The power of writing down your fears

21 Nov

They’re real.
You have to deal with it.
They’re less scary.
It’s a relief and freeing.
They have less power.

These are some responses I heard when I asked participants to write out one of their fears in a recent spoken word poetry workshop. I hadn’t planned on doing this exercise, but it seemed fitting with how the discussions were going.

We were talking about the writing process and many people said they have many thoughts running through their heads, but rarely get them on paper. Some said their words never sounded very good on paper, while others were too afraid to acknowledge their thoughts and fears.

If they wrote down their fears, they would be real.

I suggested to the group they should write down one fear and put it in a hat. We could anonymously read them out loud or leave them in the hat. They opted for the second option.

After I collected the pieces of paper, some people said it wasn’t as scary as they thought it would be. One participant said it was a relief and she felt the freedom to share her fear with the group.

Another person said they wrote down the same fear. With her act of courage, a sense of connection was made and others  knew they weren’t alone in their experiences.

This activity really opened up the space and it was one of those beautiful moments you can never plan for. There was a sense of relief and release in the room, even if the fears weren’t read out loud.

Their worries were out there and it was powerful even if no one read them.

I was reminded of my fears and how I used to allow my worries to control me. It was paralyzing and lonely, and I believed I was the only one going through these experiences.

I’ve found so much healing and release by writing down my fears in my journals, poetry and songs, even if I was the only one reading them. Although writing made my fears real and I eventually had to deal with them, somehow my worries had less power over me.

Then, I moved to speaking my fears out loud. This was absolutely petrifying, but extremely powerful to regain my voice in many areas of my life. My fears had less power and control over me when I spoke them out loud, and I realized I wasn’t alone in my experiences.

Beautiful connections and community could be made.

Last year, I wrote a post about walking in the direction of our fears. Believe me, I know and understand how scary this act can be. But there’s potential to know we’re not the only ones who are going through these fears, uncertainties and experiences. We don’t have to walk this journey alone.

Sometimes you need a friend's helping hand. (Maria Arseniuk)

Sometimes you need a friend’s helping hand. (Maria Arseniuk)

Perhaps you’re going through some difficult experiences right now. Maybe your concerns are controlling you and you’re too afraid to tell anyone.

Try writing down one of your fears, and see what happens and how you feel in the process. You don’t even have to tell anyone, but there’s power and a sense of relief in knowing these thoughts are out there.


I also have some upcoming poetry shows and performances I’d like to share with you.

Tues. Nov. 26: Words to Live By poetry show feat. Brandon Wint at Pressed Cafe.
Wed. Nov. 27: Elimination of Violence Against Women poetry show at Carleton University. All proceeds go towards the women’s shelter, Interval House.
Fri. Dec. 6: I’ll be singing at the Dec. 6 vigil to commemorate all the women from our community who have been harmed or murdered over the year, as well as the 14 women of the Montreal massacre who died at the École Polytechnique in 1989.  The vigil will take place at the Women’s Monument at Minto Park.


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