It would be safe to say that I have a long-standing, deep-seated fear of embarrassment.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very concerned with the idea that other people might think I’m “stupid” or “weird” or “embarrassing.” One of my worst fears is that someone will see something I’m doing and have some sort of mean thought about it or judge me negatively.
And honestly? It’s exhausting.
Blame my anxiety, or some sort of childhood trauma, or just me having an over-inflated sense of self that makes me think I’m important enough for people to actually care about…
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say that you shouldn’t let fear of rejection stop you from writing, I’d have…a lot of dollars. The fear of failure or rejection is a common stumbling block for writers. After all, who wants to be rejected?
If you consider “being a writer” as an important part of your identity, then being rejected can leave you feeling like not only is your work not good enough, but you aren’t good enough, either.
This fear isn’t always conscious. Personally, I don’t constantly go around thinking that everything I write will…
Writer’s block. It’s that nasty little problem which can mean anything from “I can’t figure out how to write this one scene I’m working on” to “I haven’t been able to write anything for months.” Thousands of blog posts and articles, and even some books, have been written on the subject and how to overcome it. I’ve even written some myself.
There are many reasons why you might find yourself staring down a blank page day after day. But the one I want to talk about today is one I think a lot of writers dismiss: the fear of success.
When you spread ashes
on the Washington coast
there’s going to be blowback.
It can’t be helped. The wind won’t
rest here. I would suggest
you bend down close to the water
and do your best to pour
what remains right into the waves.
Still, you won’t be able to avoid
a little mess. My mother did her best,
but the grains that were
once my grandmother stuck to her wet legs
and not everything washed out
with the first wave.
So she waited for the next
letting each wave that came
bring her closer to clean.
I set a goal for myself during the month of August that I was going to post a poem every day on Medium. For the first week and a half or so, I didn’t miss a day. Then at some point I missed one. Then I missed a whole weekend. Then a few more days.
And now I’m at the point where I feel like I failed.
As of writing this, I’ve posted poems on fifteen of twenty-five days so far. Which could be worse. I mean, it is over half the days. And before that, I hadn’t posted (or…
and you have to clean out her things
but everything is closed
no Goodwill or Salvation Army accepting donations
for fear that the virus will spread
through blankets, like smallpox.
So much ends up in the trash.
White bags ripping at the seams
nightgowns, pillows, clothes hangers
mattress toppers, dresses
little pieces of jewelry, cheap plastic food containers:
you hold each thing in your hand
and ask yourself
What do we really have room for?
What’s worth saving in the end?
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I had the nightmare again:
a tsunami is coming, I see the tide pull out
farther and farther away. My family is there
and we have to run. But we can’t. Not really.
Someone is always falling behind.
My mom is concerned with packing the right clothes
in her bag, making sure everyone has their shoes.
Have I seen her purse anywhere, her glasses?
My dad isn’t listening, he’s not paying attention.
The tide doesn’t concern him. And my brothers?
Sometimes, I have to pull them along, hold
them like I did when they were babies. …
2021 has been a time.
Like, that’s really all I can say about it. It’s been A Time. Some parts good, some parts less so, we are now over halfway through this year.
As I look to the rest of the year and what I want to accomplish personally and with my business, I’ve been setting a few goals for myself. While I don’t want to fall into old habits of setting unrealistic expectations and inevitably disappointing myself, I do want to set some goals to help guide me through the rest of the year.
I’ve been focusing a lot…
My grandfather will never again
pick the turkey carcass clean
pulling every bit of usable flesh
making sure that every bit
that can be saved
never again pull back the swing
and let it go
push it again and again
higher and higher
until grandma tells him
we wouldn’t want me to get hurt
never again lift me up in the pool
carry me on his back through the deep end
keep my head above the water
because I couldn’t swim
— it took me years to get the hang of
staying afloat on my…