Battling my fear


Hi, my name’s ED and I’m a control freak. I hate stepping out of my comfort zone, which means there will be no meeting to help. Jokes aside, the fear has me holding on too tight. Knowing this doesn’t really change the outcome, until now.  


Looking around the task at hand, I need a distraction from being a feline maid. Since my brain doesn’t work in normal waves, I start wondering why I even have the cats. Well, this thought might be normal–no one likes cleaning a litter box.


The fur balls are cute, yes. The games of chase and bouncing off windows has been entertaining the last few years, but do I really have to show my appreciation this way? Shouldn’t it be the other way around for all the kibble, early morning purring (ON MY HEAD), little paw-shaped bruises, the boob kneading, near death stair tripping, and cat towers and pillows scattered around the house?


I’m actually being ignored as I walk back and forth ranting between the laundry room sink and where said litter box is set up. Rudy (the Himalayan) is sleeping through the fun getting hair all over my chair, and Mercedes (our black Norwegian Forest Cat with huge copper eyes) watches my every move; it’s a bit unnerving.


Elbow deep in cleaning (or hand on the shovel thingie and a scrub sponge on deck) I have a breakthrough in thought. {hands mimicking explosions near head} Two simple words: I know.


The difference between my stories and real life is that I know the outcome. I can see the whole plot in my mind. Sure, sometimes it’s only a glimmer of an idea, but they do come to life, eventually… in clear vivid pictures or an annoying movie running non-stop with crazy voices that don’t quit arguing with me until I get the story correct. I love it!


In reality, everything’s too unpredictable and I can only see so much. I can organize and plan my way through most things (I do love my checklists), but it’s the sudden phone calls that make me cringe. Too many gut checks (kick to the proverbial balls) over the years, but I can generally pick myself up (Aided with a pint of ice cream and sappy movies, or let’s be honest, a bottle of wine). What other choice do I have?


As a writer, I look at storylines and characters to weed out what doesn’t work. It’s almost therapeutic and a bit of a natural high when I’m done. I’m Queen of my domain!  I edit, tweak, rearrange, and push my characters over a cliff without a tear of remorse, but I’m able to do so because I know where the story needs to go.


Too bad I can’t do this with my life outside the pages (or computer screen). Or can I?


 My thoughts continue to roll around without any tangible grit as I sweep. After the highlight reel of Amnesia Lane (or hopeful forgetfulness of things better left in the past), thanks to a previous night’s discussion with my husband, some things start to make sense. A freeze in work, w-o-w moment. I always hold back. I didn’t say it’s a good realization.  


I’ve had jobs that I love and those, well, not so much. With my work self though, I always strive to do the best I can, no matter what. It’s everything else I haven’t. Maybe it has to do with anything I truly love or want getting taken away somehow. If I don’t care, then it won’t matter, right? I can float. I don’t expect rainbows and unicorns all the time, but a cute fuzzy something seems nice. Probably how I wound up cleaning a darn litter box.


My fear of the unknown has me second-guessing… everything (except work). Any time I came close to something I want I hold back enough, and in some cases choices have been taken away without any regard.


I’m not complaining about my life; I actually love it and don’t regret anything because of what I have now. What’s done is done, and I’ve made peace with it. I may have even bought the biatch a drink too. So, here I am at 40 with a daughter running full speed through the teen years. Talk about mind-blowing! If anyone said all those years ago how my life would turn out at this age, I’d have laughed my butt off asking what they were smoking.


With the quick jaunt through odd highlights of my childhood, I feel empty. My grandfather (who many times got the nickname ‘Grumpy’ for his “Don’t run with that pencil because you’ll poke your eye out” lectures-yes he used those exact words dozens of times) died a few years ago, December will be seven years to be exact.


I still feel as though a piece of me is missing; that safe place of retreat is gone. The ache to hear his bellowing laugh at times hurts enough to take my breath away. Heck, I’d give anything to just be in the same room again and not talk, maybe have an Indian’s game playing in the background. Many times I grab my cell when something good happens (like my kiddo hitting her first baseball out of the field at 6) only to remember no one would be on the other end (that truly understands).


Missing that voice of reason, advice, or odd corny joke has left a mark. During this avoidance of reality (yuck cleaning) I realize I’ve avoided and ignored that encouraging voice for far too long. I guess in a way I didn’t fully believe it– that I can do whatever I set my mind too. So now, taking a deep breath, I hold onto that faded voice and step out of the shadow.  


I’m putting myself out there. I need to know what can happen next.


No more hiding behind excuses or what ifs. No more ignoring my deep down whispering wants. No more fear. Well, I won’t lie, lots of anxiety, but I’ll push that aside long enough to hit the upload button. And if you’re reading this then I actually did! Yay me!


I’ve closed my eyes enough times, taken the needed deep breaths, and worked through enough panic attacks in the past to want to add a prescription to my daily vitamins at times like this. Letting go of the control enough to release something that’s apart of me ~ my baby. Not the dog, cats, or my daughter, but the musings in my head. That sounded way better a moment ago in my mind. Meaning the stories and scenes that keep me going when things aren’t so bright and sunny.


Although this sounds great, I’ve been hitting dead ends as of late. I think our recent move has something to do with the stupor. In a small part it does since I am a creature of habit (not having the same routine from before makes me want to growl), but it’s more than the four thousand mile road trip over the Alaska-Canada Highway and a good chunk of the lower-48. Don’t get me wrong, being trapped in a vehicle with a freaked out dog, two pissed cats, and a teenager for twelve days would be enough to throw anyone for a loop. The scenery made up for the camping, but I drew a line when we drove through a tornado on my birthday.


I’m now in a strange land that I didn’t really like (at least not yet-trying to be optimistic). It’s hot and I fell like I’m melting. It’s so different from the splendor that’s Alaska I almost don’t have words, which is how I got this problem to begin with.


Try as I might though, the blank page with the annoying curser blinking, mocking me, is too much. I want to shove my computer back into its case. I can ignore the glaring white screen while I unpack the hundred boxes in every room. At least I can see progress on the walls and in the rooms I physically live in. Seems like a fair trade off for a hot minute, but I miss a part of me in all this.


The encouragement and ideas from my fellow writing friends inspire me (with lots of pictures, words of wisdom, and jokes). I can’t ask for anything else or better people to associate with. Through the last few weeks I’ve been able to create fun, short pieces, it’s not a lot but something. At least I know I can still write; it didn’t brake during the drive. {Fist pump into the air}


But, I still have a huge block finishing anything I with a deadline. I can pull some non-publishable material and work on that with no trouble. Even had a few breakthroughs with the story, but I’m far from celebrating. In the long run it’s a win, but I have stories that need to be done — now.


On the brink of having to pull out of some publications I really want to be apart of and rethinking what I want in regards to writing, this litter box duty calls my name (screams really). Then the answer to what has been blocking my writing hit me… it’s me. {Insert a string of profanities and growling} The fear of what could happen if I follow through with what I want. Not exactly the place I thought I’d have an epiphany, scrubbing something disgusting, but there it is non-the-less. Big flashing lights and me freezing over the sink in shock.


If I do this (commit fully to writing) and fall flat on my face, then I’ll pick myself up, dust off, and keep plugging away. Sounds simple enough, right? Like everything else in my life, I’ll keep going because I have to (even if limping with a bruised ego).


I can do this. I have to do this!


How can I do anything else? Writing’s a part of me as much as my next breathe. The arguments with my characters (yes, I’m that person walking the dog mumbling) and trying to buy things on a character’s grocery list instead of my own are the norm in my world.


The future is unpredictable and that’s… thrilling… sure we’ll go with that. Ignore the heap on the ground as I fight to catch my breath as my hobbit helps (Humphrey the Pembroke Welsh Corgi also keeps my feet warm and steals my food off the coffee table when I’m writing). He’s helpful, shadows my every move, lends his radar ears as I grumble and hover fingers over the buttons on my computer (as I post this). He seems to think I’ll be fine. I asked and he keeps grinning at me while his stub is wagging, moving his whole butt back and forth.  


I work hard to finish the litter box and get it set up again all shiny and clean. If I put as much effort from everyday life into the follow through, I can get a happy ending like most of my characters. I might even be able to hit the submit button a few more times after finally tackling my block. Hey, I wrote this, edited, and finished before my first deadline.  Watch out!  


What will you do to get your happily ever after?







2 thoughts on “Battling my fear

  1. Moving somewhere completely alien is not easy. You lose the house, neighbours, friends you normally pop round to see, normal occurrences of life, and a sense of the self that you were. It takes time to recover that, time to reorient your sense of self, and it may be a different ‘self’ because the people around you are different – life is different. But you will regain that sense, and also something new about yourself you didn’t know before. Do you write down what you feel? Thoughts in your head? I found that to be very helpful when I moved from the US to Switzerland four years ago. I’m still adjusting, but I hope it doesn’t take you as long! Head up, shoulders straight – you can do this – one day at a time:) You haven’t lost the writing, it’s just the paradigm has shifted a little:)

    Liked by 1 person

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