Afraid of success
Success is a subjective thing. Each person defines success in their own way. Many will say they don’t fear success. They crave it. They desire it. They live for it. They struggle for it. They WANT it. What they fear is failure. That deep seated fear that no matter what they do, how they do it, or for how long they do it, they will never be good enough.
I don’t fear failure. I am afraid of success.
I know. Sounds pretty insane, doesn’t it. Why would anyone fear something so wonderful as being successful? I’ll try to explain.
Before I became a writer I had a pretty successful in home sewing business. I designed and sewed clothing for any variety of occasions and people. Everything from weddings, to Halloween, to prom, to Renaissance Faire attire, to wardrobe and costumes for a cover band called HAIRBALL, to drag queens and strippers. I was good at it. Still am, actually. But the personalized specialty clothing market dried up pretty quickly in the recession and I wasn’t making the money I had been. So I got a “real” job. But I was successful. That success didn’t bother me at all. I got to do what I loved and stay BEHIND the scenes. Other people wore my designs and clothing and I could stay blissfully out of the limelight.
Writing, however, may be a solitary act, but being a successful author is not. It’s book signings, tours, interviews, being SEEN. And that scares the living daylights out of me. Over the last few years I have watched someone I know go from the girl I graduated high school with to a media sensation with one of her books being made into a movie. I have seen her post on facebook and twitter about all the places she has gone, all the people she has met, all the talks she has given, and I can’t help but wonder if she’s ever scared of any of it at all. And she does it all with grace and poise. Something I don’t have a whole lot of. I would be terrified to be interviewed by Oprah. Petrified to walk a red carpet. Afraid to open up the internet and see what people are saying. Scared shitless of my life being open to the world.
I have no idea if the people I admire as authors are scared like I am. They handle success with such ease. At least it seems that way to me. I know I want my books to be read by anyone and everyone. What author doesn’t? I know I am good at what I do. I have to have that confidence. I have to believe in myself that much. Otherwise why even try? But success? Scared beyond silly.
I know, it doesn’t make much sense. Any author would welcome with open arms the chance to be in the spotlight. Believe me, if I ever GET the chance I won’t be turning it down. But I will be the one looking like a deer in the headlights the whole time. Terrified I will look the fool and everyone will know it. It won’t stop me from writing and publishing but it definitely is something I have to work on.
And it scares the hell out of me.