How is it that one word can be so crippling? So manipulative and paralyzing?
For a lot of my life, I’ve allowed this big bully to push me around. As a child, you could say I had a slew of irrational fears. For instance: getting my school picture taken.
My family still has no idea what it was about sitting in front of a camera that made me all puffy eyed, but for the first three years of elementary school the water works would start the minute we had to line up for pictures. Though the photographer gave me my choice of stuffed animals to hug, I would always come home with an adorably sad picture of myself posed sweetly against a pastel backdrop, complete with red eyes.
Example No. 2: I was terrified of Pluto at Disney World. But come on. Who wouldn’t be scared of a freakishly big yellow dog lumbering towards you at the “happiest place on earth?” Honestly, it was the last thing I expected. We also went to a special breakfast with all the Disney villains on that trip, and I don’t remember being nearly as scared. Then again, I think the tears that time had something to do with getting a picture with Pluto… Sensing a pattern?
Looking back on this, it actually makes so much more sense now that I’m an introverted writer. Of course, I hated being in front of the camera! I hated attention. I hated being called out in class. I used to pray that I’d lose my voice so I wouldn’t have to answer the teacher when called upon. People, we’re talking that level of introversion.
When I got to middle school, it was no different. I’d finally mastered school pictures, but I was horrified of being the dumb one in my seventh grade Advanced American History class. My parents actually had to drag me to a meeting with the teacher so he could convince me that I would not, in fact, be required to recite the Gettysberg Address on the first day.
The reason for this overruling fear was due to my diagnosis of CDS (Chronic Daydream Syndrome). Seriously. It was like, Walter-Mitt-style daydreams. My attention was constantly divided between my school lessons and the worlds I built in my own head. I would snap back to reality and realize I’d missed something. And that was scary.
But nevertheless, I had developed a pattern. A pattern of fear.
During college I remember someone telling me I had a problem with control. They didn’t even know me, but man, were they right. Control, or the need to control your circumstances, is wholly driven by fear and a distrust of everyone besides yourself. God has been teaching me this lesson for years, but last year, it finally sank in.
Every single one of my biggest fears hit in basically the same year. I’d been working in digital marketing. It was a job that I was incredibly grateful for and that was teaching me a lot, but I knew it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing here in Hollywood. All year, I felt God’s whisper: “Alyson, you can’t hide out here forever. I didn’t call you to this.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what God was calling me to, but I knew it was writing, and I knew it was film and TV. I was just too scared to take the plunge.
I reached a point last year where I realized I wasn’t living. I was simply deflecting possible negative situations and waiting for earthquakes to happen instead of doing what I could with the time I had. Fear had worked it’s way up the ladder of importance in my life until the point where I couldn’t see around it. What was the end goal? Why did I move to Los Angeles? Why was I working at something I didn’t love? Why was I answering to Fear’s every beck and call?
After coming face to face with my biggest fears last year (unemployment, rejection, bedbugs, and nightmares, to name a few), I realized that as a Christian, God instructs me not to fear. He says over and over in His word “Do not fear.” That, to me, means that it is possible!
Honestly, it is! You can totally tell fear to go jump off a bridge. You should do it; it’ll make you feel better. The truth is you decide how much influence fear has over your life. No one else. It’s a choice, and for this year, I am saying no to fear, and yes to making the most of the moment at hand.
For me that means writing for TV. What does it mean for you?
Alyson McHargue is a volunteer for The Greenhouse and writes for The Greenhouse Journal. She’s a native Texan, adopted Tennessean, and adjusting Californian who drinks a lot of coffee. Is it such a bad thing that a late night cup o’ joe no longer keeps her up? She love to write about her experiences – crazy and mundane – of living in Hollywood and hopes that through them, God’s grand sense of humor and immense love for us would be revealed.
Check out Alyson’s blog, Quarter Life Vices.
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