This was an easy choice, unlike the last theme - if not particularly comfortable to write about.
I'm terrified of a number of the usual things: the dark (those winter treks to the outhouse were a nightly test of spirit!), spiders that drop on me from above, click beetles that get stuck in my hair, falling from high places; the usual collection of little fears and frights. But by far, the thing that most consistently terrifies me is failure.
Believe me when I say that I can speak with some authority on this subject.
To date, I have failed at a whole lot of things - some of them spectacularly.
I am used to feeling like a failure in front of my parents, who, bless them, will come into the house I spent the previous 48 hours cleaning, sterilizing, mopping, dusting, scrubbing, and polishing, to observe only that the screens on the stove fan are dirty. Also, I have failed to provide them with grandchildren (this is it's very own topic...).
Twice I have attempted to 'go freelance' with my artwork, and both times I've slunk back to a job that waved a steady paycheck at me. (To be fair, in both cases, they did wave a lot of money and benefits at me, and promised to be part time so I wouldn't have to 'give up' entirely... but still, dayjob for the fail.)
Last week's idol, I was, what, a point away from being eliminated? Ow, my ego! (Part of me wants to protest that, hey, they put me in tribe 3 with the big dogs, as punishment for being at LJ so long and having an unculled friendslist, but more of me just feels... yeah, like a failure.)
I know better, of course. I've built a respected business out of $80 in start-up cash and paid artists thousands of dollars they wouldn't have otherwise gotten. Even if my business doesn't line my pockets, it sure buys me cool toys (wide-format printers and tablet PCs, yo!) and even just surviving 14 years is worthy of a nod. My parents love me and think I'm doing well, even if my stove fan filters ARE dirty.
Terrors can't be explained away with logic. This fear haunts me no matter how many people lovingly explain that they don't consider me a failure, and it probably will for a very long time.
And in the end, I'm even more scared of not trying to do things, because the failure of not attempting is keener than the failure of not succeeding.
Brave, stupid, or just stubborn? Is there really much difference in the end?