The tweet above is a bit of an overstatement. The fact is that my mind is always thinking about how I got into this position, how I continually made decisions in my life despite my intuition's warning system. Listening to that episode of Very Bad Wizards, however, may have helped to coalesce some of my thinking around my upbringing, however, as well as a few recent events and interactions with others.
On Monday, I performed at a vow renewal in Harrison Mills. For the weeks beforehand, the musician I was playing with and I had spent many hours over-rehearsing for this event. We talked a lot. He is a 60 year old man who's lived a wildly different life than I have: he won awards for bodybuilding; he acted in television shows; he travelled as a musician; he's done his share of manual labour and other things I can't quite remember. He's doing ok despite the seemingly chaotic bunch of things he's done with himself.
And I'd hear his stories and they'd kinda' stun me. This is the sort of person I admired growing up, and yet I consistently chose different things to do. As much as I wanted to try to be a musician, I shied away from it; as much as I wanted to travel, I made choice after choice that kept me in place; as much as I wanted to earn enough money to pay my debts, I kept doing things that kept me in the red; as much as I felt insecure about the religion of my youth, I kept holding on to it and moulding it so I could still call myself a believer; as much as I wanted to get experience dating, I settled on the first person who really gave me a chance.
And then here's this guy who's gone the complete other direction. He rebelled, he stood up for himself, he never compromised on his values, he fought through the hard times and still, well, he's doing ok. What was wrong with me to think I was undesirable and incompetent? What made me feel so incapable of a person? Why, when people would tell me "You can do it," and "You really shouldn't be worried about that," why couldn't I hear them?
Fear's the most common element in all of this. I was constantly afraid, afraid that I was wrong, that I was unlovable, that I was incompetent, that I couldn't survive in the world on my own, afraid of going to hell, of disappointing my parents, of serving the wrong god, of choosing a profession carelessly, of ending up on the streets or alone. Fear, fear, fear.
To bring it back to the VBW podcast, I don't blame my parents for this. This fear, this constant feeling of inadequacy, has always been there no matter what they've said or suggested. I don't want to blame anyone for any of it. I just seem to gravitate towards it. If someone told me to be afraid, I took note and stored it in the mental caution bank.
But then I see these people who live without fear, and I read these books that tell you to overcome your fear, and I hear these podcasts that say there's no one to blame, that you're ultimately who you are already, and then I look at myself and I don't like what I see. What's there to like? And then I end up back in that cycle of fear again, afraid even to think I'm worthy of anything.
I just wish I knew how to break out of it. Because I'm still in it. I still navigate theings with a fear mindset. In my career, I'm constantly afraid of being found out as a fraud; in my family life, I'm afraid that my kids will stop wanting to interact with me; in my art, I'm afraid of "putting it out there" in case people reject it and humiliate me; in my life choices, I'm afraid that I will make some sort of financial mistake that will utterly ruin me. But none of these fears are founded in truths worth looking at this way. I can look at each of these things and re-frame them in more positive, less fear-based ways. But I keep going back to the fear.
And nobody wants to deal with the fear-person, with the person in the fear-mindset. People will choose the confident person every time.
Every week we have these rehearsals for a play that I'm in. Last week they wanted to have me try to enter the stage in a smooth, confident way. I had no idea how to do it. Even in trying to just act without fear, I couldn't seem to get the hang of it. And that's just acting.
In the end, the simple fact is this: I am not happy with my life. I don't feel content. I'm not happy with the choices I've made or the places those choices have taken me. I'm sure that none of this would matter if I was content with myself. But I'm not.
But I still don't know what "next step" to take. And I'm too fearful to take some random step into the darkness.
YouTube: ephemeral ideas
Amazon | DailyMotion
DeviantArt | Duolingo | Flickr | FVRL | Kik
LinkedIn | MeetUp | MySpace
Playstation | Reddit | Snapchat
Spotify | The Internet Archive
Tinder | Vimeo | VK | WattPad