On Fear

Hi friends,

I’m going to be honest, because, why not? In a few days I’ll post an entry that Frances Martin sent me almost a year ago, partly about the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. It’s got something to do with learning something and then suddenly finding it EVERYWHERE. Lately my life has taken on a couple of variations on themes.

The primary one has to do with life being short, living a little, being unafraid, not talking myself out of doing things, not making up excuses. Not thinking about other choices, other lives. Quieting the insecure fourteen-year-old living inside each of us. A piece Tim Kreider wrote sums a lot of it up. (His line, “Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control,” has been echoing in my head for days now.)

So does all the Joan Didion I’ve been reading, especially The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. I watched the new Ricky Gervais series, “Derek,” in little more than a weekend. Have you guys seen Amour? (I don’t want to talk about it.) I’ve been lucky enough to not have had to spend much of my life thinking about death. About aging. But through a series of actual and near coincidences, it’s lately occupying my much of my mind.

I’ve realized many things, but here are the two biggest pieces:

1. Since having a child, I’ve wasted a lot of time fretting about all the time I wasted before I had a child. Which is, of course, still wasting time. I’m sick of wasting time. I’m sick of being afraid and being tired and talking myself out of trying and taking chances.

2. Adults are who they are. I don’t think circumstances make that much difference. If you are prone to sadness (as I am), you will find things to be sad about. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you’ve got a partner or are single, if you’ve had kids or are childless, if you have a career you like or not. If you are prone to anxiety (as I am), you’ll find it. Whatever you’re prone to will follow you no matter what paths you choose.

Yes, sure, there are choices that are better for you and worse for you, but, overall, I don’t know that your choices matter so much. PERHAPS if I hadn’t had a child, I would’ve gotten around to all that writing and all those art projects I’d been planning. Probably I wouldn’t have, though. PERHAPS if I had moved somewhere else, I would’ve lived a glamorous and very social life. Probably I wouldn’t have, though.

My point is: Hey! This blog is back. At least, I hope it is. I’ve got a backlog of entries to respond to and post. I’m not OLD, but I am too old for a few things. Pigtails. Keeping up on new music. Worrying that putting my ideas “out there” will make it seem like I think my ideas are important. I don’t know if my ideas are important. But they are my ideas, so I may as well share them. People will read them or they won’t. They’ll like them or they won’t.

What I have learned from Didion lately, friends, is this: We need to write everything down. It’s the only way we’re going to remember anything.

So let’s keep writing. Let’s keep sharing our experiences. Let’s keep having ideas, and let’s stop worrying if they’re important or not. I’ll start doing it again if you guys will. And so, in the spirit of comradery and goodwill, I’m going to quell my constant desire to over-think and JUST POST THIS. Here. We. Go…

Talk soon, Amy

4 thoughts on “On Fear

  1. Joanna says:

    ❤ Write on.

  2. tbaggervance says:

    I love all of this, except I think you’re wrong about the pigtails and keeping up with music. But that’s splitting hairs. I forced myself years ago to write everyday, hoping that it’d be like smoking and eventually it’d be weird not to do it. It worked. Now I’m just waiting to find out writing gives you cancer too. Fingers crossed… For not that.

  3. Lieberstein says:

    Love you.

    And amen and well-said. I’ll try.

  4. Lori Eaton says:

    Hey Amy,
    Glad to see your blog pop up on Facebook via a comment from Jacqui Robbins. It always freaks me out a little when someone starts following my blog and I don’t know who the hell they are. (Not that I have tons of followers but…)

    So anyway, good to know you are writing again. I remember your work on Vicarious Motherhood from the Critical Connection days.

    And for a slightly different take on motherhood, there is “not mother,” “mother,” and what is beginning to feel like “post mother.” My kids are 18 & 21. I’m not allowed to mother them any more and instead am supposed to keep my opinions to myself until asked, and then make wise pronouncements… the Oracle of Birmingham.

    Looking forward to your next post.

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