Fear of what others think


“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”  Virginia Woolf

I’ve been in full on fiction mode for the past few months neglecting my stream of consciousness roots. I miss that time, years ago when I unleashed words like projectile vomit onto a page. I wrote a lot of stream of consciousness pieces back then because narcissism was the only option when I was a sulky teenager feeling the world for the first time with a voice that squeaked in the light and boomed in the dark for the audience of only my mind and ears. I felt everything like the sweltering triangle’s gradual descent just before it impresses an iron burn on starched ecru sheets, Every poem was a diary entry, every story an autobiography.

And now I try to write something personal, uninhibited, raw and momentous but I can’t.Perhaps the fears are chiming  What will they think? who will they tell? what will they say? I hover at the edge of the Pool (of vulnerability) my folded arms fiddling with the buttons of my cardigan. ‘Saratu, just get in!’ It’s a faint urgent whisper that runs the risk of becoming a chant. It can’t, it mustn’t. I cant take the pressure- from them to share? from myself to have a story, personality, perspective worth sharing? I can’t tell. One arm of the cardigan comes off. I’m scared of what they’ll see.  I should have done more crunches or even squats, used that bloomin’ sugar scrub. What will they think? who will they tell? what will they say? I fling the folded cardigan onto a lounge chair. Now I pace the checked blue monochromatic tiles feeling every little square impression beneath my soles. I taste the acidic insecurity of being on the verge of rejection. You know how that feels as well as I do.

Are you about to reveal that story that will doubtless make them love you less? the painstaking editing yourself so they’ll forget that you’re not good enough, you grin and stretch your hand out eager to connect and what you get? that apathetic nothing- the sort of nothing that lets your palm hang in the air, that stares away when you offer a greeting that laughs at you when you try to chase your dream. I’m going to swim, get drenched, get told I must be crazy or I don’t know how to do it right.

In the interest of acceptance we shortchange ourselves crouching down and diluting our intensity. We worry too much about what others will think. Well

What do YOU think? DO IT. Let them tell whomever and let those people say whatever. You are putting yourself out there, learning, extending warmth, improving,taking a risk, connecting. You are living!!

“When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.” Karen E Quinones Miller


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