Whatifs Hit Hard–And I LOVE It

You know that poem “Whatif” by Shel Silverstein? If you don’t, here it is:


by, Shel Silverstein

    Last night, while I lay thinking here,
    Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
    And pranced and partied all night long
    And sang their same old Whatif song:
    Whatif I’m dumb in school?
    Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pol?
    Whatif I get beat up?
    Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
    Whatif I start to cry?
    Whatif I get sick and die?
    Whatif I flunk that test?
    Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
    Whatif nobody likes me?
    Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
    Whatif I don’t grow tall?
    Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
    Whatif the fish won’t bite?
    Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
    Whatif they start a war?
    Whatif my parents get divorced?
    Whatif the bus is late?
    Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
    Whatif I tear my pants?
    Whatif I never learn to dance?
    Everything seems swell, and then
    The nighttime Whatifs strike again!
Well, the Whatifs are crawling in my ear. I’m just twelve hours from starting my four-week journey through the National Writing Project and the Whatifs are powerful:

  • Whatif the instructors are tough and not personable?
  • Whatif they give a ton of outside work to go along with my other goals of being an involved dad this summer?
  • Whatif the other students are so much “better” at writing, reading, and understanding than I am?
  • Whatif I can’t find my tribe within the bigger group?
  • Whatif I learn that I’m not a writer?
  • Whatif I learn that I am?
The only way for me to rid myself of the Whatifs is NOT to. I accept them as important to my journey. Asking these questions, wondering about them, living with them, and answering them along the way are all part of taking a class. It’s the anxiety and fun of being a student. I don’t pretend that the Whatifs don’t exist; I include them in the possibilities. 
Whatif the National Writing Project changes my life?

4 thoughts on “Whatifs Hit Hard–And I LOVE It

  1. The fears that we have are False Evidence Appearing Real. We all have them. Pushing through to the other side where peace abounds is what separates people in the pursuit of passion, living a passion purposed life from those who wilt like the wall flowers in the hot days sun desperately thirsty for rain. Great post.


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