The things that scare me have changed over the years. I'm assuming that's true for most of us. I've got some constants, sure, like spiders and snakes and rodents and ghosts (some, not all!), but those probably don't make me top ten list these days, nor do they generally consume much of my thought process. Okay, the other day while walking the dog I somehow got bitten by what I assume was a spider and the huge red splotch gave me some momentary loop of "Hey maybe it was a brown recluse. Remember that teacher I used to work with who got bitten by a brown recluse and had to have a chunk of her leg dug out? Is it that? Are there red streaks? Should I do something? Is this tube of cortisone cream expired?"
But mostly, I worry about other, more complicated and harder to avoid things. (I couldn't even avoid the spider because I never saw him. But I digress)
What scares me when I let it? A list of the top four, in no particular order:
1. I'm scared that I won't sell another book, that the ideas will dry up, my 'it girl' factor-- limited as it may be--will blow away, my agent and editors will just keep saying no, no, no. This is not a constant worry, but lately as it's been taking me a verrrry long time to finish this one project, it is one of those things that gets my brain all swirly in the middle of the night. Returning to a part time day job has helped take the pressure off-- as Elizabeth Gilbert promised it would in Big Magic-- but I still worry about this, worry the usual author fear that everyone will discover that I'm just a fraud and not talented at all or whatever, and that worry is scary.
2. As a thyroid cancer survivor, I am sometimes afraid that the disease will return. This happens, I know. And disease doesn't discriminate. It came the first time just as I had hit a larger sort of success with my debut and so yeah, I worry about that and that worry is scary.
3. I'm afraid of the societal and political ugliness that seems larger these days. I don't know if it really is larger but certainly the conversation has gotten less civil and the causes are complex and the things I suddenly know about how some of the people in my life feel about issues also scares me. A lot.
4. I'm scared of random things happening randomly. Just last week, there was a mass shooting only blocks from where I work. A lawyer went crazy and went out to the street in his neighborhood and started shooting people on their way to work/Starbucks/the gym. At least nine people were injured, a couple very seriously. I'm also scared that because no one was killed, the news cycle moved on very quickly from this.
What are you afraid of?