I’m afraid of writing. And by “I’m afraid of writing,” I mean that I’m afraid of being alone.
I have an unhealthy fear of loneliness. It’s not so much people not liking me that scares me (although I’m not immune to that fear). More often, I find myself afraid of being by myself. This is no good for someone who wants to be a writer. Writing, for most people, and most certainly for me, is a task that most often must be undertaken alone. If I want to write, my company usually comes in the form of a park bench, or a desk, or the quiet solitude of a library. Or perhaps a cat. None of these things are people. I must sit down with myself until I can get myself to write something, anything, and then I stare at it for a long time.
To write about anything remotely personal is to be alone with yourself. You have to sit down, and look at yourself in a mirror. Most of us often use mirrors that function like fun-house mirrors, distorting and twisting. The only difference is that we sometimes believe those images to be our true reflection, rather than a warped perception that comes about as a result of our own self-judgement.
Once you’ve written something, if you want to let it out of your head and into the world you face a whole new can of potential lonely worms. Words are safe as long as they are kept in the privacy of a folder, whether real or electronic, but if you let them out? If you let them out then people can judge your words, people can laugh, people can misinterpret. Fear of loneliness strikes again; what if no one understands? What if no one cares? What if you spent all that time alone only to find that your words are lonely too?
The other side of this coin of course is the possibility that someone might connect to your words. Someone might read them and say, “I’ve been there! I’ve felt that! I understand you.” This possibility, for me, makes writing a risk worth taking. All of the cliches and filtered photos with cool graphic designer fonts have informed me that fears are something to be faced if you want to live life to the fullest. So, even though I’m afraid of writing, afraid of being alone, maybe there is a lesson to be learned from facing those fears. Maybe I’ll discover that I’m not so alone after all.
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age..”