Monday, September 8, 2008

A World Removed

So for the past seven days, I've been dreading and agonizing over one thing: my first workshop. I didn't realize how big a burden these feelings of worry and anxiety were, or how they had settled comfortably between my shoulder blades, until both floated away when I finally sat down in workshop class today. I don't know why, but the moment I was in the classroom I felt comfortable. The fear was magically gone. I felt lighter.

I have come to realize that I am in my head too much, which is not a new epiphany. This (workshop or MFA program, probably both) isn't as big a deal as I've been making it out to be. I think I've made myself sick (ie: my cold) over worrying about whether or not I'm in the right place (MFA program) or if I "deserve" to be here. I've been feeling so alone in my anxiety because no one else is talking about it. And who would? It would require a level of vulnerability and trust--and it takes me a bit to trust people, so I don't come right out and say "Hey, I'm feeling a bit unworthy." Of course anyone who reads this blog will know about my insecurities, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Part of me liked the idea of writing somewhat anonymously--it let me be more real. I'm worried that some of that will change now.

So, for the past few days, since classes started, I've felt myself shrinking--the weight on my back growing heavier and heavier. It sometimes felt like there were a million little Tanyas running around inside me screaming. Parts of this solitary confinement began to chip away as I talked with some of my peers and saw that they too may be feeling certain apprehensions about this whole process (or did when they started). I don't know why I've been operating under the assumption that people enter these programs knowing everything there is to know about writing, but I have and it's made things worse for me. Plus... everyone seems to be wearing their confident shoes. Confident in their writing and reading. My shoes are full of holes and have worn soles. Everyone seems so put together and knows so much more about literary fiction while I'm constantly jotting down authors and stories that I "should" have read a long time ago; feeling inept at communicating why something is good or bad. People either know what they're talking about, are good at B.S.ing, or are just as nervous as I am to stand so vulnerably before them. They just hide it better than me.

I don't know... I guess I need to process this more. All I know is that I feel a bit more secure after workshop today. I guess it's just me giving in to the idea that I am a beginning writer, although I've been writing stories since I was nine. I am a beginner--so I suppose it's okay that I don't know everything yet. I'm here to learn everything I can about writing. I just wish it wasn't so overwhelming at times.

Oh... and I volunteered to have a story ready to workshop in two weeks. It's due next Monday. I guess this will motivate me to start (and hopefully keep) writing. I have no stories to fall back on so I'll have to write something new--or use my application story, I suppose. I'm going to try to write something new though.

1 comment:

Margosita said...

I think everyone is nervous for their first workshop. If they look confident, look closer. Their shoes have holes, too. They're just patched up with a little black tape. It'll peel away if it rains.

I'm glad to hear that getting in the room helped some! Also, volunteering wasn't a bad plan. I did and survived. I'm sure you'll be fine, too. You'll sit and be silent and everyone will talk about you and the beauty of that is that even if you feel unworthy, chances are they'll still be mostly kind and you never have to respond.

Being vulnerable is hard. But you made in through that car trip with your dad, so surely you can make it through a workshop, right? :)

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