Cowardly Lion

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.

Never exceptional.

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?


3 thoughts on “Cowardly Lion

  1. I can so relate. I’m one of those people who is ‘good at everything’ and on the outside everything looks great. but underneath I’m pretty much afraid of everything. People call me perfect but they don’t see the truth of what happens inside. And ditto about the romantic relationships – simply cos I’m good at everything but I don’t let anyone in.
    But go you for applying. That is so awesome. Even that step is amazing regardless of what happens. Keep it up!

    1. I always find it amazing how often people who seem so well put together are hiding fears and insecurities… But you know what they says about books & covers.

      Thanks for the encouragement & commiseration!

      1. No worries at all. I have a theory that the ones who look the most perfect are the ones hiding the most.

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