2018 Chaos Rally #14 – Grappling with Self-Doubt

I stayed up until 6am chatting with my sister, Piggie, this morning and then didn’t go to bed until after I saw my boys off on the bus at 8am this morning. It wasn’t until almost 3pm that I finally woke up.

It felt good to talk with her about the writing process and how I felt lost as to what exactly I want to do as a free lancer. Ultimately I think I’m coming to the conclusion that while I enjoy making videos, it’s largely a hobby I do on the side. What I really want to do – what I’ve always wanted to do – is write stories.

What I don’t understand is why I consistently hold myself back. What exactly is it that I’m afraid of? I used to play the flute and oboe in band and in marching band. As in front of people. Was even in Clinton’s first inaugural parade. Was an exciting event for me, even though the march was an uphill grueling one. I was in chorus too, and saw solos in church. Spoke in church. Competed in the high school Speech and Debate Team. I enjoyed all of it.

I now write a life story blog. BUT for some mysterious reason, the mere idea of becoming an officially published author stops me short. Every. Time. I can write the first draft. Usually no problem. Often get mired in revision hell. But on the rare occasion a piece hits the finish line, and I do have those pieces that exist, that’s where it ends. I think all of them have ended up on a blog somewhere at some point in my life.

So the question becomes, why does it matter? There was a time in my life that it didn’t matter that my work was out there for free and that I was essentially a nameless, unpublished author so long as I got to share my work. There is no pressure involved when money isn’t in the picture. I could comfortably say, “hey, I wrote this thing and you can like it or not” and it was okay.

The absence of money removed the element of being a fraud, because only real writers get paid.

But it does matter, and it has always mattered, because I have always been a real writer. Even if the story I wrote was garbage, it only meant that I was a real garbage writer – not a fake writer – because the words I wrote are mine, and not the words of someone else.

At first I thought this was imposter syndrome, but I don’t see myself as a high-achieving individual. Listening to family members, I most certainly am not one of these individuals.

Researching the topic, I came across “Jonah complex” which at its heart is the fear of success which prevents self-actualization. Now on the surface, it doesn’t make sense why anyone would do this to themselves. And in fact, I’ve been grappling with it off and on here in the this blog for awhile.

But when I read the Psychology Dictionary definition, it finally fell into place and made perfect sense to me:

inhibition of becoming entirely self-actualized for fear of facing new challenges and situations

This fear of success, is embedded deeply in the fear of change. Maybe the change means turning your life into more of an adventure outside of your norm, for an example? Bilbo and Frodo come to mind here – although fictitious people but hey, I’m a writer and a reader so humor me – but they were still brave enough to take the plunge. And a good thing too, otherwise we wouldn’t have had those books to read. But the point is, there are people out there that are able to find that courage every day to go out on that adventure.

And in writing on of this, I think I’ve figured a few things out.

I’ve just been through a marriage that didn’t go well and as a result, wrecked my self-esteem. I’ll be wrestling with bouts of self-doubt for awhile until that part of myself recovers. Fact of life, no avoiding that, doesn’t matter what I decide to do with myself.

Said unhealthy marriage, just ended in a divorce. This is a HUGE change in anyone’s life and a ton of uncertainty. Also a fact of life and unavoidable. Also creates bouts of self-doubt no matter what I decide to do with myself.

In light of all this, it’s safe to say that in many ways I’m starting my life all over. And in realizing that I had made the decision that I would work from home – as a writer. The problem is I don’t know how to do that and I’m running around blind from one project to the project without direction and a handful of big ideas and it’s getting me nowhere.

I’m busy, I’m doing things, but not actually achieving what I had set out to achieve. I think the whole YouTube thing needs to be strictly an extension of this blog for now while I try to figure out what self publishing is going to mean for me and what that is going to look like and how I’m going to make that work.

I mean don’t get me wrong, I will still do my gaming stuff – plus, there’s still that terraforming contest that I want to enter over on Planet Minecraft and talk about and what not, but if I want to be the writer, then I need to put more focus on the writing. And I admit, focus is my greatest weakness – or perhaps my greatest excuse?

I can write. It’s the business and marketing end on the internet that I need to figure out. The world has changed so much in the short time since I studied business admin as a minor all those years ago. My courses didn’t even look at the online environment, which is a completely different animal.

So this weekend, the music playlist is a rally to not give up. To embrace being human and being different. To allow yourself to shine where you shine best.

If you enjoyed this post, or have some thoughts about it, please let me know!

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