I’m Afraid of My Own Success

I’m afraid of my own success. What if achieving my dreams means changing everything I know about my life?

I am my own worst enemy. I love stability of structure and I’m not one to shed the security blanket easily.

But often, blank pages hold just as much accusations as they do promise.

Blank Pages are the World's Canvas

Blank Pages are the World’s Canvas

I play the “What If” game too often because, in the past, the “What If’s” happened. The bad ones. The oh-my-God-this-could-only-happen-to-me and the I’m-one-in-a-million-and-not-in-a-good-way ones. The I’m-being-sabotaged-and-no-one-will-stand-up-for-me ones. The life-will-never-be-the-same-again ones.

And I really love stability.

So when anything comes along that can upset the apple cart, I get nervous.

I’ve had to learn to recognize my anxiety triggers. I know to avoid too much coffee on those high-adrenaline days. I have a “smart shopping” checklist on my iPhone for those necessary eat-out-but-not-fast-food days. The older I get, the better I am at listening to my body. My emotions may want chocolate ganache, but my bloodstream craves caffeine-free Gatorade.

Better sleep + better foods = better emotions.

So the anxiety doesn’t get to me like it used to. Of course, there are certain elements that are no longer around. That helps, too. You know what I’m talking about: those button-pusher people who are as good at backstabbing as they are at infiltrating. Those situations that belong on a soap opera and not in my life. I’ve been lucky to distance myself from the hurts and the hurtful. But their shadows remain.

I’ve had to retrain myself to not be afraid, the way others wanted to keep me afraid. Of sharing myself. Of living authentically. Of being the Me I’m supposed to be. Their false condemnations that who I was wasn’t good enough, would never be good enough. That I had deep, dark secrets to be spilled instead of forgiveness to be shared.

But now I know.

I’m better than that.

I’m better than what they said.

I’m better.

But I’m still afraid.

I’m still okay with the bad “What If’s”. The ones I can’t control.

But . . .

What if I am successful? What if I achieve everything I know I’m meant to do?

What if I conquer it all . . .

And I win?

The last few years were so hard. You’ve heard my poverty stories before. I know I’m not unique. I know there are many more people out there fighting just like me to save their homes and feed their families and do a thousand dollars worth of repairs on a nickel budget. People who don’t have the resources that I have, people who don’t have other people to come alongside them and cheer them on or pull them back on to the path.

And I’m not trying to complain. But my life is such a dichotomy between the dregs of the economy and the elation of my soaring words.

I don’t want to be stuck here any more. I don’t want to whine and complain and worry and cry.

But I do.

Yet, I see my way out. I see the path that I’ve laid, and I see where it’s going.

I no longer put the word “aspiring” before “writer” when I tell people what I do. I am a writer. I am a good writer. The rest of the world will soon discover how great a writer I am.

Desk and chair set with old typewriter

My “new” workspace ~ a real desk!

In the last two months, just eight short weeks, my writing universe has grown by leaps and bounds. I have my desk. I’ve met some wonderful people who are turning out to be great connections. I saw the need for a position with my writers club and asked to create it. [The result was a resounding yes: I'm now the official Social Media Manager for the California Writers Club, High Desert Branch, come join the fun on Facebook.] All four books are progressing fast. I might soon have The Unemployment Cookbook on local bookstore shelves. My critique group is essential to me in a craft capacity, and a fellowship.

All these are the beginnings of what I have always prayed for, always held my breath and crossed my fingers for. All these are essential to me being Me.

To be able to put food on the table and gas in the car and pay the bills on time and stop these damned collection calls and not “borrow” money that everyone knows until I win the lottery I will never be able to pay it back.

And that scares me, too. It scares me because it’s possible financial stability is on the five-year horizon. If I don’t need my family, my mommy and brothers, any more, will they still need me?

If Megan and I obtain all we’re reaching for, do I have to give up being home every night with Dot and our FurFamily?

If I don’t have to worry about tomorrow as much as I currently do, what will I do with that happiness?

I don’t want to be arrogant or a celebrity. I just want to be the best writer I can possibly be. I want to share my stories with the world. And yes, I would like to know that my stories make a difference.

And make money. Let’s be real. This is how I want to pay my bills. This is how I long to provide for my family.

For my family.

Molly Jo and Dot

MoJo & Dot

And so I write my stories. My poems. My blogs. My thoughts and suspicions and dreams and nightmares. And I share them. And I collect them for future publication. And I keep on writing it out. Because I can’t be the only one who thinks like this, right? I can’t be the only one who feels so incomplete and so uplifted at the same time . . . right?

This is my calling. To be the best writer I know how to be. To tell the world about life in a way that can only be told by me.

But I’m not there yet. I’m still taking the journey. And at times it’s dark and twisty and scary. My heart pounds inside my chest and I can’t catch my breath.

What If I’m wrong? What If my path is a dead-end? What If those shadows are still waiting to sabotage me? What If I lose the house before I earn enough to save it? What If more bad than good happens?

Can I keep going on?

Yes.

So I let my light shine. From inside. Whatever light I have, I broadcast it.

Sometimes it’s a candle. Sometimes it’s the sun.

The end of the path will never be a reality. I’m thankful for that. With each step taken, there’s another step to take.

While I’m still here, still bringing with me the pains of the past, still glimpsing an uncertain future, I do know this: I have something to say.

And I can say it well.

I just need the rest of the world to listen.

As I sit here drafting this post, trying not to complain, trying to look for the light and not worry about tomorrow or the distractions it brings, my friend Janice posted this on her Facebook profile:

“Strength & resilience emerge by your own will to become a better person, no matter what downfalls happen in your life… be your own hero.”

Thanks, Janice. You are, as always, the right person at the right time.

How do you like them apples?!

How Do You Like Them Apples?!

How Do You Like Them Apples?!

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” [Luke 12:22-23, NIV]

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
Apples
Poverty: My Story
I am Defined. And I am a Mystery.

This post is linked up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say. Because sometimes, we just can’t.

How Bedford Manor Got Its Name

When I purchased this house, there was no doubt I would name my small estate Bedford Manor. If I ever sell this plot and move, the new place will also be christened Bedford Manor. And probably every property I own after that.

Bedford Falls is the quaint hometown of George Bailey. Not sure what or whom I’m talking about? Only the greatest Christmas movie ever.

It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

I adore the message in this movie: It’s not about the money. It’s about the people. And when you’re lower than the floor, you can do the Peter Panda Dance count on your people to be there for you, even after you’ve done your best to alienate them. It’s a Wonderful Life is about home.

Another reason I chose the title Bedford Manor is because of thirtysomething. That show back in the early 90s that everyone talked about. In my early 20s and away at college, there were two shows that my people and I watched without fail. Beverly Hills, 90210 and thirtysomething. Tuesdays and Thursdays were relegated to predictions while Wednesdays and Fridays brought great discussions about the inevitable bomb-dropping that occurred. I had a knack for predicting upcoming storylines. I wasn’t always right, but my peers and I certainly had fun dissecting the episodes before and after they aired.

thirtysomething was produced by Marshall Herskovitz’s company, Bedford Falls Productions. Who remembers the end-tag each week as we all sang “. . . and dance by the light of the moon . . .”?

Yup. Just another reason I wanted to live in a place called Bedford.

As you know from last week’s post, one of my favorite college courses was Mystery Writing 101. (It really was called that. Or maybe it was English 101 – Mystery Writing. I prefer the former.) That’s where I learned about novellas and hidden clues and solving crimes. And that’s where I picked up this book.

The aptly titled Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories (1988).

The aptly titled Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories (1988).

Which is still on my bookshelves. Only this week it’s being promoted to The Shelf — that special spot I keep available for my most favorite books and the ones I still use as reference. I call it The Shelf at Bedford Manor.

In mystery novels, elegant homes are often referred to as (this) Estate or (that) Manor. So when I started looking for a house to buy, it had to fit the title. Lo and behold, it does.

My home is cozy, clean, welcoming. A refuge from the desert (except that dratted sand lot of a yard!). An oasis to travelers far and near.

And while it’s not yet finished, I’m okay with that. Because Michael and Hope never finished their house no matter how often they went to work on the construction, decorating and all the other little and big things that go into turning a house into a home.

Bedford Manor means progress. It means togetherness. It means striving and thriving. It means I have a place to come home to. A place to work. A family waiting. And a world to explore.

I can be safe here, or daring. I can rest or run a mile.

Bedford Manor means open doors.

It means all the things that make me me.

Desk and chair set with old typewriter

My “new” workspace ~ a real desk!

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
My Housing Project: Back to the Beginning
I am Defined. And I am a Mystery.
You’re Gonna Make It After All.