Fear of Success?

So, I’m looking for a new paid gig again.  For the record, I hate being unemployed.  Shocker.  I think the legion of unemployed in this country would absolutely agree with me.  My guess is that most of us would rather be at work than sitting at home job searching and fretting about what’s going to happen when the money runs out.

For me, it goes even further than that.  I don’t do well with nothing to do and beat myself up for not being useful.  It doesn’t matter how many times my husband, my family, or my friends tell me I’m not useless, or how many of my various talents and abilities they point out.  I judge myself harshly and always have, which brings me to the conversation I had last night.

The Universe saw fit to remind me that I hadn’t finished my book yet.  The book is a compilation of my shorter works.  Many of the pieces were done when I decided to do a collection, but there weren’t enough of them to justify an entire book.  So, I decided on including 13 total pieces (because the tales and poems are of a morbid nature, so y’know…13), and I’ve had 11 for the past two years.   In truth, I’ve finished it five or six times over, but then I inevitably decide that I hate one of the stories, or that it doesn’t really fit with the theme, and I kick it out of the compilation.  Like many writers, I judge my work very harshly.  In my mind, it’s better that I tell myself I’m no good than to have some else say it.  Obviously, this isn’t true, but the fear of rejection haunts us all.

However, it has been pointed out that perhaps I don’t have a fear of rejection as much as a fear of success.  My first response to this was, “That’s crazy!  Who doesn’t want to be successful doing something they love?”  But the more I look at it, the more I think this may be a valid observation.

As I was searching through job listings, I bypassed a lot of the writing positions on the premise that “They don’t want me” or “I’m not qualified.”  So what if I’m not qualified?  Shouldn’t I leave that to a hiring manager to tell me?  I bookmarked those job listings and decided to sleep on it.

I directed my attention to the book in progress, and alas, I found another story that I thought I might remove from the project.  I took the file from my folder and made a comment to the husband about why I was removing it.  He wasn’t happy.

He pointed out that I do this all the time, and that he’d like to be able to hold his wife’s book in hands at some point in his near future.  And then he reminded me of that fear of success.

He was right.

I went to bed frustrated, but I woke up with resolve.

Whether it is fear of rejection, or fear of success, it is still fear.  It is still crippling.  It is what will keep me from being more than what I am.

So this morning, I applied to those writing jobs.  I put the story I didn’t like back in my compilation folder and made a commitment to work on it and make it something I DO like and CAN be proud of.  I put the little voice that tells me I’m not good enough in the corner with duct tape over her mouth.  The reality is that I don’t have nothing to do—double negative intended—because I actually have plenty to do. I have a paid gig to land and a book to finish.

I’m not useless.  And while the world doesn’t owe me a thing, the world should be damn happy I’m part of it.  I have a lot to offer.

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