Hello fear. Did you wake me to tell me you loved me? Have I not been giving you enough attention lately? I know. I’ve been playing with creativity, and I’ve been on such a high, that I’ve neglected you. You haven’t been invited to the party, and now you’ve had enough. It’s been more than six months since you’ve reared your head in the middle of the night, and brought with you your guest Mr Panic attack. I’d forgotten the sensation of bile in my throat, and the thought that yet again tonight would be a night of no sleep.
But you’re here, and that’s ok, because, creativity may be cowering in the corner, but I’m going to invite both of you to sit beside me, whilst I tell you a story. A story of my love for you both. A story about why I need you both in my life, but why I have to be the one in control.
Five years ago, I decided to blog. I started in secret in the middle of the night, with an account at blogger.com. I had no idea what blogging was, but I had an urge to write. I was about to be a single mother for the first time, and I thought that if I had somewhere to write my thoughts, I could help steer them in the direction I wanted. I was desperately afraid about depression, and the lure that it might have with my new circumstances. I had seen you fear and you had courted me and I was beginning to become familiar with your fragrance.
I had seen creativity, however, she was shy and patient. She sat waiting for me, day after day and I would glance over at her, wondering why she wanted to be my friend. You fear were becoming bolder with my attention, and began to shower me with affection. But on the day that I found myself at the computer, creativity had snuck over to sit by me.
Creativity whispered to me in a tiny voice, almost inaudible, that I should write about my journey to come. That on the pages of this blog, I could pretend to be brave, and have adventures, and that if I wanted, no one needed to see them. You heard fear, I don’t know how you did; perhaps you have some kind of magical hearing ability, but you spoke loud and clear and told me that there was nothing to write.
But that night, I wrote, and for a moment, there was hope. There was hope that I could create an adventure.
Angered by my attention and boldness, you launched a war with creativity. Each time I wrote a blog, you woke me in the middle of the night, and urged me to go to the computer and press the delete button. And so the pattern began. Write, delete, write, delete, write delete, write.
It felt like a battle between two selves, and in order to gain the upper hand fear, you brought in a new weapon. vomiting. Oh yes charming indeed, but you got my attention. Now you would wake me with terrible thoughts about what people must think about me, and I would run to the bathroom, vomit, and then, with great relief, go and delete the terrible offensive blog about my life I had dared to write. You see, people had begun reading my blog, and following it, and even writing comments. You’re a jealous lover, and didn’t like their attention.
But for some reason, these friends who read my blog, they understood. They cheered me on, and they still came back, despite the broken links and erratic writing schedule. Creativity introduced me to photography, and now, I began to tell you to sit on the porch, whilst I wandered the yard in search of light and beauty and flowers. Creativity held my hand as I created little pictures of inspiration. Some people liked them and looked for them. I told myself that I was creating these pictures for them- but secretly each message was actually for me. I created the messages and blogs that I needed to hear each day, in attempt to help me cope with the overpowering presence of you in my life.
And then suddenly, I look back, and it has been five years. You and I and creativity have had a wonderful journey. We’ve probably created as many blogs as we’ve deleted, but we’ve written and photographed, and now together we work as a team. We wrote a whole book together, and then fear you went away on a holiday, but I see you’ve come back tonight.
Well my friend, welcome back. It’s ok, I know you’ll always be around, but tonight, you’re just going to have to wait to tell me your tales, because creativity just made a mug of hot chocolate, and wants me to finish this blog. Creativity has told me to work through the feelings of bile and stomach unrest that you’ve brought back with you. Rather than thrash in the bed at 2:30am in the morning, creativity has asked me to write this love story so that my friends may understand. You see creativity and fear, you are conjoined twins, and you both have a place in my life. But neither of you may take the steering wheel, that is for me now.
A note to you dear reader:
Thank you for being here. I wrote this blog tonight to help myself, as it truly is now 2:35am and I am in the middle of a panic attack. But I want you to know that if there is something that you have been meaning to do, that it is time to give yourself permission to go ahead and give it a try. Please let me know in the comments below, what it is that you are going to be brave about today.
Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert, who through her Big Magic Lessons, introduced me to the concept of not letting fear be the driver of your life. It looks like I got a Big Magic Lesson in the middle of the night and have internalised her comments!