Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing that scares you every day.”
I don’t know about every day, I’m not sure I’m ready for that. However, at the beginning of the year I decided to do something that scares me.
I decided to take a writing course. I know that doesn’t sound that scary to many people. In fact, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I write often and post it for people to read. Well, I know at least my mother is reading it.
When I mentioned it to my husband, he said, “What are you talking about? You do scary things all the time. What about zip lining? Surfing? Going to Africa? White water rafting and sleeping on ants?”
“Those things were fun and adventurous, but they weren’t scary,” I explained.
Writing on command and reading it aloud for people to critique each week, now THAT’S scary. This was a new level of vulnerability for me.
I arrived at the Writer’s Workshop in Westport the first evening with large butterflies in my stomach. I debated between blowing it off entirely, or having a glass of wine beforehand. I decided against both.
The first person there was an older woman (I was the youngest of the group by about 20 years). She was interesting, outspoken and somewhat familiar to me. When she mentioned she lived in Ridgefield, I said “Oh, I graduated from Ridgefield High.”
“Well I taught English at Ridgefield High,” she replied. Great. Nothing to settle those butterflies like being in writing class with your English teacher.
No worries, I assured myself, we obviously write about different types of things. I’m focused on health and wellness, mind/body connection and all of that. I’m sure no one else here will be writing about those topics.
Our next participant walks in and introduces himself. I recognized the name immediately, a well known naturopath doctor who specializes in the mind/body connection.
Fortunately the final two participants were innocuous enough and we got to work.
For six weeks five strangers led by our instructor, poured our hearts out on the table on Thursday evenings. I learned more intimate details about their lives, and they about mine, then people I’ve known for years.
We critiqued, laughed, bonded and there were even a few tears shed.
In the end, it wasn’t so scary after all. By the time we parted on the final night I realized I would miss my Thursday night compadres. Saying good-bye reminded me a bit like the end of The Breakfast Club, there would be no real reason to stay in touch, no other bonding ties unless we somehow ended up around that same writing table one semester down the road.
An English teacher, a physician, a retiree, and a grandmother….and me, being courageous.