Friday, March 21, 2008

Facing My Fears

Well, there it is. Yep, the thing I fear the most... flying. This is a photo taken by my niece Liza on her very first flight. She was afraid, nervous, apprehensive, etc. but she went because she wanted to see her brother (my nephew, Matt) get married and to do that she had to fly to Nebraska. It was also the first time flying for her mother (my sister, Paula) and her step dad, Ralph. So, they all did it and loved it.

I've flown before. I'm trying to count how many times...maybe four at the most. My very first time, I must admit (sheepishly) that I cried. And this has been within the last 15 years, so I was no toddler. No, the toddlers on the plane handled it better than I did. And when we hit turbulence, I crossed from panic into terror. I didn't make a scene (not too much) but it was the worst feeling I had ever experienced.

I've been thinking about how my fears have held me back in alot of areas in my life. I thought of this particular fear first because my husband is getting ready to take a group of his students to London, England for a study abroad course in May. I want to go to England! I want to go Paris! But, unfortunately, to do that I have to fly. So, I've been stewing about how I let this fear hold me back from things I really want to experience. But unlike Liza, who decided to face her fear and go to her brother's wedding, I let the deadline pass for getting a passport and buying a ticket so I won't be going on this year's trip with my husband.

I have let my fears hold me back in alot of other areas, too. For the longest time I wanted to create art, especially collage, using the Photoshop program we have on our computer. It's very intimidating and (at least for me) not very user friendly. So, I just told myself that you have to be an artist or an illustrator or designer to use that program. You wouldn't even know where to start. And I didn't. For a long time. Then, I finally got fed up and decided I'd try manipulating a few photos that I had stored on my computer.

I don't have much patience. That's a bad thing if you are trying to learn any kind of software. After much frustration, yelling, sighing... I started to get somewhere. The first attempts were almost enough to make me say forget the whole thing. One time I was trying to enhance a face on a photo, using a command that exaggerates whatever feature you highlight. I wanted to get a mystical, fairy-like appearance out of this face. I had seen other artists do it in their work, I read how they said they did it, and they had started from faces just like this one. So, I was using some of the commands making pretty good progress, but when I hit one key everything disappeared but the nose! So, I had this big nose in the middle of a white screen. First, I got really angry! I had worked for quite awhile getting that face to look somewhat mystical. Now, all I had to show for all of my hard work was a big nose! Then, I just had to laugh. It was hysterical, looking at this nose on the screen. Fortunately, my husband was close by and said just hit the Undo key and you'll get back to your face. An Undo key! I did, and all was well.

Other ways I've let fear hold me back involve my writing. I have always written short stories, poems, journals, what have you since I was old enough to write. Then this whole blogging thing came along. I immediately dismissed it. My first thoughts were, I don't know how to set up a blog; I don't know what I would write about; It looks like too much work. But lately, I've been enjoying reading other people's blogs. I really started getting into blogs when I picked up a copy of the Artful Blogging magazine. That was inspiring, and that is what spurred me to start my own.

I don't even pretend to have the talent or the photographic skills that the artists in that magazine have, but they did plant the desire to try! And, once I told myself that my blog is mainly for myself, to prove what I can do, see what I can learn, then the pressure was off. The old saying, "What's the worst that can happen and can you live with it?" applied. So what, if it didn't work out? At least I tried.

So, little by little I am finding that my fears are based in large part on what I tell myself. If I tell myself that something is impossible, then it is. If I tell myself that I can't do something, then I don't. I'm not saying I'm ready to hop right on the next plane taking off out of Indianapolis, but I am going to work on telling myself that maybe next year when my husband goes on a study abroad trip, I'll be there with him. I'll keep you updated.

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