Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What, I have to admit to being insecure?

I didn't realize how difficult it would be for me to come up for topics each month for the Insecure Writer's Posts. After all, insecurity and anxiety are a way of life for me and always have been.


My entire life-- at least since kindergarten when I told my mom if I got sick to not pray for me to get well since I wanted to die and not have to go to school--I've dealt with my fears in a specific way. By either denying they exist to take away their power, or facing them head on before they get me down.

So the first Wednesday of the month comes around and I think, What? I'm supposed to sit here calmly and confess to my insecurities all matter of factly, like it's some normal thing?

Honestly, Insecure Writer Wednesday freaks me out every time. It's like having to go to the dentist. Or to the doctor for a physical. I'm even anxious about getting a pedicure. What if they take too long? Ask too many personal questions? How much should I tip? What if I don't want to tip? And don't even mention when I need a hair cut.

I think about Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. She played the character brilliantly, an absolute mess of anxieties and insecurities and unreasonable fears. We all loved her and the role earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress while catapulting her career to superstar status.


If I could play insecure like Diane Keaton played Annie Hall, then it would be great. People would love me and take care of me and throw money at me and everyone would want to be my friend. Woody Allen is the same. He's so adorably neurotic people have been in love with him and throwing money at him for decades, even when he had an affair then married his adopted daughter.

"She was Mia's adopted daughter," he said, pushing up his glasses. Oh, right, people said, here's a million dollars.

When I feel anxious, I turn to stone. I freeze, most likely with a scowl on my face. If I do talk, it'll be something inappropriate blurted out at the wrong moment, making people back away. I can't do adorably intelligent neurotic like Diane Keaton or Woody Allen. My insecure is "Whoa, what's wrong with this woman??"

So well, it's the first Wednesday of the month, la di da, la, la, la di da, well, let's see...here's my granddaughter...

She looks a lot like me at that age except she's afraid of nothing and everyone loves her and wants to take care of her and be her friend. I bet she's going to love kindergarten.


38 comments:

  1. Your grand daughter looks adorable. What have you got to feel insecure about?

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    1. Denise, Nothing really but who says it makes any sense?

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  2. Now I just want to throw money at you and make you feel better...

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  3. Inappropriate? I do the same thing, sort of. When I'm nervous and insecure I laugh. It's horrible because I can't seem to stop that.

    I find it hard to think of new stuff to say on IWSG too. The insecurities don't change, they just hit stronger or lighter. At least we keep putting ourselves out there. That's got to count for something.

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    1. Charity. Laughing is better than scowling. I bet people love you for it.

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  4. You're just like your character in your book. Afraid of everything.

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    1. Diane, Pretty much except for Helena took it farther and was more crippled by her fears.

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  5. Karen, look at the life you've created with all the anxiety and fear!!!

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    1. That is a beautiful thought, Karen, thank you. I guess anxiety and fear really have been my friends, I guess.

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  6. It must have been a rough way to grow up, feeling so insecure about everything. I had insecurities about some things but others I felt pretty confident at. I tried to raise my children to not be as shy as me.
    Susan Says

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    1. Susan, I was always shy but for some reason feel typically more anxious than shy. It's good that you raised your children to be more outgoing. I'm not sure if I did or not with my kids.

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  7. I'm not either an enduring anxiety-wrecked person. I freak people out and I push people away. Relationships are hard for me, but I'm trying hard to at least be semi-normal because I don't want my kiddo growing up around that crap (like I was with my mother - and still do). Insecurities suck. :/

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    1. Madilyn, I think I freak people out and tend to push them away too. Good description of us un-adorable neurotics. If I try to smile while anxious I think it freaks them out even more,

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    2. Don't even get me started on the smiling thing, haha .. People think there's something wrong or that I'm angry. It's ridiculous :(

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  8. Anxiety is part of me, but I can move on. It does amaze me how kids can dive into any project. My 10.5 yr. old gr-daughter showed me how to edit my Skype profile, and much more. No insecurity there.

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    1. Susan, I often wonder if it's a part of how we are raised or just an innate personality trait. My little granddaughter has never met a stranger. And she's only 2 so I think her nature just came with her as part of the adorable package that is Emree.

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  9. I'm not sure I was ever fearless, even when I was your granddaughter's age. I'm learning and trying to not let anxiety and insecurity hold me back as much as I've already let it. It's not easy but I think it will be worth it.

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    1. Madeline, I've never been fearless regarding social situations, but other things that didn't involve dealing with people, I think have been easier for me.

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  10. I suffer from foot in mouth disease and my hubby has it worse than me. I was angst ridden when in school partly because of the constant bullying but also fear that I would not do well or they will pick me to actually do something. Now as for your cute granddaughter-she looks like a real trouper!

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  11. I think that's a great way to sidestep anxieties: concentrate on something beautiful like your granddaughter! Bravissima!
    (and now I'm off to write that review. I loved that book!)

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  12. I thought I was the only one insecure about the insecure group. I also love the raw honesty in this post. I hear ya...I feel ya...hang in there!

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  13. That's a really interesting point about insecurity and likability. We all remember that flaws are endearing when we write our characters but then we expect ourselves to be perfect. I like the idea of proudly admitting that we are insecure and wearing our flaws as a badge of honor rather than shame.

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  14. Ah insecure about the insecure post. Makes sense to me.

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  15. I've wondered how many other writers in this group have trouble coming up with a topic. I have. Your granddaughter is adorable.

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  16. Hi, Karen,

    It's amazing how well you KNOW YOURSELF.... There's so much to be said for that. At least you're not insecure about that aspect of your life.

    LOVE Diane Keaton.... Woody Allen annoys the hell out of him. I don't find him endearing at all...

    You're a lot stronger than you think. Look what you've done. Picked up and moved to another land. How cool is that? Nothing insecure about that decision.... Maybe some fears, but you WENT FOR IT! And isn't that all any of us can do?

    Life is full of obstacles and how we handle them builds our character. And you, Dear Karen, have LOTS Of CHARACTER.... From this you can draw from your experiences and "insecurities" to be the writer you are...INSIGHT is a powerful ally.

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  17. LOL I loved how you dealt with this topic. Funny thing, when I saw you were going to write on it I thought you are the wrong person. You seem to me like you have it all together all the time!! I'm the one that should have written this!! I fear EVERYTHING!!! :)

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  18. I had a terrible time finding a specific office in our town hall this morning. After asking at three different desks and having to be buzzed through a security door, I was so frazzled that when the lady at the desk asked if I were her next door neighbor I could hardly say, "Yes I am." She probably thought I was nuts. Oh well. Annie Hall is fantastic.

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  19. I had a terrible time finding a specific office in our town hall this morning. After asking at three different desks and having to be buzzed through a security door, I was so frazzled that when the lady at the desk asked if I were her next door neighbor I could hardly say, "Yes I am." She probably thought I was nuts. Oh well. Annie Hall is fantastic.

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  20. i can't say i love woody allen, but i do love his quirky movies and diane keaton!
    i think we need a balance of fear and courage - too much of either will make our lives miserable, but fear can keep us from doing stupid things sometimes and bravery can help us get through necessary evils. i guess that makes you and your granddaughter a perfect pair - and it also gave me an idea for a short story!
    thanks! and happy july!

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    1. Tara, Glad to inspire your creativity and good luck with that story!

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  21. Being charmingly insecure is a kind of affectation, but it is much easier to be around than the biting or pained kind. Woody Allen and other entertainers externalize our inners in such a palatable way, we are grateful to them for it. But no one should (or should have) thought of them as Rabbis.

    Your granddaughter is lovely.

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  22. I'll be the first to admit that I'm totally anxious and insecure. For sure. But when others admit that they feel this way (as you did), I don't think any less of them. In fact, I feel more connected to others who show that they're human and flawed. But when I'm feeling insecure, of course I think the opposite -- that others must dislike me for whatever reason. It's strange.

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  23. Karen, you are a wonderful writer. I loved your book Afraid of Everything. Most people are afraid of something or insecure about many things. I was very insecure about attending college as a mother of 5. I wasn't sure if I was smart enough to succeed. I agree with everyone else. Your granddaughter is beautiful!

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  24. I think all of us feel that way to a certain degree...and it doesn't change once you're published, really. You assume you'll just magically gain confidence, but that isn't how it works.

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    1. Stephanie, I found the insecurities doubled and tripled after I got published!

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