Earlier this week I wrote about embracing fear as a step towards building a more fulfilling life. Last night I turned towards fear, I put my arms around fear, and in turn fear consumed me like No Face in Spirited Away.
That’s not to say I don’t believe in my ability to write. Writing for me is as breathing. Writing was my only friend when fighting mental illness and a very bad living situation. Even during the dark years when words did not hit paper, my mind constantly wrote what was around me.
It’s always been this way. In 7th grade I was assigned a four page short story. For several hours I sat at the dinner table, barely looking up, barely breathing, writing fluidly with a #2 pencil. Until 16 pages sat in front of me.
I was reading a lot of R.L. Stine at the time; I’m sure it was nothing amazing, given the life experience of a suburban 12 year old. As a teen I would write poetry in the shower about regular things like a landscape painting in the hallway. Again, probably nothing amazing.
“As writers, we experience our own, irresistible compulsion. It’s not so much we choose to write; it’s that we must write.”
– Denise Webb, Writing as Compulsion
I pushed for what I was taught is desirable: a stable, practical lifestyle. I earned my degrees albeit not in practical style, taking six years for a B.A. as I fought my compulsion and yet continually returned to writing. I applied myself to every practical job, quickly rising to middle management regardless how many times I started over due to poor choices and life circumstance.
I saved my money, met and fell in love with a practical stable husband, and steadily worked towards being comfortable in our current lifestyle of eating out, buying technology, living exactly where we want to live, and existing debt free.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality does not destroy you.”
– Ray Bradbury
I am dying inside.
The bigger and tighter the golden cuffs become, the more my soul chafes and grinds against the jagged asphalt of reality. My days are gray from the moment I drop off my daughter until I am fixing dinner in a stressed, bitchy way.
I must find another way, and writing is the only organic, natural, completely fitting path. And writing in a journal will never be satisfying.
Which brings me back to fear.
I will be asking my family to forfeit a very comfortable existence. No longer will we be able to impulsively go out to eat with no worry, or buy clothes just because we need them, or buy art just because it’s beautiful and we want it.
I should mention my golden cuffs make up 60% of our income. Giving up said income will put us roughly 30% below our net need to stay debt free.
I am asking my partner to hold my hand as I try to earn money as just another writer in a world saturated with writers, and writing, and words. I will do whatever odd jobs needed to meet my family’s needs, but if I allow fear to consume me I will be giving up the very essence of me.
After all these years, I see now the demon will never let me be.