I have respect for my fears. Over the years, I’ve recognized that when I have second thoughts, hesitations, or some anxiety about a decision I’ve made, it is wise to take a little time to investigate where that apprehension originates from.
I am familiar with the acronym for fear that goes like this; false events appearing real. We can all imagine the worst case scenario of any circumstance. Yet, fear does not always fall under the category of false events. Sometimes our fears are valid and can reveal the truth.
For instance, before I sent my manuscript off to the publisher, my biggest apprehension was, what will my siblings think of this? Though frightened by the thought, I was not paralyzed it. Instead, wanting my story to be accurate, whenever possible, I would ask my siblings for their perspective concerning some of my memories. Asking them to validate certain images from the past, opened up an avenue for conversations that might not have otherwise taken place.
During one such conversation, one of my sisters asked, “Have you considered that some of us may not want to be identified by our real names in your story?”
I’d never thought about that before and without having considered what my siblings might think of my story, I would not have been open to her statement.
As a result, I emailed each sibling asking their permission to put their names in my book. Three of them opted for a fictitious name and one said that I could use his real name as long as I did not portray him as Darth Vader.
It is a delicate endeavor to write a book that includes members of one’s family. Even though the story was told from my perspective, each of my siblings had major and minor roles in the narrative. My fear, wondering what they might think, was a healthy one that caused me to pause, and consider them and not just myself.
As a result of respecting their preference for name change and not portraying anyone as an evil character, my siblings, who have read the book, have had nothing but good comments, and interesting questions. Conversations with them have deepened and my relationships with them have grown to a new level.
Why bother considering our fears? We just never know what might nurture or diminish a relationship and considering what we fear can remind us to proceed with caution and respect.