Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Face It! The Scenario is Analyzed (Finally)

Our fears reveal truths about ourselves. As if we stand before a mirror, they highlight the shadows and flaws we avoid. They are a reflection of hard truths. Sometimes, when we are faced with the truth, we run.

Photo Credit: Pixar Wiki

This was my initial reaction when I wrote about Fear's trepidation over a week ago today. I felt exposed and raw. I didn't want to acknowledge that my biggest fear was my complete loss of faith in my ability to write. I ran and hid my emotions behind a locked door. I couldn't pep talk myself into the right frame of mind, though I tried. I reminded myself repeatedly that I had committed myself to a challenge and people had expectations. The guilt didn't help. It just caused me to burrow deeper into my hole.

Until I did some research. After watching a TedTalk by Karen Thompson Walker, I realized that maybe I could learn something from the fear.  Walker equates fear with storytelling. As with any story, fear creates a plot, suspense and questions, pushing us, the reader, on to figure out "What will happen next?" She suggests that the interpretation of our fears depends on how we "read" them. 

In my creative portrayal of my fear, I painted a bleak outlook. My biggest fear of "not making it" was spurred by the belief that I was/am an  inadequate writer. Now, I've avoided this fear because a part of me believes there is no alternative to that future. Note how brief the "success" story was compared to the "failure": one paragraph to multiple. I've spent a lot of time determining my downfall. This says a lot about how I view my ability to influence my environment.

In my failure scenario, I did all I could to be seen as a writer. I applied to collegiate programs to advance my skills and submitted query letters to publishers. My good work, however, could not change or influence the outcome. Yet I continued to try, desperate to find one institution that believed my work mattered. The saddest ending, was losing the faith of the one person who supported my dreams coming to believe the opposite, the ultimate rejection. So the scene ends with the laptop closed and dreams ended. Fate has won.

On that note, I could easily walk away and leave well enough alone, but the examination of this fear is not finished. In her speech, Walker discusses productive paranoia, the act of closely studying our fear(s) so that we can be prepared for and take action against them coming true. To avoid a result you need to look at the cause. So the question is, "What is at the heart of my fear?"

The short answer: A need for acceptance and approval.


Tomorrow, the long answer.

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