Thursday, May 3, 2012

It all comes down to this . . . .

Okay it really doesn't but I needed a good title for what I'm sure will be a rambling post because my insides are so tied up in knots it's hard to think straight (see I'm already rambling).

I've often wondered how people do "crazy" things like jump out of airplanes or race anything really fast, or work in a dangerous occupation where many die. When I was younger I worked hard to not divulge my fear of heights. I road all the roller coasters, water slides, Ferris Wheels, sky rides, etc. The whole time trying to have my face not show the internal trauma I was feeling, knowing we would all soon be plummeting to our doom. But I couldn't hide it once the ride started because I'm a screamer. (You have all now been officially warned) I'm pretty good at it too. My screaming starts off as something you'd hear in a horror movie, not the startled scream but the one that comes out of the victim's mouth just after she realizes she stands face to face with the bad guy. And if the drop is long enough my scream turns from that loveliness (sorry seatmates) to some sort of feral tribal death moan. Oh yes, it is oh so pretty.

Shortly after I finished my college degree my husband and I visited Disney World. We didn't have kids yet and didn't go with friends. Scott wanted to ride Tower of Terror, which has like an 87 story drop or something. I didn't want him to have to ride alone, and I didn't want to wait alone while he rode without me, so I agreed to go on this crazy ride. We'd been married for a few years at this point and he'd known about my problem with heights for a while, so he said "If you're sure." (I wasn't but nodded my head yes anyway) and off we went. The whole time in line my heart raced and my brain ran around in circles with all the nasty scenarios of what could possibly happen. My hands got shaky and my whole system was so full of adrenaline that I actually had myself convinced they were going to drop the elevator when we were standing to watch the story film (if you haven't been there before this happens before you even enter the loading area). After the ride, I went numb. Head and extremities totally incapable of rational thought or movement for at least an hour after we were safely planted on stable ground.

That same shaky, heart racing, adrenaline pumping feeling is what started happening this morning. And I'm not planning on jumping out of any windows or visiting an amusement park. Tomorrow my writer's conference starts. I haven't been filled with as much excitement/terror since right before each of my kids was born. This time I'm trying to bring a different kind of life into the world, one that has been baking for over three years. Months ago when I mustered off the courage to send some of my work out into cyberspace I thought that was brave. But while it was in cyberspace real live important writer people were reading it, and critiquing it, and judging it. On Saturday I find out what they thought. I've been trying to tell myself that I just don't care what they say and I'm not really all that interested in winning the contest but in getting the feedback to improve myself. But that isn't entirely true. I want to win (and I don't because then I have to stand up in front of lots of people) and I want people to love what I've written because I love it, and it's a piece of me down on paper that I don't show to many people.

So I try to keep myself busy with all the things that need to be done at home so that Mom can be gone for 2 days and 1 night. And I print out the syllabus and obsess over which classes I'll take and what I'll wear and if I can force myself to be brave enough to go to the Publisher's mingle. But most of all I try to not fall apart and look brave on the outside when I feel like jello in the blender on the inside.

After all of my hard work, in the end it all comes down to what someone else thinks of it. And my work is out there having someone else think about it and talk about it and it is totally terrifying. If any of you out in cyberspace wouldn't mind to think happy thoughts for me around 3pm on Saturday afternoon, it would be greatly appreciated. And maybe you could say a little prayer that I keep my brave face and won't burst into tears (even if they really really like what they read).


  1. I felt this way when I first started showing people my art. I thought I would have an anxiety attack just posting it online, let alone showing it to people live. But, it does get easier. And sometimes you get amazing wonderful praise (better than you would expect or hope for), and sometimes you get a "meh" and sometimes you get feedback (though it is usually helpful even if for a second you want to say "I suck!") but I have found that people aren't usually mean. Really, they are quite nice. And helpful. And everyone there will be submitting work too and those same nerves will be present in them as well - whether you can tell or not. Enjoy it. Have a great time. Maybe if you see it as an education and not a competition that will make it easier.
    Oh, and I feel the same way about the Tower of Terror. I won't go. Jeff has to do it. :)

  2. Oh, and I think you are a good writer, by the way, so I don't think you need to be worried.

  3. Good luck dear friend. I know you will be awesome and I'll say a little prayer for you and for your terrible fear to not be so fearful and nervous. You are awesome and enjoy this major feat you have accomplished. Our whole house is rooting for you.

  4. Liz, love these blogs! Your humor is real and detailed and so funny. Each entry makes me smile. Each entry teaches me something. You go, Girl!