This May I will be graduating from San Francisco State University with a MFA in Creative Writing. I will be the first in my immediate family to have a graduate degree. I am the 3rd daughter of my mother to receive a Bachelors. To top it all off, most of my family on my Nanay’s side are in the medical field, so I’ve gone in a totally different direction from what I was raised with. So, I’m finishing and starting on a long uncharted journey.
And I am terrified.
There is still a lot of work to do before May; finishing up class work, continue working as a tutor until graduation, continue with TAing for one of the best poets in the Bay Area (my personal opinion because well … dammit just read Diwata!) editing and formatting my final creative project (my 40-56 poem manuscript of Dragon’s Den), applying for jobs, moving out after obtaining a job, balancing all this with loved ones, old and new, etc. All these things-to-do keep me very busy, almost busy enough to forget that I am terrified of what lies beyond the egg shell thin Months of April and May.
Yet, I am some how comforted by this fear.
This fear is familiar.
As a writer, I encounter this fear every time I stare at the blank page. Part of the reason why there are gapes of several months between posts is this fear. Fear of screwing up, fear of failure, fear of not doing justice to the potential and gifts that I have been given. All of these fears are silencing. Damning even.
Then, how do writers, people in general, get over the fear of endings and beginnings?
I can’t answer that in one blog. I am, after all, only one Rosie. However, I do know what works for me. So, here are 5 tips to help you young dragons cope with the fear of breaking free of your little eggs:
1) Perfection is a myth.
This is not to say that everything in the universe is comprised of pure randomized chaos and there is no structure. This is just to say that the idea of ONE PERFECT THING is well wrong. Logically, it is wrong. For instance, there are over 7 billion people on the planet. 7 billion. That’s a lot of humans. Each human has their own belief systems. If one belief system isn’t the same as another does that make that first belief system wrong? Unless you are a bigot, OF COURSE NOT! There are too many ways to do one thing, therefore the “right way” mentality is flawed by the get go.
2) We learn from mistakes
This I learned from experience. Growing up, I pursued the straight A life like it was the only thing keeping me alive. However, I can say this with the utmost honesty: I LEARNED LESS FROM CLASSES THAT GAVE ME A’s. The classes I learned the most in were where I was challenged enough that I hit my head against walls. One of my favorite classes at CAL was my AIDS in Africa class. I got a B in the class, one of the lowest grades I ever got and I remember everything about that class; from the feminist angle the teacher approach the subject to the critique of NGO’s and Western ideology.
3) Others learn from our mistakes
When someone sees you try and even if you fail, the fact that you tried has an effect on the person who witnessed your attempt. Think of all the visionaries of the past. Many died in the attempt to improve the world. Most suffered for their dreams. On their backs, so much have been accomplished. For more on this check out Cosmos.
4) Innovations often come from goof-ups
5) Nothing ventured, nothing earned
If you never try, and fail, (and try again and again into infinity), you will never know your limits AND your strengths.
So, my fellow hatch-lings, it’s time to break open our shells, stretch out our heads and open our eyes to our own potentials!
As always, keep on writing, painting, and creating.