I’m writing. I just hopped onto the WordPress site for the first time in a long time. I kind of don’t recognize the person who wrote all the articles here. I have taken a long break from my blog and writing. I don’t even know if I will publish this quite honestly. What I do know is that I must write and create because it is killing me inside, quietly and softly- not to.
Last December, I attended a conference at the Japanese American National Museum for a local organization here in town that focuses on art policy throughout the state of California. I sat in the large audience of people and then we were assigned break-out groups that we would share the morning with. My break-out group consisted of about 20 women ages 45+. I did not know a single soul there- all of them strangers. We were asked to introduce ourselves- you know the drill- tell me your name and a little bit about yourself and why you are here. For some odd reason, I felt compelled to be completely honest with this group of strangers. I think it’s because I didn’t know anyone personally and didn’t care if they judged me or thought me absolutely insane. But I was shocked by the words that came out of my mouth and I instantly regretted saying them the minute they came out but then what followed was a surprise. What I said was the following:
My name is Elizabeth and I have no idea really what I am doing here. I am a mother of three, husband to one, juggling my three children’s lives, active community volunteer, struggling professionally around ideas of identity and how to move forward and I love to write and tell stories but for some insane reason, I have not written one word in almost a year and I know that what is holding me back is FEAR. I am so afraid of moving forward into whatever lies ahead of me. Fear is holding me back from living my life.
When I uttered that word- Fear- there was a large collective GASP from every woman in the room. It was quite unbelievable. I had just tapped into what we were all feeling – despite touting backgrounds and experience and validation as to why we were there in that room. I was as shocked as everyone else was in that room by my words. Until that moment- when I announced that to the group- I had finally released what I had been feeling for quite some time but had not verbalized out loud to myself or others. But apparently I am not the only one carrying around this fear. From there, we engaged in an open dialogue as to what fear does to us and how it holds us back from living the best lives we can. I am grateful that my open honesty was met with sincere openness. Given another room full of different people- it could have turned out another way.
And so I will write. I will live some days in the shadow of my fear. Other days, I will step out of it. But I’m gonna write- yes I am. I will tell my stories again. I can’t guarantee that I will publish all of them- in fact- I know many of them I will not. I need to write and create- of that I am certain. How I will share my stories with the world remains to be seen. It will be a journey and process of that I am sure.
What are you afraid of? How is it holding you back from living your life?