Facing your fears as an artist is a constant battle. But what about “real” life? Do we actively live the way we preach? I am seeking out new experiences because I know however much I am scared I will extend as a person. And really, anything you do to extend yourself personally will prove fodder for your creative spirit!
My more recent facing-fear experience deals with my fear of the water.
I have no memory of falling into our pool as a child in Oklahoma. But I do remember just how terrified I felt when my parents signed me up for a water safety course. I was asked to jump off the diving board into someone’s arms in the pool. My sister and her husband were there to watch. I was even bribed with ice cream if I did it. None of that helped. I sat on the board crying my eyes out. Finally the instructor came closer and helped me off the board into the water. It made me feel even worse, like I had let down my family and I still was scared as all hell.
In hindsight, I wonder if I jumped into the pool that time in Oklahoma, which may have led to such a fear. I can see my curious nature as a child thinking that was a good idea. I wonder only because jumping in scared me more than being in the water. Had my golden retriever Beau not alerted my parents that I snuck out of the house, I would not be writing this today!
All of this sets you up for a recent boating excursion in Oman. I was so excited! Sun, warmth, water, cool views above and below the surface… I have been on boats so I thought nothing but excited thoughts.
Our hosts were fabulous. While they are new to boating, they knew what they were doing. However, it was a choppy day out on the water. As a result, higher speeds felt a bit jerky. It was jerky enough that I squealed (much to my man’s delight) for what I felt were especially hard smacks against the water (okay, for maybe all of the jerky movements..). At one point Captain P asked me how I was doing, noting my nervousness. I expressed that I was indeed, nervous. His reply, “Well think about how nervous I must be, I am the one driving the boat!”
Once it dawned on me that my captain was feeling unsure, I lost it. “Well then slow the F*&% down!” He looked at me stunned a moment and the boat jerked to an almost stop. After everyone had a minute to digest my reaction, P said, “Wow Carrie, that is the first time I have heard you swear!” We all looked at each other and busted out laughing.
Once the boat was anchored we got out the snorkel. My friend B was a dive instructor so she jumped right in and started looking for wildlife (of course, after we had some beer and picnicked our lunch). I was nervous but I got in anyways. I felt panicky, my heart kick-started with adrenaline pumping through my veins. I don’t remember the last time I was that nervous in the water! She showed me how to use the snorkel and I tried to calm down. Her hubby (Captain P) gave me a floaty noodle so I wasn’t nervous about both my swimming ability and snorkeling in the water. B was awesome and swam by me the whole time. Patient woman! And once I saw some blue Doris (I heart Finding Nemo) swimming underneath me, I was fascinated by that watery world. I hope to go back out again with them soon (whether or not they want me as a shipmate is yet to be determined! Ha).
While that was a baby step, it made me all the more determined to go back out there. I was totally surprised by my level of fear. In fact, I wonder if its worse than it has ever been (except maybe that time on the diving board).
It is scary to jump into something that unknown. For me, its water and ultimately, my lack of confidence swimming. The only way I will rid myself of that fear is by doing more of it. And all of this trying something new gives me experiences to write about, paint about, draw about and talk about. Creative fodder, yes please!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What really scares you? Are you nervous to try new things? Is there a fear that prevents you from doing something you want to try? What steps can you take to face those fears? Dive right in, or maybe try some small step towards empowerment. For me, that baby step would be proper swimming lessons. What would it be for you? Share your strategies for facing fear!