Growing up, my mom loved Stephen King and horror movies. I quickly grew to love both of these things as well. Whenever we went to the local video store – VHS! – I would head right to the horror section to see which movie looked the most terrifying. The old school Freddy Krueger and Friday the 13th are still some of my favorites. And I am still a sucker for a good vampire or zombie movie – I seriously cannot get enough of those! There were times that those movies kept me up at night, afraid to get out of bed but to me, that simply meant that they were awesome! I mean, that’s the point of a scary movie, right? To be scared? To add a little fear to your life…one that you know you can walk away from when the credits come on?

But what about the fear you have as an adult? The fear that comes with following your dreams? Fear of the future? Fear of the unknown? Fear of rejection?

Knowing how much I love to write, my mom bought me a membership to a writer’s organization for my birthday. I was instantly thrilled and have been trying to learn the ins and outs of it for the last month. This particular organization has a local chapter and that local chapter is having a workshop this summer. I’ve been contemplating whether or not to go. It is an incredible opportunity to branch out of my comfort zone and meet people who are doing what I want to do – what I dream about doing! It’s a chance to learn what the steps are to becoming a published writer. It’s a place that I can talk about writing as if it were the only thing that mattered in life – because at the workshop, it will be.

But as an aspiring writer, I am filled with fear. I fear that I am not good enough. I fear that my writing isn’t good enough. I fear that I will be an outcast. I fear that I will be the only unpublished writer there. I fear that I am not creative enough. I fear that I will be too scared to talk to anyone. I fear that I will leave more afraid than I am now.

Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can consume you and tear you apart. It can take over your rational thinking and fill your head with doubt.

I had mentioned to Joe a while back that I was interested in this workshop but wasn’t sure if it was something that I should do or not. This past week, I received a flyer in the mail reminding me that the workshop deadline was coming to preregister for the event. I stuck it in my book to bring it with me to look at during treatment today but forgot about it until Joe picked it up when we arrived. Looking it over, he started asking me which portion of the workshop I was considering and whether or not I wanted to do a professional critique. We chatted about it a little and I made comments about how I will hopefully be ready to go next year. I have a draft written for a children’s book that I’ve been working on for a while now and someday I’d like to try and get it published (or at least have an editor look at it and tell me if it’s the worst thing they’ve ever read).

Next thing I knew, I was registered. For Mother’s Day, my sweet husband signed me up for one of the workshops and a professional critique of my writing. Wait, what?!

Remember that fear that I was talking about earlier? Well, it’s time for me to put it aside. Tonight, I hit send. I sent my children’s book out into the world to land in the inbox of a professional to critique it for me. When the workshop comes, I will sit down with them and they will tell me what works and what doesn’t.

Am I still afraid? Oh, yes. Yes, I sure am. But regardless of this fear, I will walk away from this stronger and more determined than ever.

My story

My story  050616

Today’s treatment activities brought three separate appointments throughout the day. Each one of them ran longer than usual, which left me with some time to read. I love love love to read but it has not been something that I have been doing regularly recently. I love getting lost in a story, becoming one with the character and not being able to put down that book. As we all know too well though, life can become a little crazy and certain hobbies fall to the side while you try to accomplish everything life has to offer you in that moment.

So today when life handed me a moment or two to slow down, I turned to reading. I happened to have a book with me that I started reading a month ago and whew, it was a real page turner for me. Each page brought new insight, a change in perspective and sometimes even a little humor. The main character was someone that I dream of being and the memories that she has made throughout the book are truly priceless; some moments are even things that only happen in the movies. There are a lot of tears, there is a lot of happiness and there is even more love.

This character seems fearless, strong, honest, loving and kind. She has a beautiful family and a love of life. When I read this book, I become lost in her story and I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for her.

Only time can tell…but the blank pages in front of her ache to be written and filled with the magic of her words.

What’s in a name, anyway?

Last week I visited family. While one of my best friends was talking to me, she said my name. My nephew, who’s 6, quickly corrected her. He informed her that she was saying my name wrong and proceeded to correct her.

“MEGhan. Not MAYgen,” he repeated.

My friend played along and tried to say my name correctly but each time she started talking to me again, he would pipe up that she was saying it wrong. This made me smile.

Eleven years ago, I had the exact same conversation with my husband’s brother, Mike (that says something about my maturity at the time, huh?).

“It’s MEGhan. MEG. Not MAYgen,” I would say over and over again.

“Right, that’s what I said,” he would counter.

As much as he tried, “Meghan” just wasn’t happening.

“I’m just gonna call you Red. It works,” he said, pointing at my strawberry blonde hair.

And thus, Red was born. Many people at the time didn’t know me as anything other than Red. I was introduced as Red and answered to Red. I never thought twice about it.

When Mike passed away suddenly, being known as Red faded. It became a fondness that I looked back on and a memory that I would never forget. I still treasure the nickname because it represents a time in my life when I was fearless and free. It is a moment in time that I have captured and that reminds me to be me.

I told my husband during our family visit that I wanted to start a blog to discuss my journey but couldn’t decide on a name; an identity. I tossed around a few ideas, all of which had “Red” in it. My husband didn’t even hesitate.

“Red Phoenix. You are going to rise up and beat this. This is you.” He said as we drove. I smiled.

It was perfect.

Just as Red holds special meaning to me from a decade ago, so will Phoenix in time. It represents the person that I am now and the person that I will be.

I will rise up from this.

I will conquer this.

I am Red Phoenix.