All of my life, I’ve made a habit of side-stepping projects and conversations that cause anxiety. This is a poor approach, and very frequently has led to less than ideal outcomes. I’ve missed out on opportunities, I haven’t advocated for myself, and I’ve let myself and others down.
This blog has certainly started off on a high note.
One of my primary struggles has been with empowerment. Standing up for myself is hard. Communicating that I deserve better (to the person or people that need to hear it) is crippling. I’m not sure where this came from — it would be the fact that I’m a woman who fell into a predictable role, or my anxiety disorder, or however unintentionally I might have been raised. Being the hero I need to be for myself is challenging.
For years I’ve been told the greatest way to overcome fear is to move through situations that scare me. Plow through them. The pre-conceived fear of the conversation or experience is exponentially more difficult to tolerate than just saying or doing the thing.
In marinating in this fear, my special skills as an avoider really come into play. I tell myself I need to be more educated on a subject before I approach it. I tell myself that conversations aren’t needed, and I’m blowing situations out of proportion. I find other things to occupy my time while my anxiety glob just chills on the couch next to me.
Side note: I really should draw that guy. He’s gelatinous.
I have a confession: Cover letters scare the piss out of me. Ignoring the fact that I have great ideas, a fantastic imagination, and an impressive background, I dwell on the fact that I could potentially sabotage myself with a poorly worded cover letter. So, what do I do? I research cover letters. I ask others for advice. I hunt for examples online. Ultimately, I do not send the pitch.
Is it fear of rejection? The plight of the perfectionist? Being risk-averse? Who the hell knows.
Not surprisingly, being aware of this pattern is fucking maddening.
I LITERALLY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BY TRYING.
There’s a happy ending here. Well, not an ending, but a happy beginning, I guess. Last week, I told myself I was going to pitch stories like I’d never pitched stories before. I would look at no cover letter examples and would stop hunting for the best advice on what to do and how to do it. I would just go for it. I set a ridiculously lofty goal for myself which I came nowhere near reaching, but I did submit about a third of what I declared I’d do.
And, so far, I’ve received one response: An article of mine was accepted by a really, really phenomenal website. Until it’s published, I’m not going to spill the beans (until I see it, I won’t believe it wholly), but! I did it.
I’m now anticipating a rejection. I need one to set a standard. I need to know I can survive someone telling me no. And yes, I realize survival is a rather melodramatic way of putting it, but anxiety can make things feel so much bigger.
Onward with effort. I did the thing. Who knows what’s next?