Sunday, April 19, 2015

Overcoming My Fears

Now that I live alone, I treat myself by going out where someone cooks for me. Eating alone in public has never been difficult for me. I read while I eat or I watch people and store up ideas for writing. 

If I have a friend dining with me in a restaurant, I hardly notice my food. I am zeroed in on my friend’s conversation. Curiosity is the major trait that drives me. Relationships and ideas grab my interest, so I ask questions. Some have told me that is unusual, but it is normal for me. I hunger for knowledge that I can share or can use to improve my own life. Today we have numerous opportunities to learn from TV and the Internet, as well.

My reading is more for learning than for escape. Years ago I read fiction only. The wonderful stories by writers who had great imaginations took me to worlds I would never see. In those books I met men and women who took chances that I would never take. I lived vicariously through those characters. In no way could I ever accomplish what the writers had their heroines undertake, but I could pretend that I did.

Like most people, I used to live with fear of failure. Shame ruled my life. I could not bear the shame of failing. I craved approval of my family and my peers. Often it seemed that everyone was watching to see my mistakes. I felt guilty because I was timid, shy and not courageous. It was a vicious cycle. Shame, guilt, shame, guilt. Much is being written lately about those feelings we all experience. Lois Hollis, a new friend, is publishing a book on that subject. 

Somewhere along the way of life, I overcame my shyness and stepped out bravely realizing that all of us have something that looms larger than we think we can handle. I cannot say I never give in to fear, but I work at rising above it. I took a risk when I opened Writers Circle, the studio in my home. But it was worth it. 

When I graduated from college, I lived at home in the same bedroom I had shared with my sister. When I left home it was to marry Barry. I never lived alone until my husband died in 2009. I have overcome the challenges that almost overwhelmed me those first few years. It took great effort and risk-taking to reach the place where I can say I am happy being alone.

What are your fears? What fears have you overcome?


DJan said...

I am on the opposite end of the spectrum, being a risk taker all my life. But that doesn't mean I don't have fears to overcome. Public speaking almost did me in many times, but I managed to overcome it to a degree, at least. "Stage fright" still hits me now and then. :-)

Barbara Gabriel said...

This was an excellent read, Glenda. How for how far you have come in your growth. And overcoming your fears. My main fear when I was younger was not living an interesting life. I would actually feel like I couldn't breathe, couldn't get enough air if I imagined myself living a "normal" life. That probably sounds arrogant, though I don't mean it in that way at all. It's just that "normal" would never work for me.

Glenda Beall said...

Barbara, you certainly succeeded in not living a normal life. Your life is to be envied by all who like to travel and experience new and interesting things. Thanks for leaving your comment.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan, I admire your zest for adventure and risk taking, especially now. I seemed to make friends who took chances, who pushed the envelope, as they say now.But I was not that person.
Fear of public speaking is one of the biggest fears of all of us, and that was one I finally overcame by reading my writing to an audience. Now I actually enjoy speaking or reading to a group -- but I don't think I could ever jump from airplanes like you do.

Bill Ramsey said...

Glenda, your being afraid of anything is news to me. What am I missing?
Your openness is just one measure of your strength.

Glenda Beall said...

Thank you, Bill. I am definitely not the person I was before I joined Netwest and got involved with all the writers in our area. Perhaps when I found my niche with like-minded people I realized I had nothing to prove, to lose or to fear by following my passion.
Leaving home, coming to the mountains, and finding a home for my writing and myself among other poets and writers opened a door I had been unable to open before. I also found that most writers I've met have their own fears, insecurities, and questions whether they be famous or not, published or not. I think the best writers are those who overcome their fear of truthfulness, honesty in their writing, and they let others in.