woman at intersection

Writing The Fear Away (And An Excerpt From My Memoir)

I guess I’m afraid, since writing experts attribute procrastination to fear.  In my case it’s due to multiple factors:

-not enough reading (you must be a good reader to be a good writer, they say)

-not enough life experience (see quote by Tim Kreider below)

-what I write sounds silly when I read it (my inner critic causing me to doubt)

 It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.

-Tim Kreider 

As a way to face my fear, here I give you an excerpt from my book:

My birthday was close. As September 3rd approached, I worried I wouldn’t be able to celebrate with friends and family.

“I want to go home. I, I shouldn’t be here,” I told a med tech at the nurse’s station. “How long do I have til I can go?”

“Katherine, you can go when the doctor says.”

I felt my stomach turn. What if days turned into weeks? This could be an undetermined amount of time. I signed an open-ended agreement. Could they take away my right to leave?

I put on my best act to keep my nervousness at bay.

“Isn’t there something I can do, I mean, I voluntarily admitted myself.”

“Aren’t you Baker Acted?” the man asked.

Baker Acted? What was that?

I had to think fast.

“Not to my knowledge,” I said.

He looked at me for a moment and reached for a binder in front of him. He flipped it open to a section, unclasped the rings and pulled out a paper.

“Fill this completely out. Sign on the x’s,” he handed me the paper on a clipboard and pen.

“Thank you.” I was going places now.

I sat in the common room and crossed my legs in a green chair. Ten minutes later I returned the paper to him. The burden was lifted from my shoulders, I breathed a sigh of relief and walked away.

Within 24 hours of signing the release form, and now going on four days of no sleep, I was pacing the hall and wringing my hands. The anxiety seemed to grip my mind tighter and now I could feel a tension in my temples. I had to leave at some point. If I didn’t go home by my birthday, my friends and family would miss out. I wanted a celebration. Turning 25 was a big deal, wasn’t it? I had my party all planned out. I was inviting at least a dozen friends and already started working on invitations before I got here.

I approached the man behind the counter and breathed deep.

“I gotta go home. It’s my birthday tomorrow, I’m having my friends over and everything.”

He looked at me.

“Am I going to be able to? I have been here for four days.”

“Yes, Katherine. You’ll have a party. All your family and friends will be there,” he said. I turned away in disgust. He was lying.

This place blows.

The pressure in my temples now inflamed my mind. I felt like I was running a fever. My arms were shaking and the clocks on the walls told me two different times and I was tired and fatigued but I needed to stay awake so that they couldn’t reboot my brain and I needed to just get out of here. What were they doing to me?




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