The pages arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago. I sent them to an editor, one I paid in real money and not in back rubs. They came back sliced through with green ink. I expected red, but she used green, perhaps to make it look like less of a massacre across the page. I reminded myself that I asked for this, and got down to business. It took a few days, a few tears, and more edits than I can count, but the first few pages are as finished as they’re going to be. For today, anyway.
I have never mentioned to our friend that I write, and every time our path crosses his, I swear my husband to secrecy. I rarely talk about my writing with people who know me in real life, especially if they know me well. I hide the part of myself I love the most. I hide it because I love it so much, I fear someone’s negative opinion will somehow damage this part of me. This hiding and swearing of secrets sounds ridiculous, but fear makes us do ridiculous things. Fear of failure, fear of falling short, fear of other’s opinions. I don’t know what my writer friend would think of my writing, and fear keeps me from finding out.
I don’t have an answer for conquering the fear or sharing our secrets, but I do know that when a friend asked about my summer plans, I told her I will attend a writer’s conference. I felt myself wanting to catch the words with cupped hands as they fell from my mouth, with the hopes of shoveling them back in before they reached her ears. But they fell softly and she was kind and I felt as if I took one more step out of hiding and walked into the light.
What are you stepping out of, into, away from?