In several areas of my life and in regards to several aspects of my existence, I am a confident person. In fact, I have been told that the confidence I carry from knowing who I am and how I relate to the world, from knowing my job and doing it well, from being smart and funny and tossing that 1-2 punch like I’m going for a knockout is really intimidating. From certain vantage points, it looks like I actually have my shit together and I know what I’m doing.
And then there’s the rest of the time.
While my self-doubt is always present in a few areas of my world, right now it is really rearing its unattractive head in terms of my unsuccessful writing career.
Here’s how it goes: I get the idea to do something. I think it’s a great idea. I think it could work. I think I could pull it off. I get gung-ho. I start to work towards bringing this idea to fruition.
And then I realize that it’ll never work. No one will go for this. I’m not popular enough/charismatic enough/smart enough/good enough to pull this off. It’s wasted time and effort because for this to work, people will have to participate/pay attention and nobody wants to do that. Nobody gives a shit what you do and they don’t want to play, Kiki, so stop wasting your time.
And then I get really bummed and start questioning what the hell I’m even bothering with all of this for.
It’s not just a vicious cycle, but it’s also very effective at ensuring that I don’t even try to do something because, hey, what’s the point? I’m just going to fail anyway and haven’t I landed directly on my face enough?
The latest aborted idea was the giveaway of one of my “wrecked” print copies. At first I thought, yeah, this will be fun. A few of my friends and family members will enter it. Nobody will get uptight if it doesn’t go completely smoothly because it’s my first one and I’m still learning the ropes and they’re my friends and family. It’s all cool. A practice giveaway! What fun!
It didn’t take long for the self-doubt to come strolling in like Blair Warner on a mission to out-snob somebody.
“Nobody wants one of your crappy wrecked copies. That’s a stupid idea. Nobody’s going to enter. They’ll just ignore you like always. You don’t even know how to run a giveaway. This is going to go tits up and you’re going to look like an idiot. Stop yourself.”
I don’t think I need to say that my friends and family don’t always ignore me. They don’t, of course. But my self-doubt is no dummy. It knows that I’ve been overlooked. It knows that I’ve been dismissed. It knows that I’ve been patted on the head and told “that’s nice” in order to be placated. It knows that people have shown absolutely no interest in anything I’m doing. It knows that I’ve been kicked aside in the rush for folks to surround someone else.
It knows and it uses this to its advantage and I hate to say it, but I’m not completely up to the task of battling it every time it decides to make a grand entrance. My self-doubt gets a lot more encouragement than I do, unfortunately. Not always intentional, not always actual, but my self-doubt will bow to even an imagined applause.
And so I continue to struggle and I continue to fail through lack of action, but I keep coming up with the ideas and I keep trying to actually carry them out because one day, I might actually succeed.
But I doubt it.