a letter about fear

I’ve been writing letters to myself first thing in the morning for the last two weeks.

This is something which came out of a conversation about an exciting upcoming project with – and the feeling that writing a letter every day to anyone, including oneself, could be transformative.

The letters are quite personal, as you may imagine. They are mostly about my work, and are powerful in places, rambling and unexpected in other places. Reading them back to myself it seems like a gift, giving me a whole clear pathway for my work.

The first letter was about fear. I share it because fear and courage are a real part of work – and in case it helps :


Dear Sian

What is it that you are afraid of? Is it that you are afraid of admitting what it is that you are afraid of? Of writing it down? Well let’s write it down then. Go there.

Afraid of having nothing to show for myself.

Afraid of expressing myself imperfectly.

Afraid of being unsophisticated, stupid, wrong. Of being seen and exposed as such.

[Like the time when …]

Am I afraid of the breadth of my interest, that I hold so many disparate threads, that they cannot be reconciled, do not fit together? Yes I am afraid of that. That what I do does not tend in a direction. That what I hold is a shapeless heap. That it is beyond me to give it cohesion. And of course this is true. Even Sherlock Holmes has cases which he cannot solve, resolve; and he does not exist.

But again this is because I tend to feel that what I do does not have value, is not good enough – if it does not end in finality, in a conclusion… I want to believe that I will find something out. Reveal truth. And the truth that I do reveal is not a bright mountain; it is small, dim, partial, multiple, changing. […]

Meanwhile, I’ll remind myelf that the best I can do, the only thing I can do, is to show up, to claim the right to exist, to be good enough. Every day. Do one small thing.

Yours truthfully

Sian “

2 replies on “a letter about fear”

Beautifully written, Sian. And expressing feelings that are far more universal than you probably think. Thank you.


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