Monday, May 23, 2011

A Dangerous Four-Letter Word: Fear

Last week I did something I have been meaning to do for quite awhile. It’s nothing major, and probably not life-changing, but for some reason it was something I could never bring myself to get around to doing: I created a food blog. It’s called Savoring Life, and it’s related to my book Savoring Chelan and the book I’m currently compiling, Savoring Leavenworth (I’m savoring things, get it?)
For anyone who has never set up a blog, there really isn’t much to it: you find a blog host (Blogger, WordPress, etc.), fiddle around with the design until it looks how you want it to, and write something on it. Seems easy, right? For a writer like me, who writes a lot and already has a weekly blog, it really shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but it was.
Part of the reason that I dragged my feet on this is because it’s a commitment. If you’re going to have a blog and get any sort of regular audience, you have to post on a regular basis. Not only that, but you have to be able to blog about interesting things to keep your audience. (This is where I would like to give a shout out to my friend Molly Steere, who just celebrated her blog’s first birthday and just passed 10,000 hits – way to go Molly!)
The truth is, there’s something about committing to do something regularly that has made me want to drag my feet. What is that something? It’s fear, plain and simple.
It’s such a small word, fear. It doesn’t leap off the page at most people, and it rarely incites the kind of response that other words do: massacre, genocide, food poisoning, Rapture. Fear isn’t even a normal four-letter word that you should teach your kids never to use. Some words, though, are sneaky like that. You think about the word fear and it doesn’t motivate or scare you the way “plague” or “empty cookie jar” might, but it is still an incredibly dangerous word.
How many things have I failed to do because of fear? Countless things. There’s no way to keep track of how many times I didn’t do something without even being able to admit that fear was the reason I didn’t do it. I like to think I’m not the only one that rationalizes my way out of facing my fears. Mountain biking? I could break a leg, or fly over my handlebars. Going to Mexico? There are drug cartels there. Talking to that cute guy at the bar? He probably has a girlfriend already. Asking for help? It’s easier just to do it myself than to be shut down.
The worst part about fear is not what you actually fear, however. It’s the totally unstudied and illogical idea you have of what will happen if your fears come true. What’s the worst possible thing that could happen to me regarding my food blog? That someone finds it highly offensive – “Fried plantains? You HARLOT!” – and tells everyone to shun me forever. See? When you admit your worst fears out in the open, they seem silly and illogical. The trick, then, is to admit what your worst fears are, maybe just to yourself to start with, then deciding that the realization of that fear is not worth hanging back for.
I was scared to start a food blog because of what it could mean: yet another thing I would be required to write on a regular basis. But wait a minute, I’m a writer…what I WANT in life is something more to write about, something I care a lot about and want to share with others. What do I care about, think about and do nearly every day? I care about, think about, and write about food. Why shouldn’t I share that with you, invisible audience? If I leave out the fear factor, there’s no good reason left.

Love and fearless kisses