This last weekend I read my way through My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. As I pushed back my thoughts of negativity about the author’s whininess and my self-imposed mountain of a to do list, I began listing my own fears. Now, to give a brief summary of the book, upon approaching her 29th birthday, Noelle takes on the challenge of facing one fear everyday for a year based on the famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. The memoir is her highlights from that year – diving with sharks, parachuting, and finally climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (you know, things that every person recently laid off has plenty of money to do). I initially felt embarrassed at my growing list of fears as I realized that many were little things that I was facing everyday.
What I also realized about my list was that my fears, both big and small, made up something resembling a bucket list of things that felt impossible or laugh worthy being listed beside something “extreme” like climb to the top of a mountain. I mean, who puts making a simple phone call to a friend or hanging out with those with similar interests on their bucket list? Aren’t bucket lists supposed to be things like diving with sharks and learning to fly a plane? Yes, those big things scare me but I have no issue with those more instinctual fears. But fearing going outdoors for a walk around the block by myself or spending the day somewhere unknown are both terrifying and, ultimately, things I wish I wasn’t quite so fearful of… That is, unless there’s a more realistic reason to fear those like some natural disaster ravaging my city or a serial killer on the prowl for a chick of my type… *shakes head like an etch-a-sketch to erase images of being dragged into an alley* And, when it comes down to it, they are things I want to accomplish purely for myself and not to make someone else proud or to be noticed. Simply to show myself that I can conquer anything I set my mind to. That I am a warrior! *eyes darting around to make sure that no one saw me superman pose in my seat with a cheesy smile on my face*
Okay, so what does this all have to do with Eleanor Roosevelt and this post’s title? Well, I found that I fear a lot of things but at the root its all about rejection and failure. It goes so deep that it has the power to stop me in my tracks, gasping for breath. Some things I can easily muster the courage to conquer and push past (thanks small dosages of propranalol as prescribed by my doctor) like having to make that biannual phone call to Comcast to haggle for a better price for the bare minimum in internet and cable. But other things send me into pre-panic attack mode just thinking about how I might tackle such a task. Would it surprise you to hear that one of those things is posting a blog post that I’ve spent hours composing and editing?
*transition music*I’ve always enjoyed reading (this is going somewhere, just stick with me). I remember how accomplished I felt the first time I was able to read Hop on Pop out loud to my parents. The absolute excitement I felt in completing my first “chapter” book – you know, the ones that have 1-3 sentences per giant page and each chapter is 4ish pages. Reading soon translated into writing and, eventually, crafting. Writing a super cheesy poem often wrought with poor rhyming (thanks dad for that inherited skill), composing a research paper after skimming through dozens of scientific articles (and increasing the period font size to 14 to make it that extra required page), crocheting a scarf, assembling (stitching and quilting) a blanket, cross stitching a scandalous mermaid, and even composing a silly song to sing to my family at the start and end of my college years. The delight and ownership when you create something entirely from your own thoughts and ideas cannot be topped by anything else.
But as with every thing there are always those who are going to criticize what you do. I recall the first time an adult told me that he didn’t believe I was reading the book I claimed to be reading and just laughed at me because there was no way I understood what I was reading. Because of situations like this, probably as a defense mechanism, I’ve grown to be my own biggest (and meanest) critic. I find myself terrified that I’ll write/craft/bake/say something and have it go so terribly awry that I begin to list everything wrong with what I’ve started that I most often don’t even finish or allow myself to start a sentence. Of the 50 posts that I’ve published here (this being the 51st), I’ve written nearly 3x that and eventually deleted them because no one is going to read what I’ve written. I have a long list of crafts that I’ve started and not finished because the next thing is going to completely ruin my progress. I sabotage every healthy eating plan I’ve started because I’m never going to be successful anyway.
At the root, I am afraid of rejection (even from those I don’t know) and failure (even if I’m the only one who knows). To bring it back to the beginning, what I learned in reading My Year with Eleanor is that those fears and worries tend to repeat themselves over and over in our heads rather than be a long list of things. “I’m going to mess up”, “What will people think of me?”… pretty much just those two over and over. NO MORE! I’m not saying I’m going to attempt to conquer one fear every day like Eleanor suggests or Noelle accomplished (maybe someday but I’d rather not live an entire year in a panic attack craze) but I do want to make a promise to myself that I will stop and reflect on the root of why I feel I can’t move forward and go from there.
First up, I’m going to post this blog entry even though I fear that in putting a plan forward yet again, I’m only going to fail in the end. Next up, I’m going to continue to post blog entries about a variety of things I enjoy such as reading (I just received my first ARC and I review every book I read so look out for that), crafting (because I do have all those UFOs and swaps to finish after all), planning and organizing (because I may be slightly OCD and that’s totally okay), and health related things (because I’ve lost 30lbs since Christmas and I refuse to give up this time *as I sit here eating my third handful of Skittles and drinking cheap wine*). I decided to cover a little bit of each of these topics because, beyond enjoying each of them, it never felt realistic to me to devote my life to only one of these hobbies so I want to share how I as a middle class, youngish adult find enjoyment in life. Once I get past the fear of posting the random things in my life at random times, I’ll figure out a schedule for it all. For now if you want to stay updated, enter your email into the the box (just off to the side above tags/ labels) or click the button that says “follow me” (which is just a smidgen below the email box) and the internet magic should email you when I post something new. I do promise I’ll continue to keep my bucket list (with a few added fears), 24 by 25, and crafting pages up to date (each Friday evening).
Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you find some enjoyment in my scatter brained blogging. As always, you can follow me on Goodreads and Instagram or, if you understand twitter, that too (AimeXAime but, honestly, I just use it to enter giveaways). Tune in October 1st for my overly ambitious October TBR (to be read) list and how I keep track of it all. Live long and prosper!
P.s. The title, I almost forgot! So you know when you’re lying in bed and you hear something? Yeah, one of the things I’m terrified of that isn’t related to rejection or failure (well, maybe heart failure) is either a bad guy (thanks Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds) or a demon (thanks Nicky Cruz) killing J and I in the middle of the night often causing me to lay in bed on high alert for hours. Sooooo, that’s where the title came from and I kinda hoped it would keep your attention to read all the way through this near pictureless post. *nervous chuckle* Thank you again for at least scrolling through this post. It means a lot to me. 🙂