Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fearing Success

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"People who have experienced trauma may associate the excitement of success with the same physiological reactions as trauma. They avoid subjecting themselves to excitement-inducing circumstances, which causes them to be almost phobic about success." -- Psychology Today

"The Jonah complex is the fear of success which prevents self-actualization or the realization of one's potential. It is the fear of one's own greatness, the evasion of one's destiny, or the avoidance of exercising one's talents. Just as the fear of achieving a personal worst can motivate personal growth, the fear of achieving a personal best can also hinder achievement." -- Wikipedia

Yesterday, I wrote a post about finding myself and in it, I mentioned how I'm the only thing standing in my way of so many things. Today, I woke up absolutely exhausted and immediately went into beat myself up/I'm worthless mode. I sat here feeling sorry for myself. There's no other words to describe it. When my body/brain says you need a down day, I get incredibly frustrated and I take it out on myself. A lot of us do that. We beat ourselves up over things that are outside of our control.

I'd love to tell you that I meditated or came to some brilliant conclusion that brought me here today, but the reality is that I noticed that I had Pinterest open in a tab so I decided to lazy scroll through things and see what I found. What I found was a whole lot of pins on writing and it reminded me of yesterday's post so here I am...after pinning about a dozen of them to go back to later.

If you know me well at all, you know that I write. I write stories, I write posts, I write diary entries in Word that may or may not ever be seen by the world. I write. It's what I do. It's what I've done for as long as I remember. It's what I want to do with my life. I want to write.

Seems easy enough, right? If someone said to me that they wanted to write, I'd say, "Then write." Except it's not that simple. Okay, the writing part is. Writing isn't difficult for me. Heck, hand me a notebook and a pen and I'll doodle and write all day long. It's the part that comes after that...what do I do with it once I write it? Do I file it away somewhere? Do I publish it? Do I tell anyone about it?

Just a few days ago, I got the Facebook notification that on this day a year ago, I published my first story on Amazon. I've gone on to publish something like 8 stories. In that year, I've never made enough off selling them to even receive a royalty payment. Why? Because I've been afraid to take the next steps. I have the resources. Russell Nohelty has a podcast all about building up your creative business. I'm part of at least one really good authors' group on Facebook. I'm friends (or at least Facebook friends) with multiple published writers.

So what's holding me back? Me. I am. I'm the problem. I'm terrified of what happens if I do this and I do it well. What will that mean for my life? What changes will there be? Just thinking about it has my anxiety flaring up. Then, there's the other side of it. I look around at the people surrounding me and I think "What's the point in even trying? There are so many people out there already doing this. There's nothing special about me or what I do."

I'm afraid of success and I'm afraid of failure. So, I do nothing. I write my stories and sometimes I post them and sometimes I don't. I write here and since it's mostly ignored by the outside world, I tell myself that it's a sure sign that my writing isn't any good. If it were, surely something I'd written would have gained traction by now. Is that the truth? Probably not. There are a million people out there writing the same  types of things on their blogs. There's no reason that mine would gain attention.

Still, I write because I can't imagine a life without doing it. This is part of me. I just have to decide if I'm brave enough to really show people what I can do and if I am, I have to start taking those steps. I know that I'm not alone in feeling like this and I hope that I'm not alone in whatever happens next.


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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Finding Me

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Sometimes something someone says gets stuck in my head and I can't get rid of it. It sits there, tugging at my thoughts, pulling at my emotions, until I give it the attention that it desires and perhaps the attention that I need to give it. After all, if it's there, it must be there for a reason, right?

In this case, a man that I was involved with a few years ago, perhaps more now, wrote me this rather horrible email to not only end our relationship but to end any association he had with me. Honestly, it was cruel and below this person, but that's not what this post is about. It's about what he said to me in that email that has hung around in my head for all these years and the fact that I'm finally at a point where I can deal with it clearly and without wasted emotion. After all, emotion is wasted on someone who was flat out cruel to you.

I'm not going to directly quote him because honestly, I have no desire to open that email. The gist of what he said was that I'm not me. I'm not someone who stands for anything or has her own beliefs. I'm merely someone who morphs herself into whatever she thinks the other person wants. I'm nothing more than a mimic.  Harsh, huh?

That one single idea has stuck with me ever since I read it and I wondered if it was true. Who am I? I'm reminded of this quote from the movie Music and Lyrics:

"Since then, every time I pick up a pen, I'm haunted by those words that he wrote, you know? "She was a brilliant mimic. She could ape Dorothy Parker or Emily Dickinson, but stripped of someone else's literary clothes, she was a vacant, empty imitation of a writer.""

Stripped of other people's interests and beliefs, who am I? You see, he was right in a way. I do tend to take on the interests of those I care about. Do I do it to define me? No, I don't think that I do. I do it to have more in common with them, to learn about new things. Rob is a perfect example of this and someone who, on the tiniest off chance that he ever read this, wouldn't care if I used him as an example.

Rob was/is very much into roller derby. Me? I knew next to nothing about it. When I'd visit him, if one of his friends stopped by, they'd sit and talk about it and I'd be left out because I knew nothing about it. I hated that. It was also something he was very passionate about so I wanted to know more. I downloaded and read the complete rule book. They teased me that the next thing they knew, I'd be some sort of official. The reality is that I never intended on playing myself or getting involved. I just wanted to know more. I'm still holding out for Rob to take me to my first bout.

Did I change myself into a derby girl because Rob was into derby? No. Some would point out that I did go and buy a pair of skates. I did. I still have them though due to illness, etc I haven't used them since right after I bought them. Skating is fantastic exercise and a lot of fun. It was something I could do on my own or go with Rob to do when I was visiting him. Was it because of him that I looked into it? Yeah, it was. Did it change anything? Not really.

So where am I going with all of this? I guess I'm going to the part where I say Stuart was right. Over the years, I've molded myself at times. My upbringing caused that. If I wasn't what was wanted, things happened. When I was with the boys' dad, that continued. Please don't misunderstand. He never raised a hand towards me, but he knew what buttons to push to get me to be or do what he wanted.

Then, I was on my own. I was no longer his wife. I no longer had an identity. I didn't know who I was. So, over the years since then, I guess I've explored options. With Rob, I explored the idea of skating and I discovered that it was something I enjoyed. I totally sucked at it, but I enjoyed it. With others, it may have been certain television shows or hobbies. Does that mean that I continued to morph? Perhaps, but only to the smallest extent. As someone who had no idea who they were anymore, what their interests were or what they wanted to do/be in life, it was a way to discover the answers to those things. I discovered that no matter how much someone else liked it, I just could not get into Buffy, but that I loved Doctor Who. I realized that I do kind of like certain types of science fiction. I found a tiny piece of me.

I tend to think of myself as one of those jigsaw puzzles that have 10,000 pieces and each time I discover something, a tiny piece slides into place. With enough exploration, I may find me again. I think that I started my container garden a number of years ago because Rob or someone was growing tomatoes and it gave me an additional connection to him. It also allowed me to discover that dirt therapy is really good for me. Does Rob still grow tomatoes? Heck if I know. I do know that right now, there are 8 plants on my front porch that I need to water later today.

There are also things that I do simply because they're a part of me. I love to craft. I've been making things since I was a child and while I don't do it as much these days it's not because someone has frowned on it. It's simply because I got in my own way and now I need to clear that out so that I can get back to it. Nick once told me that coloring is my therapy...crafting always was and I suspect it always will be. I can't draw but I can still create in my own way.

Which brings me to writing...another thing that I've done for as long as I can remember. In fact, if you asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I'd tell you that I want to write. It's another thing that I'm just plain getting in my own way of. Will I ever be famous for writing? Probably not. Could I be successful at it? Probably. It's my own fears that are getting in the way of that, but that's probably another post for another day. It's another one of those thoughts that have been bumping around in my head lately.

What does this all mean? It means that you may see me becoming interested in something that you do. I may try it out for a little bit. I may discover that I love it and stick with it. I may discover that it's not me and leave it. Either of those things is okay. The only way to truly discover if something is me is to try it. I'm not mimicking, I'm exploring and exploration is healthy. It's good.

In order to reclaim me, I have to find me.


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