As I sit in my hotel room in Dallas, I am beginning to panic. This is a new record for me, I usually reach this state of mind several weeks before I get to Dallas. I'm here for my yearly class work and simulator training. It's a review of things we don't normally do every day - things I hope to make it through my career without having to experience - events like engine fires, failures, evacuations, etc. Usually about two weeks before I get here I start panicking because I haven't been studying. I do everything I can to procrastinate, although in the end I always end up being over prepared. In fact, my house is never as clean as it is the month I have training. This year I'm lucky enough to have someone to clean the house for me, so I've found other things to distract me instead of studying. Mainly writing.
Yesterday I had my first writing class, and now I'm so inspired that it is even harder to stop writing and start studying. It was a strange feeling sitting in the workshop with 5 other writers. Wow, did I just call myself a writer? (I write, therefore I'm a writer, remember?) Anyway, I felt completely out of my element, as all of the other writers in attendance seemed much more accomplished than me. As the day progressed and we worked through exercises, I felt myself getting more blocked with each subsequent task. I was over-thinking and comparing myself to everyone else, instead of just writing. My inner critic was raising it's beastly head with all of the common put-downs. "You can't, you're not good enough, why are you wasting their time, you don't belong here."
There was one comment missing though, the one that normally comes to the front with lightning speed and can snuff out my self confidence in a flash. The fear of wondering what everyone else thought of me was conspicuously absent yesterday, and it was an amazing relief. It appears that all of the spiritual work I have done on myself in the last few months is actually working. While I was hearing my inner critic in one ear, I was able to accept it for what it was and I had a strange sense of peace and calm. I realized that the other people in class weren't there to judge me, but on the contrary, they wanted me to succeed. I also realized that most of the other writers had insecurities of their own, so they certainly weren't concerned about mine.
It is an incredibly liberating feeling to be able to focus on learning and growing, instead of feeling inhibited because I'm worried about how others perceive me. I know that I will get exactly what I need to out of this class, and that it will help me evolve not only as a writer but as an individual. I can't wait to get started on our writing assignment for the next class, but I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. I've procrastinated long enough for today, and now I am really starting to panic. The books are calling me, and the pen will have to wait. But not for long.