Monday, November 13, 2006

On the topic of fear

(How funny that even after months of posting, I still have to give myself permission to come to this space with complete honesty.)

I'm not sure my state of being is coming through at all clearly in blogland these days. I think there are hints of it in my sometimes sporadic, sometimes fitful posting habits, but it's hard to know if those that are following are picking up on all that's going on. And the only one responsible for communicating that clearly (if I choose that to be the purpose of this blog I suppose), is me. So here's a very forthright and honest post: I'm SCARED.

I have spent years planning and looking to the future, coming up with all sorts of ideas about what might be ahead, where I wanted to be, what I wanted my life to look like. Along the way I have filled my time with a number of noteworthy projects and done my best to be a good friend and take advantage of opportunities that come my way. And now I'm on the cusp of all this coming to fruition - of taking the step towards the unknown that I've so desperately sought since I graduated with an understanding that the world is out there to be experienced.

At the beginning of September I spent a week in the Bay Area, did some aptitude testing and walked away feeling on top of the world. I came home, maintained the momentum and started to put plans into action, finally having something that could get me past the fear of not being good enough for my dreams in a series of tests that suggested I might be brighter than my current work duties give me credit for. Out of fairness to the people I work with, who are definitely bright as well - the tests showed I am simply suited for a very different type of work. And after sharing my ideas about the things I'm passionate about - my tester affirmed that I should waste no time in pursuing such things, and make the choice to believe in myself that I could make them happen. This was HUGE for me. Somehow I managed to shed this chronic self doubt and a laundry list of excuses that had been holding me back for ages. And the momentum stayed until very, very recently. It even opened some doors into opportunities that could pan out down the road. And it got me to take the major step of giving notice at my job.

Now, however, I have managed to lose the momentum and I'm desperate to get it back. I'm asked on a daily basis, "I hear you're leaving us Megan - where are you going?" "On to something bigger and better?" "Moving up in the world?" The honest answer? Probably not. I am very likely moving down in the world - entering into a professional arena (if I can commit to one) where I'll start at the bottom again. This while many of my friends complete masters and PhD programs, accept increasing responsibilities at work, start families etc. etc. Don't get me wrong - I am making a conscious choice to walk away from this track - but I am terrified that while I know the track I'm on isn't right for me, that maybe there's nothing right for me. What if I can't find a job that gets my wheels turning? What if I take time off and can't make myself go back? How asinine does that sound? I'm not a trust fund baby - I have to go back to work! But these fears start creeping in and suddenly all the progress I've made to chart my own course, to mix risk with good planning, to take a chance on identifying and pursuing my dreams - it all seems petty, selfish and really unlikely to work out. Even the thought of moving, of emptying my beloved apartment, stops me cold. And this is all what I've wanted - to get out there - to see the world! And it's happening and at the moment all I can think is how freaking scary it is, and what if I fail? And then I think of all the people all over the world who have real problems, and I get sick to my stomach that my obsession with figuring out what to do with my work continues to be such a guiding force in my life. And yet I've been given the opportunity to dream and I know this isn't something to take for granted, and I don't want to ruin the opportunity with fear
or pride.

So there it is, the not so pretty truth.


Blogger Mac said...

Fear is a great emobilizer (I have lost years to it), but I am now finding at near twice your age that the alternative is worse. I think any sensitive thought person is going to have a regular amount of it. But if you take note of the things you have already accomplished you will see that you can move ahead. Those things seemed daunting and fearful, yet you did them.

I like your chances. You come from a line on both sides of people willing to try new things and possibly fail. There is also the fear of success. Perhaps next to finding your core passion there is also your avocations?

I personally find it fulfilling running But it actually just frees me to do other things I feel even stronger about for no pay.

Love Bro.

11/14/2006 6:29 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

thanks bro :)

11/14/2006 9:06 AM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

Oh Fear. Doesn't it feel good to confront? Funny how Fear is wrapped so closely around Truth. I wrote something awhile back, hawking it on those people who've either hit that glass membrane... so forgive me for flogging it here, but it's one i constantly return to when i feel stuck or mopey. Thanks for the fresh perspective on the oldest of emotions!

11/14/2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Thomas - such wise words. I think I will return to that post daily from here on out, at least until I make the jump!

My new mantra: Do not think, be.

11/14/2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

thanks MI! don't know if i violated the 4th point by sending it to you! ;P
my biggest fear, i rerealized this weekend(and not for the first time) has the name of jealousy. not the emotion so much as the actual fear of experiencing the emotion. i think it's been far-drawn into my personality, and one i'm trying to exorcise this week. arrrgh....!

11/14/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Ah, jealousy. Do you think jealousy and envy are the same thing? Because a lot of my fear is often mis-credited as envying the good fortune of others (as if I haven't experienced enough of my own. Jeesh).

11/14/2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger should-be-working said...

It speaks volumes of your sense of forthrightness and honesty for you to post something to gut-wrenchingly honest. I agree with S'mat in that fear is wrapped closely around truth. I think, personally, that fear tends to force introspection and self-evaluation. I think that you'll do quite well given the fact that you recognize that. I have faith in ya!! :)

11/14/2006 3:08 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

hmmmm. good point. the shades of green, eh? i think tomorrow i will attempt to post the bloodletting... wholly inspired, i think, by your virtues, as highlighted above by S-B-W

11/14/2006 3:29 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

SBW - thank you so much for the encouragement!

Thomas - I look forward to your post tomorrow!

Bro - thank you again for your wise words and for taking an interest in your lil' sis's life.

11/14/2006 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your fears are what make you human and, I hate to say it because everyone is probably saying this... but you're not alone.

If anything, the fact that you're feeling what you're feeling at all will drive you to do more, and work out your "path" a little quicker.

As for the "path," to be honest, I find that very few of us have a predetermined anything, and just make it up as we go along.

At least that's where I stand. Cheers. And best of luck.

11/14/2006 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Sadia said...

Is fear always a bad thing? I think lack of self-awareness is far, far worse. Once you are in tune with what is really authentic about yourself - fear will eventually slough off, like dead skin. You don't have to know what you want, but knowing yourself has an uncanny way of getting you whereever it is you need to be.

I'm not worried about you Megan - you're way too committed to your own self-actualization (it seems) to not find it. :)

11/15/2006 10:19 AM  
Anonymous sadia said...

oh, I forgot to add my take on jealousy/envy. The thing with the green monster is that it acts on the assumption of scarcity (which ties in with fear- fear that there'll be nothing left for you once you get to the table).

That's of course, a load of Yak dung. The universe is as generous as we make it out to be.

11/15/2006 10:23 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Sadia - ah, self actualization. Yes, if I excel at anything it seems to be my pursuit of this! Thanks :)

And a truly good point you make re: envy. "The universe is as generous as we make it out to be." So wise, so true.

11/15/2006 10:29 AM  
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