Although my sister and I disagree about a lot—mainly which movies are worth sitting through (I say all; she says none)—we are likeminded when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Her 2014 resolution was “to do better than last year.”
Vague resolutions make it easy to define a year as successful. If you resolve to “exercise,” then you could easily call walking to and from your car a good year (not that I have done this myself).
In the same vein as my sister, I have made a vague but meaningful resolution for 2015: I will live in spite of fear rather than living in fear.
I tend to undermine myself by downplaying my dreams to others. It is an easy defense mechanism that I have practiced subconsciously since childhood. On the surface, people see my passion for writing as a mere hobby because that’s exactly how I paint it. I wrote about this earlier in the year, but I have since decided to take real, measurable steps toward reversing that tendency.
I fear that my writing is not good enough to be read by others. I fear that I write and write and write and that it is not worthy of sharing. I fear that someone is going to rip my writing apart and that my skin won’t be thick enough to handle it. I fear that I will share the wrong thing one day and lose the small list of followers I have built over the last two years.
This year I started the slow process of hurdling over those fears by posting blogs more regularly. It may seem small or insignificant, but I used to share my writing very irregularly due to a little voice in my head always telling me, “You’re not good enough.” Although the voice still taunts me, I quiet it a little more each time I click ‘publish’.
Despite this progress, I still live in fear of chasing a dream I have had for many years. I want to spend 2015 actively living in spite of that fear (because a fear doesn’t just vanish like an easily-swayed ghost). I want to acknowledge my fear, stare it down, and decide to live anyway. I want to stop running from my fears, or standing stagnant, and trudge forward.
So, here goes… something.
I have been working on a book of poems for a year. I have showed some of the poems to two trusted friends who I knew would give me thoughtful criticism without destroying my self-esteem. I keep revising, rewriting, and rehashing ideas. I daydream about sharing them with others, then laugh about it minutes later.
It’s time to live in spite of fear.
All of the poems center on a theme of the future our world is headed toward—from technological advances and my fear of their disadvantages to modern romance and the increasingly lonely culture we live in.
For months I have tossed around how to share the poems. I wanted to use technology as a medium for sharing in order to show that the very thing I question is still necessary to my purposes.
Then I read Sherry Terkel’s wonderful book Alone Together, which talks about how and why “we expect more from technology and less from each other.” In it, she writes about the weight that many people still place on receiving physical letters in the mail. She talks about how she cherishes her mother’s letters, but worries that her daughter will not have such mementos in the age of technology.
And with that, I decided that I want to mail my poems as letters. It is a strange idea, and it may flop, but I am going for it. I will send a monthly dispatch that includes poems, unique artwork, and other random goodies like short stories or my music—another passion of mine.
Here is what I hope to accomplish with this project:
1. I want to share my passion as an active pursuit to live in spite of fear and not in fear.
2. I will hopefully receive some feedback—both encouraging and challenging.
3. People will enjoy receiving something personal in the mail each month.
4. Some people may feel compelled to mail me back, maybe with passions of their own, letters they feel like writing, or other positive, personal interactions I can’t possibly dream of yet. In an over-connected world, it would be nice to share some smaller, realer connections with others outside of the social media realm. Basically, I want to bring back the pen pal in 2015.
5. Surprising revelations I won’t know about until they happen because this project is an open-ended, malleable venture.
If you would like to be part of this quaint little project, I would love for you to take this journey with me. It is absolutely FREE. I don’t want this to be about money—just idea-sharing and personal connection. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your home address (I promise I won’t show up unannounced), and each month I will send you a small dispatch of poems and the occasional CD, short story, or yet-to-be-thought-of idea.
Will you help me live in spite of fear in 2015? Can I help you do the same?