It has taken me decades to admit to myself that my go-to emotion is fear.
I'm too old to even care much about the nature/nurture origins as to why my set point is anxiety-based; for whatever reason, my body and mind are wired to express fear before anything else. Admitting that this is so is difficult because for whatever reason (probably societal), admitting that I am afraid douses me in shame.
What does this have to do with the act of writing?
For those of you like me out there, you know intimately the seductive power of fear; you how that slippery-tongued anxiety can so easily talk you out of doing something you yearn to do. As I've examined my writing process--a process I largely hide away from almost everyone--I recognize that I have been holding myself back from sharing this side of myself because I fear exposure. If there's exposure, there is vulnerability, and if there is vulnerability, there is inevitably judgment, and if there is judgment, the feedback loop to my mind starts to belittle, to demean, and to ultimately stoke the fear.
Stop. Run. Hide.
This site, this blog, the posted fiction - these serve to break the cycle for myself. Fear is not going to go away. Anxiety is a constant companion and as reliable as my (sometimes overly accelerated) heart beat. My work of late has been to accept and even welcome my fear. It is, after all, a very old and steadfast friend. This isn't easy; my wish would be to rid myself of fear, to not feel it at all.
But that's the thing of it. We all feel fear. Some of us are much better at managing it than others. Those among us who are so outwardly brave, they have learned to accept that fearlessness is not living in the absence of fear; no, true fearlessness is feeling the fear and then doing what scares the shit out of you, anyway.