I’m not sure what fears snag me when I sit down to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys. Probably there is the pressure to hold up an image and then the terror of feeling that the words, once sensing freedom, may charge down paths ungoverned. The art, it has something to say. But I am not so much afraid of what it will say, as I am afraid how; ideas demand presentation, and this unnerves me.
Perhaps my own exposure is the greater fear.
Under the flag of Christian Evangelicalism, I adopted early on a certain pressure to be mindful of others at all times. Not mindful in the sense of receiving persons as persons–persons to be loved, to be shown compassion, persons from whom to learn (though these virtuous expressions may have been the intent). No, what I internalized was the imperative to be mindful of others’ perceptions. So if I dressed right, sat right, acted right, wrote right…hid right…I would be right, and so would they.
And in being right, it would actually turn out that I was all right, with nothing to fear.
Only, I couldn’t be right. So I wasn’t all right. And thus, fear had me anyway.
When I sit with fingers poised above keys, it’s this fear that comes back to tease. “You’re not enough,” it whispers, “and they’ll all find out.”