Sunday, March 1, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

I went on a job interview last week. An all day job interview, immersive you might say. And the strangest thing happened, I left feeling like I did really well. So, of course, the next logical reaction was terror...that I might actually get the job.

So then I began to soothe myself by listing all the reasons why I would have to turn it down.

  • My average hours per week would most likely double.
  • The logistics of getting everyone to school on time could evolve from difficult to nightmarish.
  • I might not have the right work clothes.
  • It would mean putting another nail in the coffin of my actual hopes and dreams.
  • I wouldn't be able to go to as many of my son's basketball games next year.
  • Dinner time would morph from its current state of slapdashery into an all out farce.
  • I may not be up to the job.
  • It might mean I am good at something.
  • It might mean I am good at something I never planned on being good at.
  • It might verge on the periphery of what some call success. 

Whenever I set out on a new venture, I am usually propelled by two fears:

1. That I will be discovered as the fraud we all know I am at any moment.
2. That I will do well and have to feel pride in my accomplishments.

And there are probably so many conventionally cliche and weird ooey gooey places this ritual of self sabotage originates from.
  • Catholicism
  • Being the youngest of six and therefore a product of my parents' realization that kids really raise themselves.
  • Being a woman
  • Being a hard worker as opposed to a brilliant thinker.
  • Being married to a successful man
  • Being lazy
  • The complacency of comfort
  • The possibility that there really isn't much under the hood.
  • My mother's self-image
  • My father's success
  • Being me
I have worked very hard over my many years to program the intricate software of my self-doubt for a balanced output of manageable accomplishment and resentment. The constant wrench in these works is that I am also plagued by optimism. Optimism upsets this balance because it drives me to read Marianne Williamson's Our Deepest Fear, and listen to anthemic pop music, and watch Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech and Hoosiers in its entirety which leads me to possibly the most dangerous outcome--believing in myself.

Don't worry, it doesn't last long because I quickly equate self-confidence with arrogance (see Catholicism above), and resettle into my acceptable version of ordinary. (You literally just witnessed this process since I was sickened by my own declaration of believing in myself to the point of belittling it and blaming it on the Catholic church)

This has been my  life's "To be or not to be." Only its gravitas is not so much the stuff of Shakespeare. (doing the whole devaluing sleight of hand again right here.) The root of this particular evil is simple: I will be discovered a fraud when others finally realize that there is not much of value or interest or capability beyond the obvious good looks and superficial charm. The irony of this particular evil is that is has driven me to make sure my fraudulence is never discovered, which has consequently lead me to develop skills that some now may consider valuable. And how do I reconcile that? How do I accept success (something I want) when I ultimately feel I do not deserve it (something I believe)?

I haven't been offered the job, so, thankfully, I do not have to answer that question yet. I can continue to postpone the possibility of success and the epiphany of self-significance by getting on with the reality of life. And one day, when when I truly crack this nut, I can get on with the reality of living.


  1. You are a success! You are loved and respected in the community, have 2 kids and a husband that loves you! Success isn't always measured in $$ or job titles. This potential job gave you the opportunity to think about what you do and don't want! The right job will come. I've been there and it sucks!

  2. You ARE the voice in my head!
    I laugh and weep as I read this.

  3. You ARE the voice in my head!
    I laugh and weep as I read this.

  4. I'm new to your blog but personally I think you've found you're 'calling'!
    As I said in another post, you're hysterical; you have a VERY unique way of both 'seeing' a situation, and then writing about it. Now you just need to make money at it!
    Kevin Regan....I agree! She's the voice in my head as well!