- For Fellas, For Ladies, Lifestyle
My mentor told me five years ago that I was afraid of my own success.
My ex once told me I was so brilliant I scared him, but quite obviously I didn’t believe him. I responded in my overly sarcastic voice,
“I know, I scare myself sometimes with my ingenuity! F*ckin brilliant.”
Strangely enough, my marketing manager asked me "if I feared becoming successful?" and that was just a few days ago. When you hear something once, you can ignore it. Twice, and maybe it’s possible. Through the lens I view myself I don’t see any success. I see a heap load of stress, overtalking, and lack of sleep.
My Daddy told me reads my blogs last week. Immediate response. O, sh*t.
What’s he going to find out about me that I can no longer hide?
What if I say something about sex or write about my vagina growing cobwebs and having dust mite parties? What if I write a nice long and drawn out confession about my struggle with depression. He’ll see me weak. What if I write about a panic attack I had and the dull in my face. The smiling thereafter, 3 pills later, 2 workouts and some calm tea, I’m ok. I’m ok. I’m so not, ok.
I call this the occupational hazard. I took up internalizing things when most writers take up drinking. I do still have myself a glass or two, but the way I grew up—drinking without a limit was the blueprint you follow to lead you straight to f*ckville. Stressing was my next best option, the option that induced fear and almost always produced a perfect paper, a perfect article, an all-nighter-sleep-fighter who delivered on impact, often early, often worried, often without eating, with lots of coffee (cue headaches or constipation) and always the over-achiever-dreamer. Always glass-half-empty-don’t get your hopes up too high, never believe in yourself too rightly.
What else could I do with that nervous energy though?
And then I found exercise, joined the largest world class gym in the world (EQUINOX) hired the world’s best trainer and friend, lost 83 pounds (86 if you count the first few months of giddying around I did) and tada, I worried less. But lately, double exercises in a day isn’t helping. The success is growing, and so forth—the stress.
A friend of mine told me I’m a perfectionist, and I stress because I take myself too seriously.
My response: Well how playful are we supposed to take ourselves?
Then he asked me if I thought promises were meant to be broken?
My response: Well, if you like to break stuff?
For sniffs and giggles, he asked me how old I was when realized life was “fleeting?”
My response: Like life moving? Dying? Fear? Years ago, I was a writer and manager and worked at the City of Hope for more than four years. I’d been overproducing and over-delivering each day I was there. A direct manager walked to me on a random day and asked me to his office. He closed the blinds; the room was dark. He leaned over me while he explained I had to sign a page that acknowledged a list of duties I’d fallen short of, all were untrue—but one. There actually was a stack of boxes beneath my desk I hadn’t filed or sorted, but they’d been there since before my hire, more than four years prior. No one explained or expected anything of them; I didn’t give it any more attention. That would be the only thing I could see I was guilty of when I was being accused of various ill decisions and responsibilities I never knew I had. My pride? My work ethic? My livelihood? I couldn’t sign it, and I couldn’t understand why he would want me to.
I stormed out and ran to the bathroom. I was breathing heavy, but nothing too ballistic.
I woke up four hours later having passed out in the stall. As I came to, my head felt like sloshed watermelon and my body felt floaty. My hands were numb, and I kept needing to swallow hard. I called my doctor on the way home. I was eventually diagnosed with generalized panic and anxiety disorder, and there were a few sets of numbers in front of the formal name of my condition. I couldn't accept it because I couldn't see anything broken. At that point life was fleeting. We weren’t going to be here forever, and we don’t know when we won’t be able to say what we want, or do as we please. The next few weeks I would lose hours at a time, semi-conscious. I would take medicines to turn me into a zombie, so I wouldn’t feel the depression. Creativity or Klonopin? Restlessness or deadening? Life is fleeting, and everyone has a struggle.
My friend then interrupted: I just meant you move around a lot and talk a lot, and it seems like everything you do or say to someone is out of a fear that you will fall short, that you will fail, or like it’s the last time you’ll ever see them again.
Can you do something for me?
My response: What?
Not take your life too seriously.
My response: Seriously?
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