In dealing with unraveling the chains I've always kept myself bound with, I have discovered that at the root of every chain is fear.
I'm a tough chick. I've gone through some really tough stuff and I've always endured and survived. If I ever got into a battle of survival, I'm pretty confident I could hold my own. Living with Daniel back in the day taught me a lot and I think I could totally kick some butt and take some names if the need be.
Yet if I'm truly honest with myself, I live my life totally afraid of everything. I'm petrified to meet people and talk to them, my self esteem and body esteem so low that I worry about everything from my breath to my conversational skills. For all the words I spew here with no effort at all, I clam up when in person. I'm so afraid of appearing stupid that I just don't say anything at all.
I walk with my head down, I rarely meet people in the eye. I avoid situations where I have to meet new people, even when it involves going to the school for parent teacher conferences. I hide behind Steven like I used to hide behind Dan (and Dan was just as introverted as I am). Even in church when everyone is instructed to go around and introduce themselves, I park it quick and only speak when spoken to.
I used to be so wrapped up in fear I would hesitate going out in public at all. I still have problems with wondering what people are saying or thinking about me where it bugs me and makes me feel self conscious. Over on the Richard Simmons board they were all amazed I could weigh myself on a public scale - I can't even tell you how hard that was to do the first time, and how self conscious I still feel when I do it even now.
I'm so afraid of speaking to new people that I can't do things that are important to my career as a screenwriter. I'm afraid to call the development departments of prodcos, or call agencies, to talk about and pitch my ideas, I sit back and do stuff that requires as minimal input as possible (like the upcoming contests). I don't meet people and network, which is also important. I don't make "the move" to LA because I'm too afraid of competing in the job market there that we'd end up impoverished just like last time. Interviewing or selling myself? Forget it.
I'm afraid of failure. In the same respect I'm afraid of success. I'm afraid to take risks, but I'm afraid of missed opportunities.
I'm also a fraidy cat when it comes to tangible things like amusement parks and swimming pools. I had a very sheltered childhood where most of my time was spent by myself. I don't know how to skate or swim or even dance. I never went camping. I finally made it to Disneyland when I was 26. I've never climbed a tree, or did a lot of the activities other kids have done. I learned how to ride a bike primarily because I taught myself. I got tired of waiting for anyone to teach me, and my sister had left oen behind so I got that bike, went in the alley and taught myself how to ride.
And if I ever undertake anything, that's how I learn it. On my own and by myself. Because of all things I'm most afraid of not being perfect. I never want to fall on my face in front of anyone. If I do anything I want to excel right out of the gate.
Sounds pretty depressing doesn't it? It's not living, that's for sure. I'm too afraid of living that I'm holed up inside myself with only my fears to comfort me. There's a song by Lee Ann Womack called "I Hope You Dance", and one verse really got to me:
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'.
I realized. I have been sitting out on life. You know that advice that says dance like no one is watching? Even that doesn't apply to me because I don't even dance by myself. No, I sit and watch the world do all the things I'm too bound by fear to even consider. I am paralyzed by all these fears, and the condition is terminal.
Well, no more. Dr. Martha Beck was on Oprah one day and said that we should "Feel the fear and do it anyway". So my new goal, emotionally and spiritually, is to deliberately do things that scare me.
The only person who has control to make me a "subhuman" living a "half life" is me. And that's where the bondage must first break.
Toward that goal, this Sunday at church I'm going to get up and walk up to people, and introduce myself. I won't lie to you, the very idea petrifies me. But I'm going to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I'm also going to learn how to pitch my stories and over the next few months I'm going to purchase the directory that will tell me who to contact in H'wood so I can finally sell my stuff instead of wait around for this contest or that.
And finally, this summer I'm going to learn how to swim.
But most importantly, I'm going to learn how to dance.
Calories: 1860 / 25% fat
Exercise: Still down with UTI recovery