I was fairly shy when I was a kid. I moved a lot and went to 5 different elementary schools in 4 different states. I was scared of asking other kids to play with me, for fear of rejection, which was silly, because I was a pretty likable kid and generally had an easy time making friends.
I was also fairly prolific as a kid. I wrote stories (including having a very short picture book, made of paper stapled between construction paper covers, displayed in my school library in 1st grade with the note “Young Author”), wrote and drew comics, and filled notebooks with illustrations, maps, story fragments and ideas. I also went to school and did most of my schoolwork, read a lot of books and comics, watched a lot of TV, played with my toys, hung out with friends and spent quality time with my family.
I’m really missing that kid this morning.
As an adult, I’ve had my heart broken a lot, and I’ve broken a heart or two in my time. Yet I have no problem throwing myself into romantic relationships. Despite still being shy and insecure at times, I have little problem striking up conversations with strangers and making new friends. But despite feeling a desperate need to create, to write stories and poems, to make up worlds and draw maps, to share my dreams with others, I find myself blocked. Blocked by fear.
Sure, I make excuses: I don’t have time, I’m tired after work, I’ve got other things to do. But those are lies. If I could find the time when I was a kid, I could find the time now. My work requires me to sit at a computer all day and sometimes interact with the public–not exactly body-breaking, energy-sucking labor. Yes, I have adult things to do, like cooking and cleaning and paying bills. But it’s not like those things take hours out of my day.
What am I so afraid of? Why am I afraid to fill the blank page in front of me? Why do I stop myself from playing the way I did when I was a kid? Why am I afraid to do something I enjoy?
I don’t know, but I’m working on ways to push myself past the fear. I’m tired of giving in to the fear. I want to learn to be that kid again.