Replace the Rent with the Stars Above
Thursday, June 16, 2011
In a comment to my last blog, ELALYR pointed out that fear of commitment might translate to fear of failure. This thought has been nibbling at the back of brain sense I read it. I’ve been tackling my fear of failure head-on for some years now, and I’ve had some success. Cooking helped- cooking is an excellent venue to fail spectacularly with no significant consequences. I followed this up with karaoke. I’m a terrible singer, but I get up on stage at least once every time we go out. I let my shaky, nervous voice out of its cage and sing something fun. I never quite succeed there – my nerves show every time; I forget words; I can’t even begin to find the key. Again failure without real consequences.
At work, I throw myself again and again into the breach – asking for interesting sounding assignments, requesting work above my tenure, asking for things for myself because I want them or need them to do my job better. The stakes are a little higher here, but still manageable. At worst someone will tell me “No.” I don’t like to hear it, but I have heard it often enough that it has mostly ceased to sound personal. More often, I hear, “Not right now.” That’s livable. I do worry that asking and asking and asking might get me labeled as a trouble-maker and malcontent, but I’ve been labeled those things before when not standing up for what I want and need, so… meh.
So, at least I’m making some progress in this fear of failure thing – right?
But, ELALYR’s comment remained on my mind because it’s true. When I think about completing a 5K, I just kind of freeze up. I’m like a rabbit mesmerized by a snake. “Oh, hello, snake. I’m terrified. Please just eat me and get it over with.”
And that brings up another set of questions and thoughts about what failure IS – what failure means.
Here’s the deal. I’m a quitter. I hate this trait about myself. In fact, it’s probably what I hate MOST about myself. I quit. Job gets boring? Find a new job. Relationship gets to be too much work? It’s over. I have no real staying power.
What terrifies me about racing is not that I will do poorly, it’s that I won’t finish at all. It’s that I’ll sign up for it now, and by October, I will decide not to even start. I don’t want another thing I could have done if I had only tried on my list.
And there’s this other thing… people run 5Ks all the time. My husband ran his first marathon last year (which is the equivalent of 8.5 5Ks all at once). Many of my friends are runners – hardcore. It’s a little embarrassing to set such a simple goal in this milieu where so many people I know and admire are so much more advanced. It’s not that I feel like I need to compete with them, it’s just that my goals seem really slight next to their accomplishments. I know, KNOW they would be supportive and cheer me on, but I can’t convince myself that walking a 5K is something that I deserve to be cheered on for (even though I get totally excited for other friends when they do it). It’s less embarrassing to set my goals in different arenas. It’s both a reminder that I am so, so out of shape and a fear that people won’t get why this is important to me. And that last fear translates to one of my big, bad closet monsters – the fear that people don’t GET me.
I could probably write a whole angsty post about that. Who couldn’t, right? I think most people fear that they are misunderstood. It’s so painful when someone misunderstands my motives or words. When someone I think knows me well teases me about the things that I am most sensitive about or doesn’t give me the benefit of the doubt when my blunt style means something comes out all garbled and wrong.
It’s worse because I try so hard to live my life with honesty and forthrightness. So, not only is being misunderstood painful it’s also…
Wait for it…wait for it…