Unmatched Fear

Every time I go to write, I light a candle. Let me explain. This isn’t a religious ceremony. I’m not trying to zen my room, it isn’t even because I want the room to smell great. I do it because I legit don’t know how to light a candle.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved good smells. I have a very sensitive nose, so anything that smells remotely off, or foul seems almost putrid to me. Because of that, it’s only natural that I love candles. I’ve used normal candles, wax melts, oil emitters. You name it, and if it makes an area smell good I’ve probably tried it. Every year bath and body works has this sale, it’s one Saturday in December. They usually only announce it the day before, but guys, if you go on that day, the candles that are normally over 20$ are under 8, or something ridiculous like that. So on that day I go, and I get 12 candles, one for each month. And each month I get one candle to burn. I can gage how much should be left in the candle just by knowing the day. Guys I’m really cheap, but that’s a topic for another time. 🙂 

So anyway, when it’s time for me to use the candles, I use a lighter. Not the kind that you use if you smoke, the kind that has the loooong handle, and you have to press the button that is at least 6 inches from the flame. That lighter? That’s all me. I’m a pro with that. I’m super confident with my lighting capabilities if you give me one of those bad boys. But if I have a cigarette lighter, forget it. I try to flick the little circle and it doesn’t light. Or if it does light? I drop the whole lighter. If I have a match? It takes me about 20 times to try to get the crazy thing to catch on the striking pad. But even after that happens, and my match is lit, I blow it out. See the issue isn’t the match, the cigarette lighter, or even the flame. The issue is me. When I feel that heat on my finger, the cautious side of me (which is about 98% of my makeup by the way) freaks out. I want to eliminate the threat, eliminate the possibility of danger. The possibility. I do this same thing in my life. I stand in my own way. I eliminate the possibility of danger, but in doing so I’m also eliminating the possibility of success. This is something I’ve just realized.

See? Mark knew!

So jump back to my writing. I made a goal to finish writing a novel. It’s a dream of mine, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do for as long as I can remember. But it scares me. What do I do with it when it’s done? What if no one wants to publish it? What if no one wants to read it? What if it’s a glorious waste of my time? That scares me. I also made a goal to write this blog. I really enjoy writing about the things that I love. But what if no one reads it? What if people do read it but they hate it? How am I even going to get people to read it? What if I pour my heart into this thing and it fails? What if I can’t keep up with it? What if it is a glorious waste of my time? Writing is scary. It’s partially because I’m a wimp, I know that, and I understand that most people probably don’t have this problem. But I do. But there is going to come a day when I say I did; I did have that problem. So I’m working on it. I don’t want to eliminate the danger, which in this instance is failure of rejection, and I surely don’t want to eliminate the possibility of success. 

So this is where the candles come back into play. Before I begin writing I light a candle, with a match. I do it because it scares me, but I know that if I do something that I’m afraid of, and succeed, surely I can do the same thing in other areas of my life, like writing. So today, I walked into my writing room and opened my match box. Here is where I should probably tell you that the matches I have aren’t normal matches, they are long handled matches, but they are still shorter than my handy dandy lighter! Hey, you have to start somewhere.

Anyway, I opened up my box and I struck the match, and it didn’t take. I tried again, nothing. The third time I gave it all I had and……the match broke in half. Ok, that’s fine, I have a box full of matches. I picked out another one. This one caught, but in my excitement, or nervousness, I threw it into the candle, hoping that the wick would know that the flame was near and just work with me a little. That didn’t happen, and I ended up blowing out that match. Two down.

I picked out a new wooden stick and this one was overeager and when it lit, so did the whole wooden stick. It had to go. Now I’m on my forth match and the room is quite smoky at this point, but I still continue. This one goes perfectly, but as I hold it next to the wick that stubborn wick just won’t catch. I mean it’s been at least 5 minutes of me holding this stick, well maybe 1 minute, ok maybe just 5 seconds. I blow it out. But here’s the thing, in those 5 seconds, the match burned me! My index finger got burnt, and it was a little uncomfortable sure, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It actually wasn’t that bad at all. I was still able to blow my match out in time, and my finger was still functioning just fine. I pull out my 5th match, I’m frustrated at this point, and I really don’t want the smoke alarm to wake my napping baby. But mostly, I’m focused. I’ve already been burnt, which was the very thing that I was afraid of, so what did I have left to be scared of? Was the match going to burn me again? So what. I had already survived that. I struck my 5th match, determined that this was going to be the one to get the job done. And it was. I held that match firmly next to the wick. Once the wick caught, I removed the match and blew it out. Success. 

The aftermath

The aftermath consisted of 5 abused matches and a smoky room, but that was ok. Soon my candles fragrance was going to overpower that smoky smell. And like I already said, I have a box full of other matches. This is symbolic, this is a breakthrough. I learned so much from this experience and if I apply those lessons to my writing, I’ll be just fine. No one wants to read it? That’s fine, I’ll just keep writing until someone does. Because one day there is going to be a match #5, and that’s when everything will change. 

So guys, don’t stand in your own way! Keep trying. Twenty years from now, make sure you won’t have to regret the things you never tried. Think about what you’re afraid of, think of the worst possible scenario, and think, is it really that bad? Now in some situations it may be. But for those everyday teeny things? Realize it’s not so bad. Realize that you can do it. As for me? I’m going to keep lighting my matches, and one day, it’s only going to take me one try.

Share those fears you’re going to conquer down below! Accountability makes a difference. We’ve got this!  Have a great day, make life sweet, and learn all you can.

(2) Comments

  1. Jessalyn says:

    Wow! I really identify with this. For years (decades honestly), I avoided candles because I was/am afraid of lighting the darn things. The parallels to other aspects of my life is spot on, too. I love reading your words. You have a gift!

    1. Amie says:

      I really appreciate you saying that. Thank you! Also, I’m so happy that I’m not the only one with the candle issue! They’re really tricky. Haha. It’s scary to open yourself up to getting burned, with matches and in really life. You’re definitely not alone!

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