Don’t Even Try This at Home

Warning: this letter contains fear of success, success, enormous amounts of anxiety and a bizarre fascination with infectious diseases. 

Dear dears,

Within the month of January, I had an elastic amount of whiplash. I am both terrified and exhilarated. I always wondered why, when there are things I know I want to achieve, I did not strive for them. Or why, when I saw other people achieving their dreams, did I feel so hollow inside, instead of feeling joy for their success?

I decided to research “fear of success” and holy bajeezus, it was like I was a textbook case (reasons 1-3, 5, 6). How I came to associate winning with guilt or with taking away something from someone else, I don’t know. How I came to intensely fear the change that would come with doing something big for myself, who knows. Some scientists say that fear and excitement have the same physical feeling and therefore we can conflate them and then associate the excitement we should feel with fear.

I knew I had a tendency to do this, and sometimes I would manage to overcome myself. But once I read about the definition, I could see this pattern of self-sabotage that really depressed me. I can easily talk myself out of doing things by imagining all sorts of difficulties winning would bring me.

Suffice it to say, I do have a recent success. My poem Fletching appears in a new journal called Ink & Nebula:  I also have work forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal and DIALOGIST.

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