"And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door."--Human, by The Killers
Years ago a member of my critique group took me aside after our meeting was over and everyone else was gone. She asked me a hard question, "What are you afraid of? Success or failure?"
I didn't have a good answer for her then, nor do I now. But through the writing process, the mommy process and life in general, I've learned this, whatever you want to do or be, there will always be something to be afraid of, something that will hold you back if you let it.
It could be the fear of success. Being successful opens you up to criticism from people who are still trying achieve what you've achieved or from people who just don't get what you're trying to do. Being successful means that when you fail (and at some point you will) you have farther to fall.
It could be fear of failure. Sometimes (often) despite your best efforts, everything blows up in your face and you have to start all over again, albeit with a better idea of what you're getting yourself into.
It could be fear of mediocrity. There's nothing like working for days, weeks, or even years on something only to find out that you still don't quite measure up.
Sometimes it seems easier just not to try.
And yet all over the world you see people accomplishing great things; surviving wars, accidents, crushing poverty,and horrible abuse, becoming Olympic athletes, scholars, and great leaders, even writing books and running marathons.
Today I'm thinking about what might lie ahead for me, what the chances of success are as opposed to the probability of failure. And if do succeed, what sacrifices I'll have to make, and what criticism I'll open myself up to.
I know nothing worth having in life is easy. That's true for the stories I want to write, it's true for the marathon I want to run, it's true for the family that I'm building, and it's true for other opportunities that I'm perusing.
The song that the lyrics above come from is one of my favorites songs to run to. My husband said once that he didn't get what the song was about. For me it's about rising above the part of you that's just human, just mediocre and finding the "dancer" inside--that part of you that can do great things. It's about letting go of the fear, whatever it is and moving forward.
"Close your eyes, clear your heart
Cut the cord "-- Humans, by the Killers