I hate being late to class so much that I prefer not to attend at all rather than walking in late. On rare occasion, when I’ve found myself hovering outside a class five minutes after it has commenced, I’ve actually left campus instead of walking into the room like a normal person. Somehow, my twisted mind thinks it’s better to skip an entire class period than show up late- it’s better to say, “Hey, I couldn’t make it today.” than, “Yeah, I’m here. But I don’t care enough or respect you enough to make it on time.” This makes no sense, but it’s simply the nature of my anxiety.
I was really late this morning. I was “skipped breakfast, missed the bus, sped a little on the drive to school, flat-out sprinted across the enormous campus” kind of late. My crazed obsession with making it to class on time (I did make it, with two full minutes to spare!) meant that I didn’t even have time to talk myself into my typical Creative Writing-induced terror. Or maybe I was so horrified I went around the bend and actually calmed down.
It was “Read your short stories out loud!!” day in Creative Writing. Given that I abhor sharing, I don’t understand how or why I was so calm. But when my facilitator sat my group down in the middle of the Student Center, surrounded by strangers, and said, “Why don’t you read yours, Lydia?” I didn’t even consider running away. I mean…maybe I considered it for a moment. But only for half a second, I swear! I was relatively certain that I didn’t know any of the folks sitting around us in the Student Center, so even if they overheard our workshopping nonsense it wouldn’t really matter to me, personally.*
So I read.
Reading something you’ve written out loud is always an interesting experience. There’s that moment of, “Oh, yes, I did write this! It’s great!” paired with the feeling of, “Oh, this bit could have been better. A glaring error?! How embarrassing.” and sometimes you have to ask yourself, “Did I really steal that many facts from the lives of my friends??” It seems I appropriated several significant details from my friend Katherine‘s life. (She’s kindly promised not to sue me. She isn’t even requesting alterations!)
Owning your work isn’t nearly as awful as I thought it was going to be. Even when one guy was all, “I really kind of hated this. I couldn’t get into it at all.” my feelings weren’t even a little bit hurt. All I thought was, “Hey, man. That’s cool. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. And you’ve got this tortured artist act going for you, so obviously my humor isn’t what you’re looking for. No, worries.” Seriously. I wasn’t even remotely offended. And here I thought the only reason I didn’t want to share things was because of the risk of rejection. That guy rejected 100% of me, and I didn’t even flinch. Look at that. Who’d have thought?
Sharing is great. Sharing is fun. I don’t know why I was so scared of it. I always talk myself into fits for no good reason.
*As it turns out, someone I know personally was right there, observing the sharing… and I still don’t care. I’m not even embarrassed. Look at how much I’ve grown in the past week! I’ve finally succumbed to my madness. I gave in to my crazy and everything’s been coming up roses.