Chronicle of…what now?

“Blog about what you know best,” said the expert at the writing conference.

And I thought, “Fear. I know fear. I feel it daily. It drives everyone I know. And maybe, just maybe, writing a blog about it will force me to face my fears and grow as a person. What a great opportunity!”

And thus was born my blog.

The concept was simple: blog once a week about a fear I faced. Learn from it.

notebook

The practice was…well, less simple.

It turns out fears aren’t as exciting as they sound. They’re not scaly, fire-breathing monsters to be slain and sung of in ballads. They’re mundane things. I’m afraid of apologising. Of meeting people. Of packing and resting and getting out of bed for class. (And of bees. I haven’t faced that fear yet.)

And the more I write, the more I realise something: I don’t want to write about fear. Looking back through my blog posts the other day while trying (in vain, so far) to get organised, I saw that my posts began as a commentary on my fears and gradually grew into the story of my search for beauty. Here’s the thing—fear is everywhere. Everyone is frightened of something, and dwelling on my fear hasn’t helped me deal with it. Maybe I’ve learnt to identify it, to recognise its legitimacy, to admit to it, but I haven’t learnt to live past it. But when I stop looking at what frightens me and focus instead on something that excites, engages, enlightens–then I can move beyond the panic under my ribs and the shaking in my hands.

Overcoming terror isn’t about identifying it; it’s about finding something more meaningful and focusing on that.

The rain glistening on skyscrapers in a crowded city.

The impossible red coating the underbelly of a maple leaf on a Monday morning.

The scent of coffee drifting through the office during a meeting.

Sunlight throwing tiny rainbows through the window after an exam.

Because beauty trumps fear every time.

leaf

So this week, here’s my fear: I’m afraid of change and I’m afraid to commit. And this week, I’m committing to change.

I’m changing my focus.

It’s time to stop studying what scares me and start searching for what excites me. And will I still talk about fear? Most definitely—as a foil for the small, bright beauties I find everywhere. The breathtaking moments, the subtle pleasures, the unexpected smiles.

Because the world doesn’t need more fear. It needs more beauty.

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About Elizabeth Syson

While consuming tea and coffee at an alarming rate, I read and write everything I can and pursue my unnatural love of copyediting. My hobbies include learning new instruments and languages, riding horseback, sketching very badly indeed, and periodically recommitting to doing yoga regularly. View all posts by Elizabeth Syson

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