I was sitting at my desk yesterday, frustrated because the internet was down and I could not do ANY of the things on my to-do list — including post yesterday’s blog! — and I found myself staring at this little fellow:
A few years ago, I met with some friends over a period of 12 weeks to work through The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s wonderful book about nurturing our creativity. I’ve talked about one of her tools, morning pages, here.
One of the tasks in the very first week was to draw or paint or clip an image that represented a person or event that dealt a blow to our fledgling creative endeavors. I couldn’t come up with anything particular, but there did always seem to be this voice nattering in my head. I don’t know whose voice it was or where it came from, but it went something like this: “are you crazy? you can’t do that! what will people think? who do you think you are? make way for maxine, the artiste. HA! you think anyone would want anything you’ve created? dream on! bla bla bla ad nauseum
So I painted a picture of “the voice.”
He was fierce. Angry. Mean. Ill-tempered.
When I was done, I set him aside and went about my day. When I returned and looked at him again, I saw something else entirely.
He wasn’t angry. He was afraid.
Look at that face.
That horrible, nasty, berating voice in my head was nothing more than fear.
Fear of what?
Everything. Everyone. My own shadow. Myself.
That unique and brilliant Self that would be trampled to death (or at least ridiculed to death) if it showed its face in the world.
and I’m still standing.
There’s been no trampling stampede.
No shower of rotten tomatoes.
Now, there could be a picture of me somewhere with darts sticking in my nose but if there is it’s behind closed doors and even if it was on my own doorstep what you think of me is none of my business
And so . . . my glowering/cowering friend sits above my desk, a daily reminder that anger is really only fear (a good thing to remember when facing someone else’s anger) and fear is really an adorable little fellow who, if you gather him into a hug, will snuggle close and relax his guard and let you know what’s really going on.
So that you can chase away the Bogeyman
now now little fella, it’s okay, everything’s going to be fine
and go ahead and write that story
or paint that picture
or . . .
(That’s your blank to fill with whatever it is that makes your stomach clench with equal parts excitement and fear.)