Monday, December 17, 2007

A good writing exercise - Fear

A prominent writing magazine recently ran an exercise to help generate ideas for writing. Simply list your fears.

The exercise is more difficult than you might imagine. I wrote the first two fears right away, and then for the next couple hours, I'd work on other projects. When a fear surfaced, I'd add it to the list. My list isn't that long, but it does come full circle, which is interesting to me.

What do I fear?

Failure. Could be the first-born syndrome. Could be perfectionism. Could be a lot of different reasons, but I don't like to fail at anything. People learn from mistakes. Trust me, I've made my fair share, but if I'm going to do something, then I plan on doing it right and going all out to experience success.

Dying young. Many reasons why I think this. Obviously, Patrick died at age 39. My oldest daughter's twin brother died before they were born. Young lives are lost for ridiculous reasons, and it makes me wonder who they'd be today. Like the song from Kenny Chesney. Part of this fear is that there are so many things I would like to accomplish in my lifetime, and I haven't even started to make a dent in my list. But genetics are on my side. I told my kids I would live to be 100. Positive attitude is a first step.

Not having enough money to get by. This stems from a lot of difficult times with Patrick and then losing everything when he died. I try not to live outside my means. I've never felt a "keep up with the Jones" attitude. After losing Patrick, people told me that God would provide. And I think that is true at all times. There's a plan for us and even though it's constantly in the back of my mind, I don't dwell on it. What will be, will be.

Losing the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can't imagine a life without Scott. But once you've gone through a tragedy, I think you get into a mindset that something negative will happen again. Even if you keep a positive outlook, I think this animal is stored in the recesses of the brain, waiting to claw through.

Snakes. I don't despise all snakes. Just most of them. Little garter snakes don't bother me. But this summer, there was a pretty darn big one slithering through our yard. I wouldn't walk through the lawn for days. Then I got over it.

Spiders. Ok, certain spiders. Grand daddy long legs don't bother me. Neither do little wolf spiders that usually surface in the spring. But tarantulas? There's something grotesque and hairy about them that makes my skin crawl.

Heights. Mainly, I have a fear of falling. I can get on an airplane and be how many miles above land and that doesn't affect me. But being exposed on something that's a ways off the ground - sometimes even a ladder -scares me. I'm afraid of falling. Which I think relates to fear number 1 as well as the final fear, which is:

Rejection. I'm not sure it's a fear. I don't like it. Who does? Everyone experiences it at some point. I worry about not being 'good enough.' I guess that's the real fear: not measuring up, which goes back to number one on my list.


Anonymous said...

As I read this blog I must say that I have to agree with some of it. First I think everyone has a FEAR of failure...I know that I do...guess like you said that must go with the first born syndrome. Wonder if the twin brother has it also????? NAH!
Dying know that when people are young they think they are invincible, nothing can hurt them, if only they knew. I like your 100 yrs attidude. You have the genes that you might make it that far...look at your grandmother.
Not having enough momey is on a lot of peoples minds...altho you have had your share of setbacks in the past. Hopefully that is all in the past. Believe me in the teaching profession there is not an OVER abundance of money for a family. Just keep a positive attitude.
Losing the best thing....WE couldn't be happier for you and Scott and welcome him into this crazy family. Hope he can survive!

Anonymous said...

I din't get to finish my comment...Snakes...BOY HOW I AGREE WITH this. I probably wouldn't have gone outside for the rest of the summer. Talk to you Dad!
Spiders, I like Mr. T's as your sister calls them...they are so fuzzy looking. Heights scare me but love to fly and always have the rejection feeling. I think it is "not good enough more? Attitude