Thursday, October 1, 2015

{Day 1} A month of ALLOWING begins with... facing a fear??



Can you believe it is October again!

If you have been following my blog, you might remember that October is the month in which I join thousands of bloggers in the challenge of posting every day this month. We call ourselves 31 Dayers. Clever, huh?

Each year I get excited, then somewhat anxious as the deadline to choose a topic approaches. By October 1, I am scared.

Not scared as in nervous with anticipation. More like my heart and brain are paralyzed/shut down with fear.

That might be an odd thing to admit, but since my topic is 31 Days of ALLOWING, it seems appropriate to address that fear on Day One.

This fear isn’t new. I have carried it for decades. Is it a fear of failing…or of succeeding? Good question.

I have always felt different. As a child, different = special, a distinct feeling (without the words to articulate it at that time) that I would achieve great heights.

In fact, a vision came to me when I was 9.
Not a sleeping dream. 
A wide-awake-middle-of-the-day-scraping-paint-off-the-front-porch vision. 

Here is how it came about. I was, as previously noted, scraping paint off the front porch. One of my friends came around the side of the house unexpectedly. The ensuing conversation went like this:
Friend: “I heard you talking but no one is here?”
Me: “I was practicing being interviewed.”
“Why?”
“Because some day I am going to be a famous writer and speaker!”
“You’re weird.” (friend exits stage right around the house again)

 My words were spontaneous.  I didn't immediately assign the word "vision." But, I firmly believed what I had told her because I was 9 and life had not yet convinced me that my opportunities were limited. I clearly remember going back to work and back to practicing my interview, unaffected by my friend. And I have never forgotten the feeling those words brought. 

Do you remember how everything felt possible when you were a kid? To borrow a popular phrase, do you remember who you really were before everyone told you who you should be?
Yeah, me too.

Then I wasn’t 9 anymore.

I was a teenage with a new awareness of other people – of how they dressed, of how (I thought) they lived, of how (I thought) they looked at me or talked about me.

Suddenly my differences made me feel odd, dorky, out of place – not special at all. For many reasons, which will have their own October day, I followed the path of weird and not good enough, and, at least outwardly, scoffed at anything that didn’t look like what I saw around me every day.

Still, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always English teacher and writer.


At 51, I got my first job teaching English (long story for another October day). I found the position on a Higher Ed job site, applied for it, and got it. There was no fear surrounding the interview, and no doubt in my mind that I could do an excellent job.

There also wasn’t a great deal of excitement because, frankly, it felt like what I supposed to be doing all along. It felt like the next right thing. My thoughts were not “Yay me!”  They were “It’s about time.”

Maybe you have had similar thoughts and can feel the difference? Maybe you understand giving more attention to perceived shortcomings than to successes?

Of course I was happy to get a teaching position. But that was overshadowed by what I saw as failures. I had started a blog years before and had also undertaken the privilege of writing a biography of a beloved uncle and was not excelling at either of those pursuits.

Even now, fear has kept me from both consistent blog posts and finishing the book.

Why? Good question.

I know I am a gifted writer. There are a thousand blog ideas in my head. There is sufficient information to start the book.
And fear stops all of it.

Recently, I told my therapist that feeling special, feeling called to great success, is both the best and worst feeling. The “best” when I can allow the vision of using my gifts to help people, when I can allow myself to FEEL how that feels, to imagine how glorious life will be. The “worst” when I am not allowing it, not feeling it – only using it as a whipping post.   

“Write about it,” she said.

So here I am, starting off at least 31 consecutive days of blogging by admitting that I am afraid to write.

Afraid no one will read it.
Afraid no one will like. Afraid no one will be moved by it. Afraid there will be nothing here that draws readers back for more. Afraid that if some do come back, I will then have to produce more and maybe I can’t.
Mostly afraid my vision wasn’t real and trying to move toward it will only bring confirmation of my inadequacies…so it seems safer not to try.

Do you get what I am saying?
Have you been there?

Is there something you have not allowed yourself to do, even when it is the strongest feeling your heart and gut ever had, because you are afraid?

There is an entire blog in that thought, so if you feel my pain, stay tuned. If you don’t feel my pain mean, stay tuned anyway, because someone you love needs you to understand.

I did NOT want to write about being afraid to write. But here is the good news – I did it. I started moving my pencil and the words came and the tears fell and Day One is done.

I allowed myself to address this particular fear and hear the voice that - 47 years later - still  says I am a gifted writer and speaker.

I am well aware there are other things that voice of Truth says, other parts of me I would do well to embrace.

I suspect the same is true of you…

The topic of ALLOWING is huge.

Let’s talk again tomorrow…


BP J

I am participating in Write 31 Days. Click here to read more about it and see the other amazing bloggers.
You can see my earlier entries below or in the sidebar under 2015.

Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on here or on her Facebook page, Think BIG focus small.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life! 

5 comments:

Joyce said...

I'm here reading, so keep on writing. I think if you stay true to your voice, you can't go wrong. I'm visiting from the linky list as you're a neighbor there. Best of luck with the challenge this month.

Shannon Escalante said...

Please keep writing! Even if it's just a sentence that says, "I don't feel like writing today." I am a friend of Taylor Molitierno's and she shared that you had a blog.... and I love it already. Can't wait for more!

Unknown said...

Beth, I enjoyed your blog today and it challenges me to move forward out of a job that I truly am not fulfilled and just putting time into to get a paycheck into something that is way more exciting and full of adventure/fulfillment. Like you, I have been searching for "what I want to be when I grow up". For me it would be a life filled with photography! However, I am 55 and feeling tired and not sure I am up to stepping out into what surely would be a better way to spend my days and the rest of my life.

By being vulnerable, we actually become more real and stronger - "my ways are not your ways" - which doesn't really seem to make sense. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability which has encouraged me to step out. Just have to figure out how to overcome that fear - of failure, success, will it pay the bills, etc., etc.

Karen Link said...

Beth, I enjoyed your blog today and it challenges me to move forward out of a job that I truly am not fulfilled and just putting time into to get a paycheck into something that is way more exciting and full of adventure/fulfillment. Like you, I have been searching for "what I want to be when I grow up". For me it would be a life filled with photography! However, I am 55 and feeling tired and not sure I am up to stepping out into what surely would be a better way to spend my days and the rest of my life.

By being vulnerable, we actually become more real and stronger - "my ways are not your ways" - which doesn't really seem to make sense. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability which has encouraged me to step out. Just have to figure out how to overcome that fear - of failure, success, will it pay the bills, etc., etc.

Melanie said...

Beth
This is beautiful- honest, transparent and full of longing. Longing for what you know to be true about yourself, as one created in God's image, to do things and speak words that only you can speak.
Thanks for letting us journey with you.