On the root of avoidant personality disorder is the fear of rejection or judgment. As for rejections I have the thinnest skin, even well minded criticisms will get to me. In a group discussion I am the one who is never talking. Not just because I am scared to voice my opinion but also those kind of situations are very easily overwhelming. It is too much information churned out too soon. I need time to comprehend, to cut information into chunks for it to make sense and then react. So if somebody puts me in the spot and asks me, “So Jo what is your take on the issue?”, the most effective response I can think of is “I think I have to go pee”.
This is my second innings in the blogosphere. Four years ago in an attempt to come out of the blues I started a baking blog, it started gaining eyeballs very slowly, there were some random likes and comments. But one fine morning I decided to hit the publicize button and shared it to my social media. Now, people were very polite and encouraging. Not a single bad comment came my way. But suddenly I felt naked and vulnerable. I felt the spot light on me and it was scary. Words stopped showing up. The blog was abandoned and it died an inevitable slow death.
There is a cozy little independent book store in town. My friend L owns it and she invites people to share their creative writing pieces once a month. I am always there with a story or a poem scribbled on the pages of my journal. Every time I tell myself I am going to read it out loud but when L asks me ‘Are you going to read Jo?’, I will clutch tightly to the journal and blurt out a ‘No, not this time’. L’s earnest look of encouragement lingers for a moment before she has to proceed to the next person.
Remember sakoku? Isolation might spare you the attacks from outside but it can so viciously eat you from within.
This Saturday evening with shivering hands and a voice that broke too often I read a piece titled which way? Halfway through the reading I wanted a boa constrictor to come and swallow me whole.
It doesn’t matter how it was received, it matters that I showed up, shared and finished and is still breathing.
Creativity can thrive in isolation and you don’t have to share your work . If you don’t want the world to see it then by all means clutch on to it as tight as you can. It can be your little secret, your refuge, your outlet. But what if you want to put it out there? May be you are right, it is very bad art and people are going to hate it, but if it has helped you make sense of this messy life, should it matter if the world thinks its bad?
And, I have a feeling its not as bad as you think it is 😉
So I urge all you thin skinned people out there to ease your clutch on that one piece of art that you are too scared to let go off. If that spotlight is too scary, close your eyes for a bit, reach out, do you feel another trembling set of hands? That is me. Let us hit the spotlights together.