December 3, 2013

What The Gingerbread Boy Taught Me About Fear

Here is the thing.  I'm no writer.  Writing doesn't come easily to me.  

Just in case you don't know me in person, English is my second language, Japanese being my first.  My husband would tell you I speak like "a Japanese girl with a Yankee accent."  I have no idea what that sounds like but it must sound kinda funny.  

Every day, I read books to my boys in my Japanese Yankee accent.  But they don't seem to mind.  They might actually like the sound of it since it's their mother's voice. 

Speaking up in public, especially in front of strangers, is not an easy task for me either.  I get so self-conscious and my hands would start sweating like crazy.  So I usually keep quiet, and pretend I’m an introverted person, which I am not.  

It took me a lot of courage to speak up At the Barn, with a room full of strangers.  But with the 80 kind souls intently listening to one another, I knew it was the right place for me to face my fear and just be myself.  With the sweaty hands and shaky voice, I opened up myself and shared everything I kept inside for a long time: my fears, hopes, and dreams. 

When I started writing this post, I had something different in mind.  I had the general outline already made and was inspired to write.  But I couldn’t.  I was so scared to write.  I was afraid that I couldn’t express what I really wanted.  I was afraid that I would sound stupid. 

I told myself I don't have time for all this.  I have the laundry to do and the piles of dishes in the sink are waiting to be washed. 

My fear came back to me, gently knocking on the door to the basement
“Hello Yuko, can we be friends again?”
No, I don’t want to.  So I cried a little and decided to move forward.  

I can do this...can't I?

My older son throws a fit while we try to bake gingerbread cookies.  He says he wants to cut out a star shape but he doesn’t want to make any mistakes.   
"What’s wrong with making mistakes? My husband asks him. 
We tell him, it’s okay to make mistakes.  It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

The fear of making mistakes – perfectionism.  The thing notorious for ruining every piece of joy we have.  It will take the spark out of your life if you let it.  I guess the boy and I were struggling with the same problem: We wanted things to be so perfect that we were afraid of making any mistakes.  The boy wanted his gingerbread cookie to be a flawless star.  I wanted my writing on this post to be perfect, and that thought paralyzed me.  

“Run! Run! Run!
Catch me if you can!
You can’t catch me. 
I’m the Gingerbread Boy,
I am! I am!
I’ve run away from a little old woman,
I’ve run away from a little old man,
I’ve run away from a cow,
I’ve run away from a horse,
I’ve run away from a barn full of threshers,
I’ve run away from a field full of mowers,
And I can run away from you,
I can! I can!”

The Gingerbread Boy runs for his life, so he won't get eaten.  

But what if he is actually running away from his fears.  He outruns his fears so cheerfully that he doesn't even know what he is running away from.  Don't we all do the same?  Running away from our fears and we don't even know it. 

Then what happens in the end?  The clever fox comes out, outsmarts the Gingerbread Boy and gobbles him up. 

I don't want to be that Gingerbread Boy.  I don't want my ultimate, deadly fear to eat me up.  So I take one deep breath and sit in front of the computer.  

I can do this...

This Tuesday morning, just me and my computer, typing my fear away.  It is scary and liberating at the same time.  I see hope in distance, shining through the fog of fear. 

** excerpt from The Gingerbread Boy, by Paul Galdone (Clarion Books) 


Today, I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at chatting at the sky for her Tuesdays Unwrapped series.  


  1. Well, this is just gorgeous. You are a writer, even if you don't know it yet:)

  2. Thanks Kimberly! Your comment means so much to me ox

  3. Loving This!

    1. Thanks Aunt Cindy! Hope you'll come back for more :)

  4. What Kimberly said. Don't be afraid to write. I find that my best writing is when I write from my soul and share the scary stuff - when I'm being totally honest. You are building heart stories one word at a time. Keep building - I enjoy reading your words.

    1. Honesty was the only thing I could offer today, and I just did that :) It was scary. Thank you, Teresa, for giving me the "gift" of advice and encouragement! I'll keep on writing... ox

  5. How lovely. I know just what you mean. I am full of fear a lot of the time over so many things. God has slowly been stripping it away asking me to trust in a big way. I constantly get writer's block because of fear.

    1. Thank you for sharing this! Yes, trusting Him is the only way I can tame my fear and move forward :)

  6. This is the second post I've read about fear today (the first was by Serenity Bohon and is lovely. I encourage you to look for it!). Thank you for this.

    1. Thank you Caroline! I'll check out that blog :)

  7. Oh my goodness this was so inspirational...welcome to blogland!

    1. Thank you Lili! Hope you'll come back for more :)


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