I have been feeling really scattered lately.
I mean, I know I have four small children. I get that.
But I was really rocking it a few weeks ago. Almost whelmed, even.
Now, I am decidedly tipping over whelmed.
I can always tell when I’m about to lose it. I escape into TV shows. Read books. Play Two Dots obsessively on my phone.
Anything to avoid dealing with my life, making meals, work (self-imposed or not), and my children.
I am even crankier and crabbier than usual.
Gamera calls me mean. She curses me under her breath. Like, ACTUAL cursing.
And even though I know that my 2017 Theme this year is to Suck It Up and act like a grown up, truthfully, I just want this year to suck it.
Which is weird because this year has actually been going really well.
I have been reaching out to do more writing in different capacities, pitching the occasional collaboration or sponsor, finishing my ebook, and generally doing more than I have ever done in regards to writing.
So of course, I feel all my writing juices drying up. Leaving me withered. A husk.
I feel all out of words. Or at least, all the good ones. You know, the coherent ones.
Coherent words are good.
(See? I have been reduced to caveman speak. Words good. No words bad.)
Now that I think of it, it makes TOTAL sense why all of a sudden, I want to dive under the covers and disappear until 2018 or perhaps forever.
I am afraid.
I am afraid that because I have had some marginal success that more will be expected of me. Or required of me. And that I won’t be able to duplicate that success.
(And seriously, who do I think is expecting or requiring this of me?)
That everything up until now has been a fluke.
A complete accident. And soon, real soon, someone is going to realize that I am full of shit and that all my bluster is just that: bluster.
And for crying out loud. I am almost 40.
I SHOULD NO LONGER BE UNSUBSTANTIATED.
When I look back on my life thus far, there are two things that stand out in my mind that encapsulate how I deal with my fear of failure. Coincidentally, they both deal with musicals.
In my last year of high school, our choir and drama program was putting on the musical, Bye, Bye, Birdie.
I really wanted to be in it.
But I was afraid.
So I told myself there was no way I would get a part because I was Chinese – and there were no Chinese parts in the musical. Instead, I convinced myself I would be fine being in the orchestra and told my choir director that I wanted to be one of the pianists.
I didn’t try out at all.
I took myself out of the running entirely.
Four years later, in my last year at UCLA, I tried out for a musical written by Weiko Lin (music by Christopher Wong).
This one, I had a good shot of getting into – not only because I was good friends with Chris. This musical was about the Tienanmen Square massacre – so there were definitely roles for Chinese people.
So, I sucked it up and auditioned and lo and behold. I got one of the four lead parts.
I was ecstatic. And terrified.
And so, I did what terrified people do. I found an out.
I called my prayer partner up and we did “listening prayer” and I somehow convinced myself that God wanted me to turn down the role and spend more time on my floor to evangelize or whatever.
So, I turned the role down.
To this day, I regret making that decision. Not because I would be some famous actress or Broadway star now, but because I let fear dictate what I could or could not do.
Also, how many other chances would I have to be a lead in a musical now? I’m not saying it’s not possible. It’s just not high on my priority list.
Anyhow, I have told these two stories to Dr. T at least several times, and each time, she suggests that I might fear failure.
And of course, each time, I say, “Noooooo. That’s not true. I’m just lazy.”
But she’s right. As usual.
My laziness is the cover story I tell myself. To hide from myself my abject terror in trying out for the things I want – and want badly.
So, of course, now that I am taking some small, tiny steps towards being a writer, I am running scared.
Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination and laziness.
I escape into realms created by other people. Consuming at a ridiculous pace so that I can perhaps satisfy the craving to create something myself without actually having to create anything.
Well, brain. I’m onto you.
You’re just gonna have to suck it up like the rest of me. We’re going full steam ahead.