. Currently, we are pumping out students that are experts at filling in bubbles, but lack creativity and passion. This idea that everyone needs to go to college is dysfunctional. Yes, there are plenty of people who should go to college. But we also need mechanics, plumbers, etc., and it would be great to see us actually make some products with artistry and not just consume them.
Fear drives so much of our lives. We fear that we are not successful. Often, we don’t really stop and consider what success means to us, as individuals. It isn’t the same for everyone and it shouldn’t be! What type of society functions properly with a bunch of brainwashed drones? I don’t even watch the mainstream news because the amount of fear mongering is astounding. It paralyzes us, preventing us from growing and thinking for ourselves. It causes us to cling to our identity in an “US vs THEM” mentality, making us easy to manipulate. I won’t get political here, but I’m sure you can extrapolate.
If we want to live a passionate, creative life, then we need to release our fears. Stop worrying that people aren’t going to approve or that you might look weird. I realized recently that I overuse the word “crazy” because to me, most people I admire can be “crazy” which actually means that they think outside the current paradigm. Which brings me to this:
“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”
If you are not satisfied with the current state of the world, stop allowing it to determine what you are able or unable to do. Stop worrying that you will be seen as strange. Each one of us has something beautiful and uniquely our own to share. I write this for myself as much as for anyone else, so that I will continue to honestly and openly articulate what is in my heart. The language of the heart is universal, it doesn’t matter who is speaking, love simply resonates.