What the fear of not accomplishing your dreams feels like.

Hello everyone!

How much did it snow in your area? Is it raining now? Have you left the house today? I definitely haven’t.

Anyway, here’s my biggest fear:

I am afraid that I will never believe in myself enough to actually pursue the dreams I know I can achieve.

I think that is a concise summation of everything that I feel. But look at the layers to it. I know I can achieve them yet don’t believe in myself? Whaaaa-? I am so complex.

Basically, one side of my brain – I forget which – knows what the steps are and what to do. The other side flip flops between ecstatic readiness and curling into a ball of sadness. One side of my heart – the left ventricle I’m sure – is full of love for everything I write, draw, think and feel and really believes I’m gonna make it. The other side looks at all art, including my own, bitterly and hates humanity for being basic. It’s… it’s like a tasty salad bowl with a delicious dressing and cheeky raisins but random cloves of raw garlic and the bowl is leaking. Lately, the bitterness is winning. I have found myself glaring at all the art I consume. Every book, every YouTube video, every TV show, movie… and all I can think is,

“Why am I not making that thing? I could make that thing. Hmph, is that what people like? I could do that. People are so basic.”

Then I eat another tablespoon of hummus. I find myself reverse engineering the hard work of other creators in some fruitless endeavour to put myself in their shoes without ever creating anything. It’s veeery self-destructive. Let’s talk about it.

Oh! Before we talk about it I do want to acknowledge one thing. I want to acknowledge you. Lately I have had more eyes on this moany little blog and I am aware that people are finding their way here. And if you did find your way here, thank you. Thank you for clicking, for giving my silly titles a chance and for giving me your time. This post is not about how I want more success because I think I deserve it. It’s about how thinking in that way is making me bitter and I need to address that. And the root cause of that self-entitled, self-destructive mode of thinking is fear.

Generally, I find focusing on fears to be unsavory. I tend to spiral quite easily and deliberately focusing on the things that hold me back in life is like walking into a rainstorm with no shoes and a broken brolly. But I need to do it right now because I keep getting triggered by my surroundings and it’s exhausting. I am a person who wishes to create things and writing is my main squeeze. Recently, I began dabbling once again in video editing and graphic design, which has been super fun. I am writing more regularly on this blog too. Generally, things are looking good. I’ve missed doing all this. I painted the other day too! Wow, how long has it been since I engaged with my creative side this much? Maybe at uni… when I was 19 and…

and… I am 29 now. Ye Gods..

Okay, over the last ten years I’ve built a vocation, found a life partner and travelled to various countries. It was time well-spent. It was good, it was fine. I am luckier than most. I live a good life. It’s FINE!

My dissatisfaction remains. There is an ambitious little Fia within me who really had some plans back in university. And although I read a book before bed feeling pretty relaxed, ambitious Fia does the math in her head very quickly and realises she is now the same age as the author of that book or the YouTuber she watched yesterday, or the actress who plays Beth from the Queen’s Gambit or that UFC fighter… I don’t want to be a UFC fighter, I don’t exercise enough and I’m soft. Also Anya Taylor-Joy is 24 not 29. This is falling apart. My meaning is that people my age are succeeding in creative ambitions whilst mine… aren’t there yet. I remain uncooked. What has Older Fia done to young, ambitious Fia’s dreams? Did you hear Amanda Gorman’s poem at Biden’s inauguration? She’s 22! Blaaaghhhhh, where’s my hummus..

My dreams haven’t changed. I just kept putting them on hold as I pursued other things. I didn’t want to be a destitute artist so I got myself a career. I felt ready for a relationship, so when the right person came along I made sacrifices because he’s very much worth it. I tell myself it was all temporary delays and the correct choices and I’ll get back to my overall dream of having a creative career. But like I said:

I am afraid that I will never believe in myself enough to actually pursue the dreams I know I can achieve.

This fear can be broken down into little baby fears. And all are a result of me trying to be a 19 year old creative again because, in my mind, that’s where I left things. I didn’t seize my chance fully at university and as the fear has fermented and evolved as I have aged, my actual creative skills have remained stunted. And as I try to build a potential creative career for myself, I have fears holding me back from re-entering the creative space. And they manifest as an inner-critic of sorts. But are really invasive little demon thoughts that stop me sharing or even completing what I create.

I worry that although I have matured as a person, my capacity to create remains fairly juvenile. I worry that whatever I make won’t be received well by my target audience or that people will be mean, which leaves me in a strange comfort zone. I stop experimenting with creativity and stop taking risks. I have been trying to do better. But when I exit my comfort zone I start wondering if what I make really reflects me. It gets exhausting. Then I circle back to thinking that whatever I’m making is silly. Including this blog post. Including the last blog post. And the one before that.

But as I have said, I do believe in myself. It’s a weird cognitive dissonance between “I know I can do things” and “I am worried I can’t do things” which leads to “I’m afraid I’ll never do things”. And it leaves me constantly having to artificially boost my self-esteem, which is also tiring. Then I ask my loved ones to boost me when I am simply too tired, which leads to this whole other concern that I am only being creative for attention and I don’t have anything to offer… that’s a whole other spiral. But I hope if I keep being nice to myself, and keep creating things, the message will sink into my sad soppy brain.

Because we look at creativity with too much reverence. We expect a creation to be perfect. We expect it to reflect us and who we are. But we are imperfect by design, as our art should be. Creativity is meant to be a grind. It’s not divine inspiration or a flurry of romanticised productiveness. The creative process can include a spark of something special and then you start doing stuff and it’s awesome, but that’s not the norm. I am trying to be more comfortable with the grind. And if you are trying to engage your creative side and feel silly or feel like it’s not you or you’re out of practice or that people will judge you… that’s part of the grind. Keep it up. I get you. And I wish you luck.

My husband won’t stop hugging me so I need to go give him attention now. Byeeeloveyustaysaaafe.

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