The Largeness of My Potential Terrifies Me

Have your dreams ever terrified you?

I’m not talking nightmares or night-terrors. I’m talking about those dreams that give you hope, inspire you to work harder, influence the goals you set for yourself.

Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed by the magnitude of the dreams you’ve allowed yourself to entertain?

I have. In fact, I’m smack in the middle of a frozen-in-place episode, unable to kill those goals because they’re too amazing and wonderful. The only reason I’m not hiding under the covers right now is that I’ve somehow convinced myself writing it out will help.

We shall see.

I’ve spent the morning doing wonderful things for my editorial/writing business: I designed and ordered new business cards, I tweaked some wording on my professional website, I added a “policies” section to my editorial page (I have editorial policies!).

What I haven’t managed to do in all this time was actually edit. Anything. I’ve set myself a personal deadline of completing a homework manuscript by the end of the week.

Yeeeeeep. Going on five hours now of conveniently not editing. I am actually talking about how I’m not editing . . . instead of editing. Do I win some kind of procrastination award here?

How do you know you might an editor? When you take a red pen to a magazine advertisement, and feel bad that you didn’t mark more.

Let’s also not address the fact I haven’t exercised at all in seven days, and I’m trying really hard to talk myself out of going to Kempo class tonight because it’s starting to hit me that ohmyfuckinggodI’mgonnabeabrownbelti’mnotreadyi’mnotworthy.

It’s no longer a theoretical event happening maybe sometime in the future. It is an actual thing that will happen soon. I have already had a sensei offer to get the process of scheduling it started. “Sometime in the spring of 2019” has become “April is three months away.”

Since going to class would help me succeed in that goal, not going means I don’t have to worry about scheduling that test. Which means, I can’t fail.

Yay, circular logic!

I want these things so bad. They’re fueling all of my decisions these days. My entire existence right now hinges on the success of these big, huge, wonderful, readily-obtainable dreams.

I. Do. Not. Want. To. Fail.

So, it’s just easier to not start, right? If I don’t do the homework, I won’t get a recommendation that carries any weight. I might get some work, but I won’t get good work. If I don’t go to class, I won’t be prepared when the test finally comes. I might do okay, but I won’t get my belt.

These are the big dreams. Anything less than success would be heartbreaking. Because these are more than just things I want. These are my descriptors: I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a martial artist.

To fail at these things is to fail as myself.

The irony is, even the definition I’ve set for “failure” isn’t anything more than a slightly slower, bumpier road to success. If I start out with some work, even if it isn’t good, it’s better than none. And maybe I learn as I go, and eventually I do get recommendations, and better work. And if I don’t get that belt this spring? Well, there’s always Kempo Camp in August, or fall 2019, or spring 2020. I can keep on testing until I finally pass.

There is absolutely no one but me saying any of this is anything but a done-deal. Everyone I know is gunning for me. They believe I can do it.

Maybe it’s my turn to believe the same thing.

. . . I can believe in myself from under the covers, right? That’s a thing?

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2 thoughts on “The Largeness of My Potential Terrifies Me

  1. Once again, you’re telling the stories of the madness in my head. My motto for my business, which is me being an artist in an often dismissive world, is “I’m Not Finished”. And it applies to everything in my life, unless I realize that I’m not beating a dead horse.
    “I’m. Not. Finished.” – it’s a self-motivational brain tool, and sometimes I drop it, exhausted by wielding it. Thing is… I can never be finished. There are too many new things in my head to start on. Then comes the procrastination, suddenly shoving what’s on the workbench aside and starting one of the new things. ADHD?

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    1. I know for me, one of the reasons why I never finish anything is because if I don’t, no one (especially me) can criticize it. Maybe instead of “I’m not finished”—because, let’s face it, art is never finished—your motto can be something along the lines of “I will finish you to the best of my human capabilities.” You do beautiful work, Andy. Really and truly.

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