One of my favorite quotes lately is one that I discovered reading Donald Miller’s newest book, Scary Close: “Being afraid to love and being paralyzed at the keyboard both involve a fear of being known, a fear of making mistakes, a fear of being found lacking.”
I’ve been working through this idea of writing a collection of short stories based on some character descriptions I did a couple months ago. However, as I delve deeper and deeper into these different story threads, the harder I find it to continue. The paragraphs I originally did were all based on people I know and have come to love, but I’ve been wanting to take those characters and fictionalize them a bit more to create more interesting narratives. However, their stories are already interesting. The struggles and the triumphs that I’ve seen them go through are incredible, so I’ve found myself writing much more truth than fiction.
I’m an observer. Even if I can’t claim to be talented at much else, I know that I’m good at reading the emotions in a room and understanding the back stories that shape people. That’s partially why I’ve come to love writing so much…because I can use that skill. However, in stories, not everybody can have a favorable role. There has to be conflict, there has to be struggle, there have to be antagonists. And this is where I’ve hit a wall. I want to write as exposed and vulnerable as possible, but the people that will read these stories first are the ones who inspired the characters, and it worries me to think about the fact that some of them might not appreciate the path I want to take those characters down.
Most of all, sometimes I fear that writing a character that is inspired by some of my life experiences might paint a too-real picture of myself, and the people who really understand how to read between the lines might decide I’m too much, too complicated, and filled with too many issues to really invest time in anymore.
It seems like I’ve been struggling with this thought process more this week than I have in some time. Wednesday night, it hit a boiling point. It was one of those moments that I actually verbalized the reasons behind why I don’t think I’ll ever find someone who can actually stick with me through all the bad, why I absolutely do not want to have children, and basically just word-vomited all of my insecurities out to two people (one being a complete stranger, and the other being a person who I used to exhaust myself wanting to impress). The more that I’ve reflected over those hours of excruciating emotional pain, the more I’ve realized that it’s not as much of an issue of trusting somebody else to love me, but it’s the worry that I’ve lost the ability to wholeheartedly care for someone the way that I want to. The worry that there will always be fears to hold me back, and the idea that I could cause someone even a fraction of the pain that shoots through my heart and soul.
The more I read the quote at the beginning of this post, the more it resonates with me. It is a fear of being known. It is a fear of making mistakes. It is a fear of not measuring up. It’s a debilitating fear.
listening to: eastmountainsouth