Like the axe murder that just won’t quit, my fear of trying out new things returned this weekend.
But you know what? I’m fighting back.
The weekend started out all the same: the week ended; everyone was tired; and all I wanted to do was be in the garage by myself. However, my body had other plans for me. I mean, I’m not that old (yet), but sometimes my muscles just DGAF and take a vacation.
Long story short, I spent four (that’s right, four) long, beautiful days unable to lift my left arm above my head, angrily pacing and complaining that I had too much to do. Now, I didn’t expect to get much sympathy from my dear beardguy, but I at least was hoping for something. Instead, after helping me apply the sticky pads of the TENS unit to my swollen muscles, he turned around and grounded me from working on my stuff in the garage. Okay, sure, that sounds harsh. A partner telling his beau to take a break, gaddammit is perfectly permittable. But with the way my mind works, and with the way his mind works, he knew that the only way I’d even consider resting my shoulder was to tell me that, under no circumstance, was I to go out into the garage and fiddle with any of my projects.
And this, my dear reader, is how the Fear of Trying New Things came roaring back.
Y’see, after several(ish) successful weeks of diving into something that I’d never done before, I hadn’t allowed myself even one tiny break. Somewhere deep down, I knew that if I stopped, I’d have a helluva time starting back up again. I also had the inkling that I was going to burn out sooner rather than later and needed to slow down, do something else for a change. But ha! I wasn’t going to listen to my body or my instincts, and instead would just plough on through whatever I could before I couldn’t anymore.
Now, you might be wondering what the heck I’ve been doing to hurt myself this badly. And the answer is, it wasn’t anything that I did, per se, but more of what my muscles had been screaming at me and I dutifully ignored. So complaint built upon complaint, and before I knew it, I had a strained shoulder muscle from doing push-ups, of all things.
Anyway, this break from super gluing my fingers together really got on my nerves. I wanted to go out into the garage, dammit. I needed to get to working on my projects. I felt itchy and restless.
And after several days of complaining and whining and grouching at everyone in the house, I finally got to go back out into the garage and get on with my stuff. And you know what? I didn’t know where to start because I was afraid of fucking up.
It’s not like I haven’t messed up something slightly major before on this build. And it’s unlikely that I won’t ever again. But for whatever reason, when I stepped in front of that workbench and turned on the lights, I was paralyzed with thoughts of making mistakes so horrendous that I’d never be allowed to create again. Which, if you didn’t know already, is completely ridiculous; I’m making this shit for myself, there is no deadline or ‘big boss’ pushing me to finish, and any screw-up is totally fixable with a little patience and a lot of glue. There was no reason for the Fear to control me like that. I shouldn’t have felt any guilt about cutting something too small, shouldn’t have cursed myself for getting glue on the cutting mat, shouldn’t have listened to the voice in my head telling me over and over again that I wasn’t good enough, that I should just give up.
And you know what? After a while (too long of a while for my liking), I didn’t. As I stared blankly at the things laid out on my workbench, I began to slowly and deliberately shut out those voices. Even though the voices were a part of me, some essence of my younger self, I refused to hear them out. Nothing they could say right then and there could have stopped me from doing something I’ve grown to enjoy. The pleasure of the build far outweighed the Fear of Trying New Things, and I succeeded in blocking out the negative thoughts and get some actual work done.
Granted, I didn’t get a lot done, as most of my time was spent fighting my Fear monster, but I sure felt a heckuva lot better after I went inside. I guess what I’m trying to impart in my writing today is that ignoring the Fear inside is a lot harder than it sounds, but once it’s been conquered, there is nothing you can’t get done, time allowing.