“Change begins when the fear of not acting at all at last outstrips the paralyzing fear of making a mistake.” – Alain de Botton
In late 2018 I was in a car accident. Not a fender-bender type of accident, but the real deal. The kind that involves ambulances, scans, the closure of a highway and in turn, utter confusion. Before that, I’d been working on a book; two, actually. One was a photographic journal of my travels, complete with short stories to accompany them. The second, a novel about modern love.
My journey to recover my rattled brain, rattled bones and ligaments consumed much of the year 2019.
After my concussion healed I managed to travel a little, but it was different. Slow. And although throughout the year I casually made my way through France, Ireland, Sardinia, and retreats to the American deserts, I didn’t write about it. I gave up my column at The American Magazine as I felt I’d nothing to say. I dug for creativity that simply wasn’t there. The more I dug, the more I tried to write, the more I felt like an imposter, a fake. Unable to grasp words or ideas, I froze. Insecurity crept in and its ugly little tendrils permeated my very essence. Much like a virus.
I changed jobs too. It was a good change, which allowed me more financial comfort and security, but with longer working hours. I used it as an excuse not to write, nor paint, nor photograph during my holidays. I was just there to “relax.” I even stopped bringing my camera and notepads in my carryon. I didn’t want the extra weight. Or the risk.
Late in 2019, when I finally felt the tiniest, fleeting glimpse of creativity, the calendar rolled over to 2020. And, well….you know.
So I put my head back down and worked more. I was fortunate enough to have a job that wasn’t affected by the shutdowns, as I can work from my home office. With spending time with friends, as well as any travel, out of the question, my days became solely about work, self-care and daily walks with my dog. By late summer, like a lot of people, I was emotionally fatigued and lonely. I’d pick up my sketch pad and nothing would come out of the pencil. Or I’d stare at my empty computer screen hoping a story would find its way from the now decrepit tendril of insecurity, but its death grip hadn’t loosened.
Until it did.
I’d like to say it was all me, but it wasn’t. I had a nudge from someone who showed me there is still joy to be found in letting oneself take a risk.
And now, after an over-two-year hiatus from writing, photography and sketching, I’d like to think I can squeeze the rest of my self out of the claws of fear: of making a mistake, of failing, of not being “perfect,” and put myself back out there creatively on OneStreetShy. And hopefully, back to my book too.
So here’s to a better, more creative, and less solitary 2021 for all!