I'd Rather Be That Girl

I like to name it as if it's part of my past. But the fear must still be there, though masked and safely contained, because I don't think I ever really dealt with it, that I ever truly faced it.

I say it like I'm some sort of recovering self-inflicting fear-monger, like Oh yes, I was so driven by fear of failure in my old corporate job....It kept me from taking risks I should have taken...It kept me working too hard for fear I might fail, instead of working hard because I was passionate about success.

But if I were to squeeze back into the suit and wrestle my mind up the elevator to the 11th floor, I'd still cower to the same gutless avoidance of risk, wouldn't I? Enlightened or not.

I still fear failure like a serial killer, and one of these days, it's going to chop me into little pieces and hide my life--the one I could have lived--in a freezer.


Unless I stop acting like this fear is only alive in what I used to be. And see the shape it has taken in who I am now.


He saw the book in the front seat of the car, the one I skim while I wait in the carpool line.

"Mom," he called from the booster seat, "I need to read that one after you're done. That Writing Fiction book. 'Cause I'm going to be writing some fiction books soon."

And he will, I bet, sooner than I will.

I've said to anyone who asks that I could never see myself writing fiction. And I don't have a nonfiction book--the one you feel you must write--searing my heart or singeing my fingertips either.

I have a dozen articles in a small regional mag under my belt. So there's that. But they all came on assignment, not pursuit. I've stayed in the easy, do-it-with-my-eyes-closed, head-but-not-heart places. Far away from the pour-yourself-out places, the ones offering no guarantee of getting back what you poured in.


I don't know what I'm waiting for. For the plot outline to show up in the mailbox, double spaced? For an agent to hunt me down, sign me on the spot to write on the topics she's chosen, as spelled out as journal homework in the second grade? For the clouds to open up as a host of angels sing me a writing prompt?

I need to do this now, before I lose the nerve.
I need to admit that I want to do something in which I am very likely to fail. I need to stop being that girl on the sidelines, pretending that I don't really want to play, when in truth I'm yearning to play but am crippled by the fear of losing, of failing for all to see.

I'm tired of being that girl. 

I'd rather be the girl in the game who just got whacked in the eye by the softball and allowed an infield home-run.

I'd rather be the girl that writes until her heart is raw, and never sees a single word published.

I'd rather be that girl, than let the Fear hide my life in the freezer.

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