Saturday, September 4, 2010

Losing My Fear

Entry #18

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." (Joseph Chilton Pearce)

Pearce is an author of a variety of types of books, including many on children and their development. I liked this quote because I believe it to be true. I also like it because a friend of mine has had the courage to put her creativity out in public for anyone and everyone to see and, thereby open herself up to criticism, both positive and possibly negative.

Last night (Sept. 3) I attended an art show where my friend Mary displayed some of the paintings she's painted over the last few years. Before going I had decided not to buy anything. I was there to just enjoy her art and give her some moral support. I walked into the little cafe and was immediately greeted by her two sisters and then Mary herself. It was so nice to see them and Mary's husband, Joe, again after a long time. While looking at all of the paintings what struck me was not so much whether they appealed to me or not. The questions that ran through my mind were: Where do you get the inspiration for your work? How do you overcome fear of rejection and have the courage to put yourself "out there"? I did ask Mary the first question, but not the second one. It seems she just lets the colors that appeal to her guide her art and expression. Her paintings are abstract and are all very dramatic.

As to the second question, I wish I had asked it. Fear of failure, rejection, criticism, etc. has pretty much dictated my actions most of my life. I'm not artistically gifted, or graceful and light on my feet, and my singing voice wouldn't cause Carrie Underwood any sleepless nights. Becoming a famous artist, dancer, or singer are big dreams and not many people who try for them are successful. Even though I never aspired to be anything as dramatic as an artist, dancer, or singer, even simpler dreams seemed out of reach for me. Dreams such as being married.

I've always blamed my not being married on my weight and how I looked because of it. The truth is I didn't go out of my way to meet men out of fear of being rejected because of my appearance. Odds are that, if I had put myself "out there", I would have been rejected on some occasions, but certainly not all. However, I let the fear of a few possible rejections keep me from socializing and doing the normal stuff teenage and twenty-something young women do to attract the opposite sex.

The same has been true as far as weight loss is concerned. I have talked myself out of beginning a weight loss/exercise regimen because it seems like they all end in failure. Why even try, if I know that in the end I'll be right back where I started and likely have a few extra pounds to boot. Of course, the fact that it's so much easier to just keep eating also played a role in not starting.

This time things are different. Somewhere I found the guts to begin writing a public blog telling anyone who reads it that I plan to be thin someday in the near future. If it takes me two years or ten years doesn't matter. I will get there. I am beginning now to feel the progress in my weight loss and exercise in the way my clothes fit. And yesterday my sister Christine asked me how much weight I had lost. She noticed how much thinner my face looks now. I'm on a roll and looking forward to my future successes. On second thought, maybe Carrie should think about buying some Sominex and Sleepytime Tea.

P.S. I did buy a painting last night. There was one done with greens, yellows and coffee grounds that jumped out at me. It made me think of the New York City skyline the instant I saw it. It will look beautiful on my living room wall.


  1. Bravo Jennifer! I understand exactly what you are saying about dreams of being a singer, etc. However, in my humble opinion, you are something much more shape the minds of young children. The role of teacher is so underregarded in our society. Yes, I am prejudice; however, notice I said young children. Elementary teachers have the most difficult teaching role as far as I'm concerned as they teach absolutely everything. You are truly a hero to many!

  2. Kless, what your friend, Patty, said is true. You are a hero to many. I remember thinking how much I wished I had the tenacity to become a teacher. Being around you, I felt inferior in many ways. Especially, when you and Joe had something so important in common. You both worked so hard for this achievement. Jen, you see yourself so much differently than others see you. I guess we all do.

    Many Christmases ago, my son, Chad, and his wife gave me a box of paints because I said I loved to sketch. Nothing for anyone to see, publicly. But just little paintings to hang on my own wall. Then one night I could not sleep. So I took the paints out and painted, for the first time, in the privacy of my own house. I was all alone. No one around to critique me. I just let the colors and shapes guide me. I felt amazing, because I was able to put feelings to canvas in a different way. Something I never experienced before. When Joe woke up, he was surprised and said some positive things. So I left the picture where people could see it, when they came over. I wasn't, actually, showing it off. That would be to risky. But what I put in my own house seemed to belong to the house. The personal side wasn't on trial. As people started complimenting I got more brave. It started from there.

    One of my favorite lines from a song says "Those who lack the courage say it's dangerous to try". I pray hard to be the best "me". I do not like when I lack the courage. It keeps me from finding out what my potential is. And, I want to know.

    Lastly, I realized as I got older, that the very people I let intimidate me, were only good at one thing. Maybe they could manage a store well, or exercize with consistency, or cook well. But I used to take the one thing I envied and I believed they were better in many ways than just that one way. I made them that way in my own head. Find the one thing you know you are good at. Focus on that. The rest will come. I know it to be true.

    Ask God to let you see you as others do. You will be amazed at what we see, but, hopefully, not really surprised.

    Thanks for the support, last night. How many friends would come all that way?