I have an uncomfortable, if unconventional complaint. For most of my life, things have come relatively easy for me. With the exception of romantic relationships (where I’m an embarrassing washout) I have a tendency to succeed. Sorry, I don’t know how to say that without sounding pompous. However, objectively I have had the luxury of doing reasonably well at a lot of things, without having to really apply myself.
I’m smart enough that I was able to slide through school with minimal effort, and still get grades high enough to keep me from being grounded. I was a decent enough soccer player to be on the varsity team, even if I was never a starter. I played an instrument, took a few lessons, practiced almost perfunctorily and still sat first chair at All County Band.
I have a nice voice and am a competent actress – I’ve gotten into at least the ensemble of every show that I’ve auditioned for and from time to time a notable role. Yet the sum of my preparation is usually whilst driving in the car. I can write complete sentences and a handful of folks find this blog entertaining enough to follow. I have several concepts for novels, both fiction and non, but lose focus after a chapter or two.
I have the kind of job that keeps me very comfortable; I never worry about paying the bills and there’s money leftover for savings, vacations, and a dog that goes to daycare everyday. However, I have never been driven to reach the next career level.
On the surface, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal. If you’re rolling your eyes and calling me a braggart, here’s the thing – it’s made me lazy. I coast. Worse, in my mind, I’m always respectable, fair to middling, moderately accomplished, one trifling step above average.
Confession: I’m a coward. I’m afraid that I’ll apply myself, take a risk, make the effort, and still only be garden variety. I have the nagging suspicion that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be good enough to be something extraordinary.
This morning I stepped outside my comfort zone and applied somewhat precipitously to a flash fiction writing competition. I’m kind of terrified to have actual authors and professors judge my amateur ramblings.
Ack. What have I done?