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Monday, June 11, 2018

 

5 Things I'm Afraid to Tell You



I’ve talked about my recent obsession with podcasts lately, and now that I’ve discovered them, I seek out more and more podcasts to follow, or simply check out podcasts where influencers or celebrities I admire are being interviewed. There’s one podcaster I listen to for marketing and content curation ideas (The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher) and I thought it was interesting one day when she created a mini-episode called “10 Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.” I decided for this blog, I would do an abbreviated version of the same thing. One of the things I love about this online community is how understanding and welcoming the writers are, even as we share our triumphs and joy of the creative process. So without further explanation, here is my list.

1. I love to write, especially fiction, and have completed three different manuscripts, but I’ve queried less than five agents. Period. I feel like I’m great at the writing and creating part but not so much about the follow through. Part of that probably stems from low self-esteem and fear of rejection. At the ripe old age of 41 years of age, I think I’m finally ready to face those fears and start submitting.

2. My two front teeth are crooked, and I’m horribly self-conscious about it. There
are times I look at photographs of myself and cringe. My teeth seemed straighter when I was a teenager and I think they have shifted as I’ve gotten older. Braces were simply not in my family’s budget when I was growing up and I didn’t dare ask for them. I’ve considered doing Invisalign but for now we are focusing on putting both our kids through braces. I don’t want them to ever be afraid to smile because of their teeth.

3. I suffer from depression and anxiety. It’s something I’ve had to manage my whole life, and there have definitely been ups and downs. I’ve tried it all, hospitalization when I was in college, therapy, anti-depressants, etc. There’s no magic cure. It just is. I have a wonderful husband and kids who lift me up and show me an amount of unconditional love I could have never imagined, and they are what keeps me going most days. The past year has been a little hard, as I’ve become more anxious than I’ve ever been before and I have one to two nights of insomnia each month related to it. But I get up every morning, go to work, exercise regularly, and practice self-care whenever I can. I do think finding a good therapist is on my horizon because I need something to help curb the anxiety. I refuse to let it rule my life.

4. I love to sing, but I can’t read music. This is pretty much pure laziness on my part. When I was in my high school chorus, I had an instructor who told me I wouldn’t be able to continue singing beyond my sophomore year unless I took sight reading lessons from her over the summer. Because my parents worked and could not drive me to the lessons, I gave up chorus. I still continued to sing on the side, and sing pretty well by ear. I even sing in my church choir now but sometimes get embarrassed because I can’t read music. My 15-year-old daughter, who is a talented musician, said she’ll teach me how to read music this summer if I want her to.

5. I haven’t traveled extensively, and I don’t even have a passport. Growing up, my family focused mostly on traveling to visit family back and forth between North Carolina and Texas, and that was about it. Then, when I went to college, I didn’t have a lot of extra money to travel during the holiday breaks. I went to Mexico on my honeymoon but that is about the extent of my international travel. I’ve only been to a handful of places on my United States bucket list—those include one trip to California and one trip to New York City. Now I find myself the mom of a tween and a teen and I can’t figure out how to make life slow down so we can travel more. We usually do an annual beach vacation somewhere on the East Coast, but I have major wanderlust and hope to do more in the future.

Whew! I thought when I started writing this post I would have a hard time, but it’s amazing how quickly my five things came tumbling out. This is me, pretty much in a nutshell. To some people I may look like I have it all together on the outside, but I’m like everyone else, taking it one day at a time, and using writing as a creative outlet the best way I know how.

What is one thing you’re afraid to share with people? I’d love for you to share your stories in the comments below, anonymous or not.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also blogs at FinishedPages.com. Her short story, “The Name You’re Not Supposed to Call Women,” received an honorable mention in the 2018 Women’s National Book Association Writing Contest, Young Adult Category.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--You are too young to remember Lauren Hutton, but she's an actress and a before that, a famous fashion model. She has a large gap between her two front teeth, and was pressured early in her career to get it permanently taken care of. She refused.

It was her contention that the gap was an integral part of her, it was part of her character, and she made it big WITH her gap.

You already know this: you're fierce, you're talented and you're gorgeous. I have almost 20 years on you, and I've learned: it's the wrinkles and the imperfections and the quirks that make us "us."

Thanks for giving us the link (I loved the story. It is a tale that many people can relate to).

I too suffer from depression. My birth mother and biological grandmother suffered from depression. My birth mother killed herself. My youngest biological half-sister... well, she's another story for another day. (She took mental illness to a whole new level.)

The thing about being brave--like you were in your post--is you make other people feel like they're not alone. None of us are perfect... and the ones who look like they are perfect have been airbrushed and photoshopped.

Great post. And as writers, it's our job to reveal the imperfections of our characters...

4:47 AM  
Blogger J. Glenn said...

Loved your post, and I echo what Sioux says. To your question...the list is long, but the thing I've been thinking about lately is this: I'm book smart but street-stupid. I'm constantly rethinking things I've done, always finding after the fact how I could have done or said something better. Thanks for your brave post.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Nicole Pyles said...

I love this post and your bravery! And you know I haven't travelled much either. West coast mostly and that's it. Some Texas, but that's all.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto.

My anxiety is through the roof currently, and my sleeping is pretty good at the beginning of the night and then I wake up and can't get back to sleep. Also trying all the things you mentioned.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Eric W. Trant said...

Meh on the submitting. I've been published several times, and they don't exactly fly off the shelf like some authors might have you believe, and being accepted, edited and published is just the beginning. Then you gotta pony up and market and all that jazz, and lordy lordy don't it make writing a lot of work for crumbs of royalty.

I have a busted front tooth. It's a crown, now, and slightly whiter than the others, owing to my other teeth being a bit coffee-stained over the years. It also turns black under black lights, where the other teeth glow. In college, they used to make me smile at the clubs and show everyone because it looked like I was missing a tooth.

OCD, ADD, got it all. I don't think anyone these days is undiagnosed with some sort of abbreviation. We all have to be categorized. Fact is, we're no different now than we were 50,000 years ago. The only big difference now is we have toilet paper, modern human's only true contribution.

My wife and daughter are going to Japan this summer. I'm staying home. Travelling is cool and fun, especially overseas, but I don't lament haunting my own woods. The world truly is a small place, with a McDonalds on every corner and the same food sources and whatnot just about everywhere. You may find some local goodies, but for the most part, it's just another trip to a mall these days.

I can't sing, but I can read drum music. Not the other kind of music, though, with notes and what all. I'm a drummer. I hit things. I don't sing. On this note, though, my mom died never having learned to swim. That's a far greater sin than never learning to read music.

- Eric

12:58 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Renee ~ I love this brave post! As you know, I also suffer from depression and anxiety, and have for most of my life. I love to write CNF but I'm also afraid of rejection AND of publication (yes, both!). I hate public speaking and am one of those people who would rather dance naked on a stage than speak in front of an audience. I haven't been to Japan since I was thirteen and miss my relatives but haven't done anything about it. Oh wait, you said one. I have so many! I was going to tell you about some body parts I'm not liking right now, but I'll save that for later. ;)

PS. I see you have a link to your short story in your bio! I'm hopping over to check it out. Congrats on the HM! xo

8:16 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, I hate that you quit your chorus but glad that you sing in your choir, Renee! I can't read music, either, but I love to sing and am in my choir. It's a true blessing for me (even though when my Choir Director says, "Sopranos, let's try that line again again," I know what he REALLY means is, "CATHY, let's try that line again." :-)

Hmmmm...I don't know that I'm afraid to share certain things but I'm not crazy about people knowing my business. (Or probably more accurately, my weaknesses. But I think it was Sioux who said that's why we write. I don't think I ever written anything where I'm not exposing some raw nerve. Cleverly disguised, of course.)

6:16 AM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--I know Lauren Hutton! I always envied her and Cindy Crawford with her mole (I have one on my face I also hate). I wish I could be that self-confident in my looks, but I never have been. I'm also sorry to hear about your birth mother--depression takes too many people far too soon. It's such a difficult thing to treat. Thanks for all the uplifting words, and hopefully the story resonates with many others, too.

J. Glenn--I sometimes feel the opposite. Street smart but can't manage a lick of math or science. It's unfair how much rethinking the things we "could have said or done better" occupies the spaces in our hearts. Thanks for sharing.

Nicole--Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one who still has travel places to check off on her bucket list! I swear sometimes social media is to blame for even making me think about it as much as I do--too many photos of other people's vacations!

Margo--glad to know I'm not alone, and sorry you are experiencing high anxiety right now, too. I never considered myself an anxious person before, but I think I may have been in denial. I definitely have more social anxiety than ever before. All the responsibilities we have and expectations from other people around us can wear you down really quick. The funny thing is that my dogs sleep on the couch in the living room at night. When I can't sleep I'll come out and try to sit with them. They usually give me a look like, "Not again, lady. We're trying to sleep. Get outta here!" Take care of yourself!

Eric, Thanks for taking the pressure off! I finally resigned myself to the fact that I can be a writer but I'll most likely have to keep a day job as well. And my husband feels the same way about you as far as travel. He's a homebody, and gets to travel occasionally for work. so he just wants to chill at home and not spend extra money on vacations. He would be happy in a beach chair at the same beach every single year. We're working on compromising.

Angela, that surprises me that you are also so scared of rejection and publication, considering what you do for everyone here! It never fails to surprise me how many creative people have dealt with depression, etc. It's almost like you can't have one without the other, and it can be maddening.

Cathy, the choir director put me in with the first sopranos because that's where there was a hole, and I have to sing falsetto so often it's not even funny. I can also tell when I hit a wrong note. She'll look down over her reading glasses at our section and say, "Does anyone need to hear that again?" I know she means me, LOL.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Mary Horner said...

Great post, Renee. I suffer from anxiety and for many years was afraid to tell anyone. Now I don't feel shame, but connection to others. Your bravery in admitting your fears is truly admirable.

10:04 PM  

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