Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tripping up the Staircase

Fear. Fear does many things for us. It keeps us alive, for starters.

My fear of turning left in traffic? I’ve had friends who have gotten into accidents that way. So it’s not a totally irrational fear. And the caution I exercise in turning left, in turn, keeps me alive.

Fear does many things to us. It causes me to lose focus. It causes me so much unrealized potential that it’s ridiculous. Why don’t you excel in one of your chosen fields? It asks me. The answer? I have an overwhelming fear of failure coupled with a fear of the unknown. The simple question, “What if?” Is always greeted with negativity. The “Na-na-na-na-na-na, you’re going to lose” kid in A League of Their Own? That little shit is a constant presence in my brain.

The result? I never move forward. Stagnant and unreliable. Unwilling to work at things unless there is a guarantee of success.

In short, it’s no way to live.

I have a million ideas. Tinder: The Musical could be a total possibility. I may not be able to set a song to save my life but do I have talented friends with whom I can collaborate? Eff yes! So why not??? Because, what if it’s, like, stupid? Says the Valley Girl in my brain. And she is convincing, if vapid.

And then the other side of me, the optimist, ever the idealist, says: quit being such a pussy. Live a little. It would be fun for your daughter to read someday if nothing else. And it’s educational. It would be a comprehensive “What Not to Do” list for online dating.

So nothing you do is ever completely useless, especially not if it helps you grow as a person. I must work at it and not see any failure to publish as an exercise in futility.

Beeeeliiiiieeeevveee in yourself, says the unicorn. Beeeeliiiiieeeevveee.

And then there are all the inspirational quotes out there to back me up. You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. Broken crayons still color and damn, I’m magenta.

This theory applies to the rest of my writing. I need to replace “What if?” with “Why not?”

I also need to learn how this whole “pitch” thing works. Because holy jeez, it seems to be important. You gotta get a gimmick if you wanna get ahead: a little Sondheim for ya. I need to learn how to sell myself and unbelievably, I am no good at tooting my own horn.

So there.

As a good friend told me, I need to replace my apologies with this phrase. It does make me seem more confident, if a bit callous at times. It’s a start.

And now I must truly apologize, because I have Elmo stuck in my head. Thanks a lot, you furry little bastard.

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