Crafting Variety

Behind the comments

I’ll admit I’m writing this as a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. I had a comment on a post earlier about glaring errors in the post with regards to my lack of editing. The gentleman who commented was completely right about the lack of proofreading and that I should not have posted the piece with those errors.

After my initial “wow, that guy needs to chill out” response, and then wanting to rant about how life is too short and a few incorrect words aren’t going to add up to a hill of beans, I decided to take a step back and evaluate.

I needed to figure out why I didn’t read my work over before posting. It comes down to one thing: fear. It’s still a huge process for me to even think about putting my words and thoughts out for anyone to see. Scares me to death – my inner critic just loves these opportunities. You’d think that I would read over my posts more carefully then, and that would make sense. But the fear response doesn’t follow rational patterns. I hit publish on that post before reading it over, because if I didn’t, I would have deleted the whole thing. Want to know why I wait so long between posts? There’s the voice that follows my every word chanting about how readers are going to be bored, how I’m not going to get the formatting right, how everyone’s going to disagree with my stance, how the haters will come out of the woodwork in force to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

So, yes, my dear commenter, I give you kudos for picking up what I did wrong. I often read other work and notice errors, and sometimes comment. What I don’t do is let those errors take over the message of the post. I certainly don’t respond with condescension or anger or lash out at someone’s shortcomings. On the other side of those words is a real person, with feelings, obligations, and a whole boatload of courage just to put the words out for someone else to tear down. So you want to comment on my post? Please, go right ahead. Your comment says far more about you than me.

Crafting Variety

Because I DARE.

The above YouTube video was created as a clothing ad, but I find that every time I watch it I get chills. This shows so clearly the battleground, the fears, and the anxieties that I face every day. It’s the turn of heads walking into a room. The confrontation that happens however brief. The anxiety stems from putting your soul out into the world for all to see, and that takes an extraordinary amount of courage. It’s about not being dismissed, or pushed aside, or buried by the weight of others expectations.

It’s about courage. Rising up against the fear. Reaching inside for the will to come out in front of the dark and proclaim “I am HERE and I will bring my whole self with me!” So I dare. I dare to write and pour out my heart through words. I dare to create. I dare to dance. I dare to climb on the back of a thousand pound animal and ask it to carry me safely. I dare to proclaim that I am pagan and I feel the earth’s life flowing through my body. I dare to love. I dare to live. I dare to stand firm.

Thank you to my life coach, the amazing Lael Couper Jepson of SheChanges, for sending me this and for standing right along side me as I followed the path of the women in the video by backing up, feeling the fear, then deciding to let out a mighty roar and go full steam ahead anyway.

I DARE.

Crafting Variety

Trying Again

I’m paraphrasing, but I’ve heard that courage is trying again in the face of fear. That’s where I’m at with horses right now. After my fall and subsequent concussion back in November, a lease with a horse that was just too much for me, and a clinic with a trusted horse that turned out to be too much for the horse, I’m ready for a good experience.

I may have found one too, in the form of a sweet quarter horse that’s just come up for lease at the barn I ride at. Jake has a sweet personality, is steady, and very versatile. We’ve already been to the beach together, and I’ve ridden him quite a few times.

At the beach, he was fantastic. I was not. I’m still dealing with the fear of being able to let go and trust the horse I’m riding, even if they’ve given me no cause to not trust them. Relaxing on a horse is beyond my capabilities currently. I’m frustrated by this realization. I got back on after my fall (well, when I was cleared by the doctor), I’ve been to the barn riding and working on ground work, and my head is already planning the summer season.

My heart’s being cautious. It says that I need a lot more time before I can trust. Its telling me to hold back.

So how do I heal? How do I get back to the rider and horsewoman that I was before? How do I let go and believe in the horse I’m riding?

I don’t know yet. I think it’s going to take more time, and lots of baby steps along the way. I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to bounce back like I used to. I hope this new horse is the right one to help me find my way again. I really want to enjoy my time with him, and if him meeting me at the gate when I arrive is any indication, he enjoys his time with me.

That may be the best healing I can find.

Crafting Variety

When Fear Wins

“Maybe you push too hard,” my husband said the other night.

Those words won’t get out of my head.

I have some anxiety issues. Most of the time they don’t affect my life and I can push through the minor attacks without much trouble. The other day though anxiety reared its ugly head big time. I ended up not traveling to an event that I wanted to go to because of it. I just couldn’t do it.

That threw me into a tailspin. I was awake most of the night thinking that I was a coward, that my friend who I was supposed to meet up with was going to be really mad, and despised myself for not facing my fears and letting fear win.

I also had a dress I was making for that event end up being too small, and started doubting my abilities as a seamstress. How could I have missed something so critical? Double whammy.

While I wanted to go around with a big fat “F” on my forehead for failure and continue spiraling into the ream of depression, my hubby’s calm presence and thoughtful words kept me out of it.

He’s right. Sometimes I push too hard. In my strive for perfection, I often rush headlong into battle before taking stock of the situation. I rush onto the battlefield with my “because I’m supposed to!” flag waving. There are a few unrealistic expectations to go along with that.

Taking stock now, I realized that I was trying to take too large of a jump. My anxiety was right in its protection of me. It’s not that I can’t do the task that I wanted to as I know I can. I just need to expand my comfort zone slowly and not blindly rush forward thinking I have to take on every little thing that scares me.

I can pick my battles. And it’s ok.

Crafting Variety

Doubt Monster

I’m staring at my story Callie’s Heart, and I have no clue where it’s going. I’m trying to outline, to give it a direction, and this really annoying thing keeps popping up. The doubt monster. It’s laughing hysterically as it says that I have no idea how to construct a decent story, that my plots are boring as hell, that my characters are mush and so transparent that no one will have to guess how they are going to act, and so on, and so forth…

I stare at the doubt monster, and the problem is he’s familiar. And cute. And really likeable. I open my mouth to defend myself, to declare that yes I know how to write and he really needs to stop, but nothing comes out.

So doubt monster smiled his irresistible smile and continues his tirade with well, work on something else. He know that I’m going to get completely overwhelmed just thinking about the multiple stories I have going on. I pause in fear thinking that I have absolutely no basis for declaring myself a writer and he just sits there laughing. Maniacally. It’s really annoying. And I’d like to punch him, but half of me starts wondering if he’s right and why the hell am I putting so much energy into doing something that probably won’t pan out anyway? And don’t I have laundry or something to do, I mean really, taking this time is just taking time away from the practical things that need to be done – there are dishes to put away, and cleaning to do, and really, don’t I need to get breakfast or something? So writing? What the hell was I thinking?

The doubt monster really gets into it now. Come on, you’re just a little administrative assistant who couldn’t succeed any other way, so you think you’re going to take on writing a novel? The laughter continues…haven’t you followed the the good little path long enough and got yourself a nice husband, nice house, nice vehicles, and a nice job…why do you want more? That’s enough to deal with. So, writing? You have no clue what you’re going to be getting into. Like you know anything about finding an agent, sending out queries, and the editing process, and you know you’re going to get tons of rejections so why so you even want to bother? When was the last time you wrote anything of substance on your story? Hmm? It would take so much energy, and aren’t you tired already, so shouldn’t you just be a good little girl like you always have been and go do something productive? The doubt monster pats me on the head to send me on my way.

But, you know, doubt monster, I don’t like you after all. And you know what else? I have two words for you, instead of trying to justify and rationalize all the arguments I have against what you just said. Fuck you. Oh, two more…Go Away.

I have stories to write.

Crafting Variety

Behind

I’m always one step behind.

I’ve been slow to create my website and my blog.
I’ve been slow to write the stories churning in my heart.
I’ve been slow to create my fiber arts and sell them.

I read amazing stories of bloggers, writers, and artisans living their dreams and I lament just how much time I’ve wasted getting started.

Why? Because I’ve hidden in fear, pulled the covers up over my head while I berate myself for being afraid. Fear is powerful. It drains physically and emotionally.

I’m tired of being afraid. Tired of letting fear of rejection, confrontation, and disagreements cloud my life. Tired of wearing the masks that others always expect to see.

No more. It’s time to pull of the masks and be true.

I’m taking one step forward. Join me on my journey to explore the dynamics of fear and courage in living authentically.

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” John Jakes