“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve been re-reading (and hoping to actually finish) Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and it has me thinking a lot about my own book. Not only do we both use some of the same language, but the ideas she hits on make me realize part of why I’ve been putting off actually editing the book for so long.
Fear. Shame. Unworthiness.
It seems laughable, even to me, when you look at the title of my book: Worthy. What I love about Daring Greatly is that Brené quickly admits she doesn’t have all the answers. She provides some map to it all, but she too is a traveler on this journey, and I feel the same.
I don’t feel worthy to write a book. I know that seems silly since I’ve already written and published a book, but going back into it, daring to be that vulnerable – and even more vulnerable – again sounds downright terrifying. Before I was just writing about me, my life – it didn’t really involve anyone else. As I think through what I want to add to the book, the biggest things I want to touch on are how Satan attacks women in their roles as wife and mother. When I first wrote the book I was single, so I had no room, no experience to talk about how Satan attacks wives and mothers. Now I do.
Writing the chapters on how Satan attacks us as women was a dark time. I wrote those four chapters in a matter of two weeks. I powered through them because putting myself in a place to discover what Satan was after was a dark, spiritually challenging time. But to open myself, my marriage, my motherhood up to that again? My goodness, what am I, crazy? Unworthy.
Fixing the book up brings about shame. Shame that I missed typos and silly things the first time around. Shame at the ways I’m still failing – at times on a daily basis – to live out the things I write about in my book. How dare I write about these things when I can’t even live them out myself? Brené would call these my shame tapes, and they play mercilessly in my head whenever I sit down to work on the book. Why didn’t you get it right the first time? Who are you to write about this now when you are failing so miserably as a woman? You are not worthy to write, to publish a book. Might as well just leave the first version out there for everyone, don’t embarrass yourself any more.
What if this next edition is worse than the first? What if it flops? What if people hate it? What if I give it to my husband to proof (because he was an English major and helps make my writing so much better than I can on my own) and he thinks its hogwash or that I should just start all over? What if I share my heart and soul, my struggles to be seen as worthy as a wife and mother, and I’m rejected? Ridiculed? Even by those closest to me? What then? Can I go to my room and hide, and burn every copy ever printed?
The shame. The fear. The sense of being unworthy. It is all there, but the more I read Daring Greatly, the more convinced I am that I need to dive into the arena, to conquer the fear and write anyway. I’ll never know until I try, right?